A few weeks ago, we embarked upon a challenge to make our own blend of espresso using the same beans that Carvetii uses in their Latitude espresso blend. Carvetii kindly supplied us with a kit including 500gr of their signature blend, which is currently shortlisted for the Great British Food awards, as well as 1,000gr of the two beans they use in the blend comprising 500gr of an Ethiopian and 500gr of a Colombian bean.
The challenge was for my podcast co-host, Max and me to create a blend that we liked the most and share the results with Carvetii. The full story is on our podcast this week below, or skip to the bottom of the page for a summary.
We discovered the challenge on Carvetii’s YouTube channel which, by the way, if you’re not watching, you should. I’ve been following them for some months and always appreciated their no-nonsense approach. Gareth has an air of authority that comes from being in the business a lot of years and knowing the right way to do a thing.
Can We Make a Better Blend Than Carvetii?
This is not actually the objective. Since taste is subjective, better is not measurable, and therefore, not relevant. Instead, we had different approach.
First we wanted to understand how each bean tasted on their own, define the characteristics and whether one appealed to us more than the other. Next we set up the grinders so that it was producing the recommended dose within the required time window. When we were happy with the set up and taste, we didn’t change any of the settings for the rest of the test.
We created different blends over a two-week period, and noted the changes from an academic and personal taste viewpoint.
Max generally prefers less acidity in his coffee than I do, so it’s no surprise that he preferred a blend with the majority of the Colombian, using perhaps only 20-25% of the Ethiopian.
I, on the other hand liked the additional complexity introduced by the Ethiopian bean and enjoyed the floral notes, so the perfect combination was about 30%. I did find that I also enjoyed having 40% of the Ethiopian mixed with the Colombian.
Interestingly, I found that if I wanted a more acidic brew with the undertone of maple that is attributed to the Colombian, then I could switch the ratios around and make a coffee with 60% Ethiopian and only 40% Colombian.
What didn’t work for either of us was balancing the blend with an equal 50/50 ratio. I don’t know why, but that never made a satisfying brew for either of us.
For a full discussion, listen to the podcast at the top of this page, and consider also subscribing to Carvetii’s YouTube channel so you don’t miss out on his next whacky idea. You can also buy his espresso beans, which are currently up for an award over on his website https://www.carvetiicoffee.co.uk/