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Oily beans


bigwino
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I'm the proud owner of a new, well, refurb, Capresso C1500. I got some beans for it from a local roaster and the oily beans aren't feeding into the burr grinder too well - hence, weak espresso.

The manual suggests leaving the beans spread out to open air for five hours or so to let the oiliness dissipate. Does this make sense to anyone?

My options for local beans are extremely limited and I like to support local vendors whenever I can. I'm going to go talk to them about a less oily option, but would like to use these beans if possible...

TIA

-Paul

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My experience is that dark-roasted beans tend to exude more oil as they age. Additionally, these oils are not very volatile at room temperature. So, leaving them out would do little, at best, and bring out more oil, at worst.

Perhaps fresher beans? Where and when are yours roasted compared to where and when you grind/brew with them?

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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The beans are roasted, literally, down the street from where I'm buying them. I didn't ask how long they've been around but the place is pretty busy and I think runs through their stock quite fast.

I just picked up their espresso roast and made a 4 oz. crema coffee and a 2 oz shot. Still seems kinda weak.

The beans in question are from Plum Island Coffee Roasters in Newburyport, MA. I also tried Flat Black Coffee Company beans from Boston. They seemed better, but still lacked some depth. I think next step is a call to Capresso to see what they have to say.

Of course, more input from here is also welcome!

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"Burr grinder" doesn't tell us enough. That category ranges from $30 POC (piece 'o cr*p) to more money than most espresso machines.

Possibilities are multiple:

1) inadequate grinder or dull burrs on a good grinder - either one causes inconsistent particle size and contributes to poor extraction

2) Underdosing.... are you pulling double shots or singles? Some reference tell you that a single shot can be as much as 1.5 to 2 oz but a 2 oz single will generally be very anemic. If you can increase the amount of coffee in the basket with proper grinding and tamping you'll get better results

3) Old beans yield flat taste. Oiliness in the first few days after roasting usually indicates "tipping" (aka over-roasting). Oiliness that devlops and increases after that is a function of aging beans. When they hit a certian ageing point much of the flavor is diminished

4) Shot pull time... how long to pull a shot on your machine? If the pul time is much less than 23 - 25 seconds you may have underextraction.

Any or all of the above could be at play but good fresh known roast date non-oily beans are IMHO the bets place to start. And if our local roaster can't provide it find one by mail-order who can do so.

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Phaelon56,

Thanks for these possibilities. They're helpful on multiple dimensions. I got an improved drink this morning by lowering the size of the shots down to 1 oz. That made a significant difference. Unfortunately, I think the other problem is the beans and will have to abandon my local purveyor.

I'm going to give the downtown Boston guys another chance today and pick up some more beans from them. After that, it's on to a search here for tips on mail order sources.

Thanks again.

-Paul

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Here's a current thread with some supplier commentary and also a link to an older thread that's chock full of info on various mail order bean suppliers

(you won't find any info on Phaelon Coffee because it's not quite operational yet :wink: )

Espresso

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have a Kitchenaid grinder that has the jar on top that holds the beans. The grinder is a burr design. It works great with dry beans but not with oily ones. Most dark roast , French roast or expresso beans I've seen are oily. I don't think it's a question of where you get the beans, the age of the beans, or inferior beans. These kind of beans are oily. How the heck are you suppose to grind them?

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I have a Kitchenaid grinder that has the jar on top that holds the beans.  The grinder is a burr design.  It works great with dry beans but not with oily ones.  Most dark roast , French roast or expresso beans I've seen are oily.  I don't think it's a question of where you get the beans, the age of the beans, or inferior beans.  These kind of beans are oily.  How the heck are you suppose to grind them?

If yours is the retro design that looks like a 1930's gas pump, well, I have it too!

Whenever the grinding becomes slower, or inefficient, I empty it and give it a good cleaning, with a brush or Q tip, in all orifices. Depending on the beans, it is usually good for another two or three weeks.

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Unfortunately, I think the other problem is the beans and will have to abandon my local purveyor. 

I'm going to give the downtown Boston guys another chance today and pick up some more beans from them.  After that, it's on to a search here for tips on mail order sources.

If you're in the Boston area check with your local Whole Foods to see if they sell Terroir Coffee's Daterra Reserve espresso. They should stock some with the roast date on the bag. If not you can buy it online from Terroir Coffee. They sell it online but shipping costs add up quickly. I think there are a few other Boston area retailers who carry Terroir but you'll have to call them to check on who.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the tips and online sources. Thus far, I've settled in on Intelligentsia's Black Cat blend. It makes a great shot and the shipping isn't too bad.

I will try to find Terroir's espresso blend, but haven't been in the vicinity of one of their local purveyors yet.

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I have a Kitchenaid grinder that has the jar on top that holds the beans.  The grinder is a burr design.  It works great with dry beans but not with oily ones.  Most dark roast , French roast or expresso beans I've seen are oily.  I don't think it's a question of where you get the beans, the age of the beans, or inferior beans.  These kind of beans are oily.  How the heck are you suppose to grind them?

If yours is the retro design that looks like a 1930's gas pump, well, I have it too!

Whenever the grinding becomes slower, or inefficient, I empty it and give it a good cleaning, with a brush or Q tip, in all orifices. Depending on the beans, it is usually good for another two or three weeks.

It's the KitchenAid A9. Mine has seen daily use of mostly oily beans for over two years. Cleaning it is important and using a vacuum cleaner with a hose does the trick cleaning at both the chute (exit) and hopper area. A Q tip and toothpick help loosen coffee that's caked on.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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  • 1 month later...
I have a Kitchenaid grinder that has the jar on top that holds the beans.  The grinder is a burr design.  It works great with dry beans but not with oily ones.  Most dark roast , French roast or expresso beans I've seen are oily.  I don't think it's a question of where you get the beans, the age of the beans, or inferior beans.  These kind of beans are oily.  How the heck are you suppose to grind them?

Yeah, cute machine but maybe not such a good design. We have one and it will get grounds packed up in the spout.

I found a solution though...

Once every few pounds, or more often if the beans are oily, I take the jar off and put a handful of barley into the hopper (black plastic conical area with the burrs at the bottom). Covering it with the palm of my hand, I grind all of the grain. I readjust the grind to fine and repeat with another handful of barley. Then I brush all of the dust into the grinder. I reset the grind setting and add maybe 2 Tbsp of beans. Grinding this last bit will flush the grain residue out the spout. I replace the jar and get on with life.

Maybe grinding the barely is bad for the grinder but it seems to prevent the spout from getting clogged. It used to clog up so badly that it nearly got a trip through the kitchen window. Now we can cope while we save up for a grinder with a better path for the grounds.

mike

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Barley is an option and many people also use rice but some say the hardness of rice grains is not good for the grinder burrs.

Urnex now offers Grindz grinder cleaner - it's the first product of its type, initial feedback seems to be good and most major on-line coffee gear vendors carrry it.

OTOH - I don't use oily beans - not ever - and apart from brushing loose grinds out I've never cleaned my home grinder (shop grinders are a different story but my home grinder sees only 1/4 pound per week of use at most).

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If you use rice to clean your grinder, it should be uncooked Uncle Ben's or another type of parboiled quick-cooking rice. This is much softer than uncooked long-grain or short-grain rice, which can accelerate wearing of the grinder burrs.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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OTOH - I don't use oily beans - not ever - and apart from brushing loose grinds out I've never cleaned my home grinder (shop grinders are a different story but my home grinder sees only 1/4 pound per week of use at most).

Owen, why is that? What beans do you use and where do you purchase them?

I grind 1/3 cup of beans a day and enjoy a rich cup of coffee made 90% in a Krups Moka Brew, with the other 10% made in a Malitta drip with a SwissGold filter. IMO, oily beans tend to have more flavor, but sometimes they're over-roasted. Most all my beans are bought on sale from Porto Rico Roasters in NYC (I live in nearby PA, so they get to my doorstep within a few days). I was recently given a gift of Raven's Brew, which is very good, but was made in Seattle or Alaska, and was sitting on the store shelf for a few months.

I'd be very interested in your preferences or recommendations for the KMB and drip.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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I'm not a Moka aficionado thus am not qulified to recommend but

1) It's all a matter of taste - as always

2) Blends that are optimized for or intended for use in espresso machines are generally very suitable for stovetop espresso (aka Moka) - yet such blends are not always great as drip coffee just as some varietals and blends make great drip but not good espresso

I used to roast my own coffee at home and now roast commercially as a part time job - I no longer have to buy coffee. But our roasting style (which was also my personal preference when I roasted at home) is Northern Italian - fully developed for flavor but lighter than many people are accustomed to. My very darkest roast - a French Roast Colombian Supremo - displays no oil after roasting and has only hints of oil after 5 - 7 days.

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