Hi Reddit! I'm Holly Bastin, owner of Roast Ratings, former Barista Champion Coach and espresso expert at Curated.com. I'll be hosting an AMA on October 5th @11am CST to talk all things coffee and espresso.


A little about me- I've been in coffee since 1999 and in that time I've worn many hats! β›‘οΈπŸŽ©πŸ‘’πŸ₯³πŸŽ“πŸ§’ Barista, cafe manager, espresso trainer, espresso blend creation & management, consultant, competitive barista, head judge and, most notably, coach of 3 world champs πŸ†πŸ†πŸ†πŸ’œπŸ₯°

And I'm down to talk about any or all of it πŸ€™β˜•

My favorite coffee job of all is helping folks get the coffee experience that THEY want πŸ’œπŸ™βœŒοΈ

All good things must come to an end - if I didn't get to your question, I'm sorry <3 I had so much fun. y'all! Great questions! I promise will be doing this again.

If you have questions in the meantime, you can check out my profile and chat with me on Curated at - curated.com/e/holly.bastincurated.com/e/holly.bastin I'm available on there, off and on, but will answer as soon as I can :)

Comments: 708 • Responses: 45  • Date: 

Ryojiin275 karma

What's the best ratio of coffee beans to water to make cold brew? And how long should it steep in the fridge for?

Holly_Bastin489 karma

Cold Brew is actually my daily coffee go to! For me, I go for a 6:1 ratio of water to coffee and I have found the sweet spot to be around 18 hours. 12 wasn't enough (funky and sour) and 24 was too much (bitter). splitting the difference has given me a lot of balance in the cup. I don't actually refrigerate the coffee while it's brewing, but I leave it at room temperature. I hope that helps!

Cryovolcanoes15 karma

Which roast do you prefer for Cold brew?

Holly_Bastin63 karma

medium to dark. I find that lighter roasts tend to lose their nuance or come out sour. Cold Brew is nice because the method mitigates a lot of extraction issues and tends to smooth out a coffee. It's kind of like a "trash can" you can drink in that way lol

cgome15 karma

What are the units here? 6g:1g? 6ml:1ml?6oz:1g?

Holly_Bastin26 karma

6 parts water to 1 part coffee. I typically use oz with cold brew, but for everything else I use grams :)

jujupowpow197 karma

What's your at home espresso set up? And how important is grinder versus machine?

Holly_Bastin297 karma

Great question!! I got into this in another answer, but the grinder is, in my opinion, a little more important than the machine. The machine is a gorgeous hot water heater at the end of the day. As long as the temp is in range and the pressure is around 9 bars, it should be capable of making good coffee. The grinder is where all the action is - the adjustments for espresso are super refined and you need a grinder that gives you infinite settings, ie- control over the extraction. There are some techniques as well that will make or break it, even if you have awesome equipment, but if you have an unrefined grinder, there's not a whole lot you can do to make up for it.

And I have a Rocket Espresso Giotto Timer Evoluzione R Espresso Machine


And for my grinder I have a Mahlkonig K30 Twin - Which, to my point, is a commercial grinder that cost more than the machine ;)

I hope that helps!

4ScrazyD20152 karma

Whoa 7k on a grinder is commitment

Holly_Bastin31 karma

Mine was around $3k ;)

FullstackViking160 karma

What is a coffee hill that you will β€œdie on”?

Holly_Bastin606 karma

Hmmm....been thinking hard on this one, because I truly don't have many! I would say that I have a really hard time with the idea that there is only one way to make coffee. Or that the coffee that someone personally likes is "wrong". I mean, I'm not going to tell my dear Grandma that liking her burning hot Maxwell House is wrong. It was what she liked! It was familiar to her - what she grew up on. And, likely tastier than the coffees she had access to in her younger years (the 1930's &40's). If there is one thing I have learned after 20+ years in coffee, it's that coffee is *deeply* personal to folks and highly subjective. That my #hottake :)

Skeptical_Goat137 karma

What chain has the best coffee? Coffee chains and fast food restaurants that sell coffee included

Holly_Bastin242 karma

Funny you should ask! We did a tasting at Roast Ratings of the cold brew/iced coffee from major chains. In our experience, Dunkin Donuts had the most reliable cup. I know in the past they have taken great care in sourcing really solid coffees from Colombia fwiw :)

For the record, when it comes to buying random coffee at the grocery store, they also did well in a blind tasting. Not saying it's going to beat out a really well produced single origin from your local roaster, but it'll do in a pinch ;)

Bluest_waters28 karma

how did Starbucks fare in this test?

Holly_Bastin92 karma

Honestly? Not bad :) I will admit that when I travel, I am happy to see a *bucks in the airport because I know I can get the cold brew and it will be decent and strong (so I can dilute it to taste )

GreatHoltbysBeard35 karma

And which are the worst?!

Holly_Bastin191 karma

Hmmm, McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A were the hardest to just get a plain cup of iced coffee from - no cream, no sugar. I had to pull back through the drive through on both to get it corrected and, even then, they seemed terribly confused that I would want black coffee lol

sheldonshyding127 karma

My friend gave me some coffee from Da Nang in vietnam and it tasted just like chocolate but contained no chocolate. I've never been able to find any so with that being said can you please suggest a replacement?

Holly_Bastin221 karma

If you liked that profile, you might check out Nguyen Coffee Supply, based in NYC. They are a Vietnamese owned roaster and they source their coffees directly. Not all but most coffees from Vietnam are Robusta (rather than our more typical preference for Arabica), which has a LOT to do with the flavor profile you are talking about.

MountainDude76977 karma

What’s the easiest/ most affordable way to get the best cup of coffee?

Holly_Bastin211 karma

Honestly, I'm a big fan of the Aeropress. It's not at all sexy, but it is affordable, really easy to use, FAST, makes tasty coffee & is super easy to clean up. If you want to talk more deeply about options sometime, catch me on Curated - curated.com/e/holly.bastin

clint_barton22 karma

What is your aeropress recipe?

Holly_Bastin64 karma

I usually do a 10:1 ratio. I do the inverted method (upside down) and start pressing around 1 minute. I then dilute that to my tastes, depending on the coffee (and the day lol)

razzmadazz7 karma

FYI I love my aeropress, but I burnt my entire right hand - Dumb hand.jpg with the aeropress inverted method... They're banned in the office now

Its not inherently dangerous but when it goes wrong and that plunger drops unexpectedly, it can go very wrong

Holly_Bastin8 karma

Oh geez! Ouch!! My hot tip is once you get the brew going and the filter attached, take the mug (or whatever you are pressing the coffee into) and place it upside down on top of the brewer BEFORE flipping it. And then flip everything together. I can't say it will 100% prevent burns, but it has diminished my anxiety about using the Aeropress this way. No burns since πŸ€žπŸ™

Extra-Firefighter10554 karma

What's the biggest mistake most people are making when making espresso at home?

Holly_Bastin93 karma

I think one of the most common misconceptions about making espresso at home is that the espresso machine is the only thing that matters and often have little to no budget for their grinder. Don't get me wrong, the machine does matter, but the grinder is where all the real adjustments are made - what happens at the machine is more of a reflection of what happened at the grinder. You can have the best espresso machine in the world and if you have a mediocre grinder, you will have mediocre coffee at best. If you want to get into the weeds with me sometime on grinders, hit me up on Curated - curated.com/e/holly.bastin :) Happy to help!

goddamnsexualpanda47 karma

How do you feel the industry is doing addressing the inequities of coffee production (e.g., growing, harvesting, sourcing)? How do you balance this?

Holly_Bastin64 karma

This question is too important to leave unanswered, but I wanted to do it justice and that takes time. So, I sought some counsel from someone who has been researching this very topic for the last few years and came back to address it. I hope it helps.

There is a lot of inequity in coffee, unfortunately - it's been known for a while but it has come more into the common consciousness over the last few years. Direct Trade was created to help address this, but selection is mostly based on rewarding individual farmers based on a western idea of quality (*our* professional flavor preferences, which are, by nature, subjective). Also, there is no third party organization that can verify that someone is actually practicing Direct Trade in reality. To boot, it has become a powerful marketing tool, which complicates everything immensely.

For a more immediate solution my friend, who works in coffee import/export (and cares very deeply about this from what they've witnessed) suggests that we not shy away from FTO & cooperative coffees. While they aren't as flashy as many micro lots, these coffees are inherently more about serving a whole producing community, as they are about supporting multiple smallholders over just one larger, more lucrative farm. We used to have more trade regulations in place that addressed this (up until sometime in the late 80's, I believe- I will try to verify that for accuracy!), but they got removed in favor of a more 'free market' approach. The farmers have been taking the brunt of it ever since. My friend also says that, in order for there to be real change in the long run, there has to be a political movement that addresses the structural inequalities - ultimately trade regulations must change for coffee, as well as many other commodities.

Rusty_The_Taxman45 karma

Do you believe that a "career in coffee" is something that's still as realistic as it used to be given the current state of the economy as well as the looming issues regarding arabica coffee farming's sustainability? I used to be in coffee for a little over 9 years and more recently moved into tech because I just couldn't see any way to make coffee into something of a living and am interested on your perspective on this.

Holly_Bastin111 karma

Oh man. Strumming my pain with your fingers here....

Covid has done a serious number on the coffee industry, from seed to cup. While it was always limited in how much money you are able to make (barring working as an executive for someone like Nestle, Starbucks etc), it's been deeply affected these past few years. Most independent coffeeshops and roasters have been in survival mode up until lately, having to pivot and react, rather than take a more intentional approach to things. As a trainer myself, my work is something that most cafes and roasters just couldn't even consider spending any money on in 2020-2021. 2022 seems to be more in a recovery mode and I am starting to see more and more interest in it again (thankfully!), so all is not lost. It just requires tenacity and flexibility, even in the best of times.

My advice, covid or no, is that a career in coffee requires a passion for it over a desire to be rich lol. The margins are not huge, the work is demanding & it moves very quickly (at the speed of coffee, one might say ;). If you don't love it, it will be very difficult. When asked why we got into coffee, many of us who have been in it for some time will say the same thing - the people. The coffee community is full of creative and interesting folks who are drawn to the concept of community. A love for people of all walks of life (customers especially) is the biggest prerequisite in my opinion. And, if you are entering coffee in the present era, I suggest getting a couple different part time gigs to make sure you have eggs in multiple baskets as we are still working on stability. Myself, I have 4-5 different sources of income in coffee that make a living possible - and I love each of them for different reasons :)

I hope that helps!


Thank you so much for doing this! First time I've seen a coffee AMA and as someone who brews every day, this is easily the most excited I've been to read through the eventual answers!

I have a couple of questions- 1. I've been home roasting for nearly a year, what advice do you have to get the most out of a roast?

  1. Is it worth trying to put together a blend of different green beans when roasting? Or is it typically better to just enjoy one bean at a time?

Holly_Bastin52 karma

Ok - I will totally admit when I am not the expert :) While I've been in coffee since 1999, I am no roaster! For this, I checked in with another Curated expert, Jeff, who IS a roaster! Here are his thoughts-

"So out of the roast the most important aspects would be controlling the time and end temp after first crack - a development time after first crack should be a minimum of 1:30 - the shorter the development time will create a sweeter flavor and bring out the fruitiness - as far as blends I used to do a pre-blend for multiple things and have found that it ends up muting the flavors a bit - i now roast everything as single origin and will post blend for 10 min in my machines cooling tray ... I think this is better for understanding the flavors you add to a roast."

Ramiez40 karma

Hello! I love the chocolate notes in coffee, what are the best beans and brewing process to bring those notes out?

Thank you!

Holly_Bastin66 karma

I'd recommend Brazil or a Guatemalan coffee to hit those chocolate notes! Yunnans from China are also rich and earthy, fwiw

johnnyhammerstixx34 karma

Can you recommend a hand grinder for my kitchen? I currently use a Hario Skerton, and make French press 100% of the time.

Holly_Bastin57 karma

The Skerton can definitely do the job. Now, if you are wanting to seriously upgrade and give yourself options in the future, the Commandante is currently one of the very best hand mills on the market! It's super well built and very pretty :) And has a lot of range for adjustments. I think one of the biggest reasons that many coffee nerds flock to it is that it is one of the most reliable grinders for uniformity of grind size (even better than many electric models out there).

trog1229 karma

Have you ever tasted a coffee and been like "damn this is really good" only to find out the beans were a lot cheaper than you would ever suspect?

Holly_Bastin62 karma

Yes! We did a blind tasting of grocery store coffees at Roast Ratings and were pleasantly surprised with a couple of the brews - Dunkin's house blend was the top rank and McCafe decaf was surprisingly palatable :)

thrills_and_hills25 karma

I've been getting into coffee more over the past few months so this is awesome! I usually make an immersion style brew using a french press. I keep hearing that a grinder makes a big difference in the brew. I currently have a cheap blade grinder that seems to do great. Does an upgrade to a burr grinder really make that much of a difference?

Holly_Bastin33 karma

Yes - it can make a big difference, depending on the brew method. With the French Press being one of the more forgiving ones, it won't make a night and day difference, but I think it could improve it a bit. The biggest difference between blade grinders and burr grinders is uniformity of grind size. In other words, control and consistency. And, if you are a coffee explorer, moving into a burr grinder will give you an opportunity to play with many other brew methods and get better results.

newmillenia24 karma

What the heck is blooming, and does it really matter if I do it for pourover!? Should I be doing it for other brew methods, like French press?

Holly_Bastin52 karma

Someone else could probably answer this more technically, but I will do it my way :)

Blooming is when you pre-wet the coffee grounds, primarily used in pour over coffees. For a bloom, you only want to add enough water to the coffee to saturate evenly it and not start brewing it yet. This serves a couple of different purposes. When coffee is more freshly roasted, it will still have gasses trapped inside. The bloom on these coffees will pulsate and bubble for 30-45 seconds, which is allowing those gasses to escape into the air rather than get into your cup (they tend to taste like metal so this is a good thing!).

The other thing that makes a bloom important is about extraction. Water goes where it's been before, so getting the bed evenly saturated helps lay the groundwork for a more even brew overall. I hope that helps!

DDropped19 karma

Why does coffee from a coffee machine (Jura ENA 8 if it matters) taste much more sour than the same coffee brewed manually in a coffee pot? What's the correct coffee taste?

Holly_Bastin35 karma

My guess would be about the concentration of the brew, going from espresso (brewed around 2:1) and brew (more like 16:1+). As far as the "correct" coffee taste, that will vary from coffee to coffee. For a general rule, flavors that come from the extraction itself are universal - highly bitter means it's over-extracted, or something is too small (the amount of coffee used or the grind size). And overly sour and muddled usually means it is under-extracted, or something is too big (too much coffee or the grind is too big). If anything is "correct", I would say that coffee should be balanced and, if lightly roasted and well produced, will have more distinctive flavor characteristics.

It could also be a temperature difference (the sour being cooler brew water). Just throwing that out there too ✌️

I hope that helps!

teallday19 karma

What type of coffee drink would you recommend for someone who can’t tolerate too much caffeine or sugar?

Holly_Bastin55 karma

I know folks might cringe, but there is always decaf! And, the good news is that decaf processing has come a super long way in the last 5 years! And you can always ask for or create your own half caff too. Last fall I intentionally took a whole month off of caffeine and found some really tasty options out there. If you want to see my video documentation on that (lol) here a link to it -


In general, if you are in a cafe most of them will have decaf espresso. As far as the sugar part, I will say that oat milk has a nice bit of sweetness to the milk itself and you can ask your barista to put in less of the syrups than they would usually use. We're used to incredibly personalized drinks :)

Fleckeri3 karma

How has decaf processing been changing lately? I’d just figured they moved from benzene to supercritical CO2 a couple decades back and called it a day.

Holly_Bastin7 karma

Check out Swiss Water Process & the Sugarcane Process (mostly Colombian coffees). The Sugarcane in particular has pretty stellar results and little to no "meaty" effect on the flavors.

Future-Ad-420217 karma

What’s a good machine that’s not too expensive for someone looking to graduate from a nespresso to a semi-automatic?

Holly_Bastin27 karma

Hmmm, that's a good little jump there! There's a ton of semi automatic options and many will not have a grinder built in, so that is something you'll need to think about and budget for (see my many other answers about grinders lol). My suggestions will vary greatly, depending on your overall budget, but I would say a really decent starter semi auto will be the Rancilio Silvia. They have their own grinder - the Rocky - but you can also look into the Baratza line up - maybe the Sette or Vario. Both of those are capable of grinding for other brew methods as well. If you are seriously considering your options, I can talk with you about it more and help get you in the right direction. Hit me up! curated.com/e/holly.bastin

culturebarren16 karma

Is buying whole bean coffee and freshly grinding it better than using preground coffee?

Holly_Bastin32 karma

I will not say "better", but it will preserve the flavors more. Air is a lot of what causes coffee to age and change in flavor. When you grind the coffee, you have just increase the surface area of the coffee that can be exposed to air so it will lose its luster more quickly this way. So, especially if you are buying coffee from a specialty roaster @ $20 a pop, it will make a huge difference to your experience of it. I hope that helps!

Manifesto8914 karma

Thoughts on stove top Mocha Pot vs Plunger (French press)?

Holly_Bastin25 karma

Apples and Oranges would be my first thought. The Mokapot will make something more like espresso - concentrated and rich, often with some crema (orangey red foam on top). The French press will still be full bodied, but a lot more the "drip" coffee profile. So, I would say the difference is - what do you prefer? :)

Smokey_Katt14 karma

I had to switch to decaf for health reasons. Most decaf I have tried has had flavor removed along with caffeine. What is the best way to find flavorful medium roast decaf?

Holly_Bastin21 karma

Look out for Sugarcane processed decafs, or Swiss Water. Sugarcane, so far, is the best at retaining origin flavor and not adding as much of the strange meatiness that decafs often have. We did a Decaf rating last fall at Roast Ratings. While these particular lots of coffee will probably be gone, this will give you an idea of roasters who are doing a good job of roasting and sourcing decafs - https://www.instagram.com/p/CWDykJqLSlp/?utm\_source=ig\_web\_copy\_link

TADodger14 karma

We just got a Breville espresso machine and are trying to tweak the flavour.

Any tips or suggestions?

Holly_Bastin22 karma

Your grind setting will be the very first thing I would tinker with. If you want it 'stronger' or less bright, go finer. If you want it lighter or to get more acidity, go for a little coarser. And, if you can increase the dose, that can help get you more complex flavors. That's the challenge with a lot of home machines - they often fit 50-75% of what a barista would dose at a cafe, so there is only so much you can do on that front, depending on your machine capacity.

Bummcheekz9 karma

Whats the best store bought options? i.e. Freeze dried, instant, cheap Are any even worth it

Holly_Bastin19 karma

We did a tasting of instant coffees at Roast Ratings a couple year ago and there were some serious surprises! Our favorites came from Black & White Coffee Roasters, Coracle Coffee and instant coffees that were processed by Swift Cup (which was a lot of different roasters). I will say, most instant coffee will still have a little edge of a musty flavor. From what I can tell that has something to do with the time in holding tanks prior to freeze drying. Coracle and Black and White do their instants in house and have much more control over the entire process. Watch out though- instant coffee can be quite a bit more caffeinated!!

Here were our top picks -https://www.instagram.com/p/CG-3eaBBbb3/?utm\_source=ig\_web\_copy\_link

gwvent7 karma

I'm just a plebe who buys whatever random coffee beans my grocery store has and uses a basic drip coffee machine. Do you have any tips on how to elevate my coffee experience without buying a new machine or splurging on really good beans?

Holly_Bastin12 karma

I think splurging on really good coffee is the first step and the less expensive one. Ultimately, I do think that upgrading your equipment is going to make the very biggest difference. And I would treat it as an investment (don't scrimp on the grinder!!). For a home brew set up, I have a $150 grinder and use pour over methods to brew. They are more economical to purchase, but the trade off is that they will be manual and require varying degrees of technique. When you are ready to look for a new set up, I'm happy to help! Hit me up over at curated.com/e/holly.bastin

crooked_chef7 karma

Opinion on Filter Coffee? Thanks

Holly_Bastin26 karma

I'm not quite sure what you are after here, but here's what I got! I personally prefer it :) But I wouldn't say that filter is superior by any means. They're just different. One of my fun facts about paper filters is that coffee has cholesterol in it, but paper filters remove it. #themoreyouknow

I use a Chemex usually, and a Hario stove top kettle. Hope that helps!

Ok-Fall58666 karma

Hi Holly! I have owned a Barista Express Impress for a few years now and want to get more hands-on so looking for a good semi or prosumer. Any recs or thoughts on how I should make that decision


Holly_Bastin11 karma

Oh boy!! The world is your oyster! The Breville line does a pretty decent job, but there is nothing like crafting your own espresso (imho) :) My first hot tip is to think about it as an investment. Take a good look at your budget - to get into a more reliable set up you can be looking anywhere from $1000-$10k, depending on what you are hoping to achieve. I know it sounds like a lot but, when it comes to espresso, at a certain point you really do get what you pay for ;)

There's about a bajillion options out there, but I'm happy to help! That's actually one of my main roles at Curated - helping folks find the right fit for their home espresso set up. When you have the time, hit me up over there and we can get deep into the coffee weeds - curated.com/e/holly.bastin

Yorkies_are_dumb5 karma

Any tips and tricks for homemade nitro?

Holly_Bastin6 karma

I don't have loads of experience with homemade nitro, but I think one of the more economical options is to get a whip cream canister and some nitrogen chargers (around $60ish). If you want other options, I know that a lot of Barista Championship competitors have toyed with this. I'd google around for "World Barista Championship recipes nitro" or something of the like to see what folks have done with it :)

daveandmairi5 karma

Hi. Thanks for doing this AMA.

I home roast (using an Aillio Bullet) and often hear roasters saying they knew there was still more to get from the bean, so they tweaked the profile. How do experienced roasters assess the extent to which their profile for production is 'right'?

I'm not talking about obvious defects, just how to determine if something I think is pretty good could actually be great.

Holly_Bastin6 karma

I am not personally a roaster, so I asked my fellow Curated expert, Jeff, who IS :) Here's what he thinks:

So the tweaking of the profile still will mainly deal with post first crack control of the roast. When we have a single origin, to begin with we have an overall idea of what we want the end temp to be but will adjust how we get to the temperature. We will do multiple roasts adjusting the development time and to some degree the Maillard phase (2nd phase of roast after the bean is dry - generally around 300 degrees F. ) A longer time in development after 1st crack will make the flavors of the bean more subtle and blend together more -where as a shorter time after first crack will make stronger and brighter flavors come out. This can be taken too short however and will leave the coffee tasting a bit like grass or hay. We shoot for a minimum of 1:30 on all of our roasts for development with some more mild blends going over 3min of development. To tell what works best then we will cup side by side and compare the roast flavors and decide what profile best suits our palates.

swivel_patrol2 karma

How has society’s expectations of coffee quality change over your time in the field?

Holly_Bastin5 karma

Since I started in 1999, coffee production has gone through a revolution really. I think a lot of this has to do with the internet, honestly. Up until 20 years ago, roaster and farmers didn't have any way to communicate or try coffees together. The feedback loops that we now have, as well as access to all of our collective knowledge, has had a huge influence over what we can do with coffee. The Barista competitions have also had an impact, with their experimentation and creativity. I have seen unique things happen on the competition stage that have become common cafe practices 5 years later. There's a lot here, so I could go on forever, but those are the bigger things I think changed expectations.

readit6662 karma

Best place online to get fresh roasted coffee beans from western hemisphere and recommendations/why?

Holly_Bastin2 karma

Man, I can no sooner choose my favorite type of potato!! I think it's tough to say, because preference plays such a big part in what I would recommend to each person who asked me this. For me, who likes deep purple-y, fruity juice bombs, I really like Black Sails Coffee in Sacramento, Caffiend out of Meridan, KS, certain Onyx offerings. I personally try my best to spend my money on coffee locally (especially since Covid times), and am fortunate to have a ton of great roasters here in KC.

shiny1s2 karma

When I make pour-overs, I use about 12g, 240g water, done in 2 minutes. Once I lift the grinds and paper out, it becomes something closer to 180g or so. Are these figures off?

Holly_Bastin5 karma

That does seem like a little more retention than usual - I'm wondering if your grind is on the finer side, which might cause a little more. I would guess it might need to be with a smaller dose like that. What does the grounds bed look like?

Daninsg2 karma

What's your opinion on robusta and Singaporean Kopi in particular?

Holly_Bastin5 karma

Kopi Luak? I have only had it once. It was....well, it tasted dark and earthy - kind of like its process would suggest lol. I personally don't understand the price for how it tastes. As for Robusta, it is a very different profile to Arabica coffee - usually much more of a rich, low toned profile. Robusta tends to grow at lower altitudes and the tree produce coffee much faster than high altitudes. Many producers of Robusta (and even some Arabica) aren't as focused on nuance or producing something of super high quality - mainly just "coffee flavored coffee" to make ends meet. There are some producers that take time and care in this department - Nguyen Coffee Supply in NYC has a lot of really nice Robustas to try! Another thing to understand about Robusta is that it is higher in caffeine naturally, so expect a different "buzz" when you try it!

waterfromthesun2 karma

What are your thoughts on the hypothesis that most coffee beans have mold and/or toxins?

Holly_Bastin8 karma

From a paper I researched a couple years ago, this sounds like the claims made by Bulletproof Coffee. I won't disagree that many coffees do have mold or other defects. In the industry we have what is called "commodity coffee" and "specialty coffee". The grading process for specialty coffee is that it must not contain defects, so there is really a lot more 'clean' coffee out there than you might think! Most specialty roasters are dealing with producers that take painstaking care to ensure their coffees remain defect free. I hope that makes you feel a little bit better about your available options :)

VAL-30002 karma

Every year, I try coffee. I never like it. No maybe where I get it, it tastes so bad to me.

My question: did you like coffee the first time you had it?

Holly_Bastin17 karma

The first time I drank coffee I was 13. It was after school and I was rummaging around in the cabinets to find a snack, when I caught a whiff on something incredible. I found the intoxicating smell was coming from a bag of my parents coffee beans. I grabbed the whirly bird grinder, blitzed up some beans and brewed a pot, dreaming beautiful dreams about how exquisite this experience was about to be. As the brew gurgled to a stop, I grabbed a mug, the anticipation building. And then I took a sip....

I had never tasted anything more horrible in my entire life πŸ˜‚πŸ˜–

How could something that smelled so wonderful be so incredibly awful??? Oh the paradox

It wasn't until after I had well prepared coffee that the tide started to turn for me. And even then, there was a solid buffer of chocolate and mint to help ease the bitterness. And over time I started to genuinely like it and put less and less in it, until finally I started enjoying black coffee.

I hope you enjoyed my story time πŸŒˆπŸ˜‚

Niftypifty1 karma

Would you say there's a noticeable difference in espresso brewed from a standard 58mm portafilter and a Breville/Sage 54mm one? I've been using a Barista Pro for a couple of years and was thinking of upgrading and I'm not sure if it's worth having to buy all new gear to go along with it or just going with something like the Oracle so I can keep using what I have now.

Holly_Bastin2 karma

The biggest difference is how much coffee you can fit into the basket, and that can really open up your flavor world 🌈 The other upside of getting into a 58mm basket is that you will have full access to all of the tools and accessories since they are typically designed for that size of portafilter. Ftr, the Oracle has a 58mm basket and has surprisingly great results. (See the other questions about the Oracle Touch)

At the end of the day it's really about how hand crafty you want to get. If you want to talk options, but me up! Curated.com/e/holly.bastin

blanketyblank11 karma

Is my Breville Oracle Touch providing the best possible cup of espresso I can get without becoming a die-hard hobbyist?

Holly_Bastin2 karma

Honestly? I tried it at the SCA trade show this past April and was seriously impressed. I hadn't expected it to deliver really good coffee. I was playing with the Oracle while 2020 US Barista Champ Andrea Allen played on the Barista Touch next to me. She leaned over and whispered to me - "I've had the Oracle at home for the last year and I have never had to change the grind." We exchanged wide eyed glances lol. Apparently it does it for you?!


djstocks-1 karma

Why does Starbucks coffee suck so bad?

Holly_Bastin7 karma

For a company the size of Starbucks to survive, consistency is key. And what do you have to do to achieve that on a global scale? Buy giant lots of coffee & roast it dark. Some of the most sought after coffees grow at the highest possible altitudes, which usually means the top of a mountain. And the tops of mountains have reeeeeeaaaally limited surface area. If Starbucks bought one of these lots, they would likely go through it in a week where, for an independent roaster, it might last the better part of a year.

Food for thought ;)