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Espresso beans

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I did a quick search on Coffee topics and couldn't find a specifically related theme. I know there have been postings referencing favorite brands but they’re couched in other topics. Specifically, I’m looking for a new espresso. I’ve got a FrancisFrancis X5 and a krupps burr grinder. Confession time: I actually like Starbucks espresso blend. Well I should say I used to like Starbucks blend. Lately it seems to taste nasty and flat with poor crema. Confession #2: the espresso pods seem to be fine.

I thoroughly cleaned my machine, tried different pulls, and varied the tamp pressure and grind size all with no noticeable effect. I haven’t, however, tried bottled water yet. I also installed a dishwasher about the same time the espresso started to go down hill but, similar to the bad water possibility, the pods brew okay. My only conclusion is that the beans are probably pretty old by the time I get them. I’m buying them at a store not by mail. I store the beans in the freezer in a mason jar. I don't usually let them come to room temp before grinding like I should, but I let the grinds warm up before I use them.

I’m not a huge fan of Illy which I had to use for a year while “paying off” the FranFran. I also tried Pete’s a couple of years ago without much excitement. I have ardently followed the discussions on home roasting but am not there yet in terms of counter and storage space. Any recommendations or suggestions?


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Please clarify - are you interested just in pods? I note a mention of grinding and assume that you're open to other possibilities. Unless you know how to read Starbucks date code on the bag there's a distinct chance that you're getting stale beans at worst or well past optimal stage at very best.

Hint: portion your beans before freezing in individual ziplocs each with about 2 - 3 days worth of beans in them. Remove one bag at a time and allow to thaw completely before opening the bag. Grind just before pulling the shot. If you started with fresh beans initially, following this procedure will make a huge difference.

Filtered water will improve the taste and also slow down the process of scalign inside the boiler of your FF. Both are good things and it will improve the taste as well as the longevity of the machine. I use a Britta pitcher rather than bottled water as it's cheaper and easier. If I could make good tasting espresso with North Jersey water than you can do it just about anywhere.

Have you checked around to see if there's a good microaster in your area?

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Hi. Sounds like you are almost ready to take the BIG step. That is................... to roasting your own. It quick to roast and cost effective and you get a lot more control over the product that you end up in your cup. Coffeegeek has all the info you'll ever need and sweetmarias.com has all the equipment & beans tht you could want to start.

But be careful........it can become an obsession.

Good luck

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Thanks for the suggestions. I've got a britta and will give that a try while I finish out the rest of the St'bucks. I only use the pods when I need to make alot of cups fast otherwise I prefer tamping myself.


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