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This post is an evaluation of different roasts of Sweet Maria’s Liquid Amber blend. For those who are not familiar with this blend, it’s a mix of green coffee beans that includes robusta and monsooned beans, it’s strong enough to cut through milk, has lots of crema and the robusta and monsooned beans give it a little pleasant funkiness.
I performed the evaluation using 14 grams of each roasted sample in the 45 mm double basket of my La Peppina spring lever espresso machine. The brew water was set for 91 degrees Celsius. I had about 22 grams of each sample so I couldn’t really afford to dial in or pull multiple shots, luckily the La Peppina is pretty forgiving.
The lightest roasted sample still had a lot of chaff in the central bean crack, had a slight oil sheen (eleven days post roast), and the beans are still crinkled. This looks like a full city or maybe a full city+ roast, but it can be hard to judge the roast by color especially with monsooned beans in the mix. The second roasted sample had more oil sheen, less chaff, and almost the same roast color of the first sample; I judge this to be a Full City+ roast. The final sample is the darkest with a lot of surface oils, no visible chaff in the central crack, and is smoother; this looking like a french roast. All three roast samples showed round divots where little chunks of beans were blown out by escaping moisture. A slower ramp to first crack is indicated.
Next I pulled shots of each sample. The first sample had a distinct rubber tire taste stemming from the robusta and maybe monsooned components in the blend. The crema was good and there was a hint of black licorice. This blend doesn’t work that well at this light a roast. The second sample was pulled, and I almost choked the machine, but ended up with a much better shot. I could still taste rubber tire, but also more chocolate notes; again with very good crema. I adjusted the grind for the final shot and got a good pull, again with lots of crema. This shot was bittersweet chocolate, maybe too bitter, but the rubber tire was no longer noticeable and the shot had a good finish, with, as usual, good crema. Between the three shots I took a break, drank lots of water, and ate some crackers to cleanse my palate.
Overall, I enjoyed sampling the coffee and appreciate the opportunity. I’d suggest a slower roast profile, such as the P3 profile on the Behmor and to target a vienna roast midway through second crack.