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Langen Kaffee – Espresso Classico

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After I was able to repair my blocked Gaggia Classic Coffee espresso machine by removing the shower holding plate for the first time in 13 years (lovely sight if you’re passionate about coal mining) and cleaning it, my espresso consumption is bound to soar to new heights. I enjoy coffe in all its variations – with milk, with double amount of water, sometimes even with chocolate syrup, with frothed milk etc. etc.
No ‘Latte Art’ for me – a total waste of time and effort. (I should quickly line out what I consider a wasteful effort. I sometimes eat in the dark because I can’t be arsed to get up and switch on the light. Dining becomes such a sensual experience.)

So with the new espresso beans in front of me, the “Espresso Classico” from the excellent “Langen Kaffee” in Medebach, I ventured into trying to find out why this coffee is so popular among caffeine junkies and espresso geeks like me, it has gotten good reviews on the German coffee board I like to browse, too. Sometimes coffee gets famous by word-of-mouth and the fun of joining a discussion to let everyone know you’ve found it to be delicious as well can be alluring. I for one, being the only writer of this blog, can only speak for myself. What a luxury!

The aroma of the beans is that of coffee and dark chocolate and maybe dried fruits paired with a slight smokiness and with a hint of bitterness, which is a bit like burnt caramel. A little unappealing, but no worries yet. I ground it on “6” in my Gaggia MDF Grinder, which is tweaked a few notches towards a finer grind; this “6” translates to “3” for a grinder still on factory settings. The harsh smell of burnt sugar was still there, but as the coffee was releasing more of its coffee aroma the impression got less irritating. Aroma was good, but something was missing.

With milk:
I treated myself to different ratios of milk/coffee in different cups. I poured a shot of espresso into the cup and filled it with hot milk:

  • In a big cappuccino cup, this coffee tastes almost like nothing, and I couldn’t tell if it wasn’t fake coffee made from hot milk with a few spoons of malt in there.
  • In a medium cup, it still is too mild to rate the coffee apart from the fact that its taste has no chance against the sweet taste of heated milk.
  • In a small cup, only a tad bigger than an espresso cup, it still tastes very mild without character. There is coffee flavor, but it’s bland.

Conclusion so far:

Sudden flavor loss by milk

Without milk:

When drinking it as pure caffé, it’s so clear, why the taste disappears so quickly in milk. The pronounced fruity acidity is the only remarkable thing about this coffee and even the only flavor inducing property, nearly the only thing that separates it from malt coffee.

As espresso lungo, a shot with a doubled amount of water, the coffee is very good.

Conclusion: A very difficult espresso to enjoy, but it is possible. The high quality of the beans, or the freshness, are not in question, it is a properly roasted blend, but it’s a one-dimensional drinking experience. I’ll let the second half of my 500g bag “breathe” for a couple of weeks before trying them again. Sometimes exposure to air for some time greatly enhances the flavor of very fresh coffee.

Written by theinversecook

5 April 2009 at 04:29

2 Responses

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  1. One reason why coffee is sold as latte macchiato: Most roasted coffee beans are not worth drinking without milk. Bad quality can be disguised with milk. But you can enjoy a good coffee even if it’s cooled down.
    Love your test!


    5 April 2009 at 10:06

    • Good point, a latte is always a good sneaky way to sell some coffee with a lot of cheaper beans in it, I suppose. AFAIK this coffee has a hefty 25% of robusta, but, time will tell. I emptied the grinder and exposed the beans to lovely spring for about an hour. One more time…


      5 April 2009 at 17:32

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