Trystero Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans High Quality


#1

I’ve been buying roasted beans weekly from Greg, who runs Trystero out of his garage in Atwater, for about six months and I told him I’d try to write up a short article about his coffee roasting for FTC. I am now pretty confident in the work he does, and the “product,” and so feel on pretty firm ground recommending his beans, at least to espresso drinkers. These are not like commercial beans you get at TJ or Costco, Starbucks or Peets or even the higher end shops like Intelligentsia. [So-called espresso beans in most outlets are over-roasted, burnt junk. And the beans that aren’t burnt are usually pretty old, so taste and liveliness are compromised.]

In fact, though I’ve been making espresso at home on a Pasquini for more than 20 years, I felt I never received the full benefit from the machine until I used Greg’s beans. (I also bought beans from Pasquini as well, and felt they were overpriced. Until last year, I would sometimes buy them anyway, but their last bag was stale and tasteless and I told myself “never again.” They weren’t burnt, but they weren’t flavorful.)

Greg runs the roasting process in such a way that you can pick up the coffee less than a day after it’s been roasted, and mostly less than eight or ten hours after roasting. So the modifier “fresh” is actually meaningful when it comes to these beans and that freshness, plus the type and quality of the bean and the roasting, make all the difference. I will say it is something of a pain to drive from where we live to pick up the bags of coffee every Wednesday (between 10 and 1, I think), but the taste and richness of the espresso are way better than anything I’ve had in so-called upscale coffee shops here in the states, and better too than anything I tasted in any Italian espresso bar (in the regions of Milano, Firenze, Roma.) So, to me, the drive is worth it.

I’m sure there is coffee in Italy that is the equal of what I’ve been able to get out of Greg’s roasting, but I’ve never tasted it.

I think it might be helpful to those interested in this posting to understand that I’m only speaking to the espresso roast of certain coffees; American-style coffee is, as they say, a whole different ball game. But for espresso drinkers, make sure you ask him for the espresso roast (which is not that dark, but darker than “regular”), what he calls “++”; there is a subtle but significant difference in the roast that makes a big difference when the coffee comes out of the machine.

When you go to his website, Greg usually lists half a dozen or so choices – sometimes from the Pacific, but mostly from Central and South America and from Ethiopia. As a rule, the American beans generally carry a heavier chocolate element, along with more citrus. We find the Ethiopians (and the Pacific, when available) make the most interesting, full-bodied, complex and flavorful espressos, less acidic and more aromatic. If you have a choice between the wet and dry process beans, you may find the dry process more complex and interesting.

We have found his coffees amazingly consistent, though some variation from week to week is unavoidable even with the same bean and same level of roast. But if you’re interested in a whole new level of taste from your espresso machine, you might try Trystero. Every person who’s had our espresso with Greg’s beans says it’s the best they’ve ever tasted.


#2

I picked up a bag of Ethiopian beans from him a month ago, good stuff. Nice little hang out place in his garage.


#3

I’ve been a few times to the Trystero Garage, and always had a great time. Greg is very cool, and his coffee is awesome. Have yet to pick up some beans because I don’t often brew at home, but next time I get in a home-brewing groove I’m planning on grabbing a bag.

Another cool thing: Greg roasts all (i think? or at least a strong majority) of the coffee that goes into the beers at Highland Park Brewing. It’s been a bit since they’ve had one on tap, but I imagine with cooler weather ahead (maybe, hopefully) we’ll see some darker beers from them, Griffith J Griffith and Wake Up.


#4

A couple of questions:
so pick-up is ONLY Wed 10-1?
price per bag?

I had a tonx subscription before they were bought by Blue Bottle and was pretty happy with most of their beans. Now, I’m getting BB delivered and it seems to me that the beans they are sending are not the beans available in their stores—I’m still getting small batch growers/family farms.

I prefer the taste profile of Central/South America beans, but have gotten some good African beans from them as well (great batch from Tanzania recently). I brew in a bialetti stovetop espresso pot. Trystero sounds really interesting and I’d love to try them out if they do weekend pick-ups.


#5

The general rule of thumb is to let freshly roasted coffee rest for two days for peak flavor. If Trystero coffee are as good as some of top roasters, then the price represents a very good value; barring the $6 shipping charge.

I suspect the reason you find Intelligentsia undistinguished is because the coffee they sell off the shelf is way past their roasted dates. One time, against my better judgement I knowingly picked up a two weeks old bag of Sightglass (San Francisco); I was so mad at myself afterwards. On a pinch, I go to Long Beach Rose Park Coffee on the day they put out their freshly roasted coffee, Wednesday.


#6

LAgirl,

I believe Greg has other pickup days, Saturday for example. The cost is based on the weight of the beans (size of the bag), and I’ve been remiss in not calculating price per gram; but for 396 grams of the Ethiopian, at the roast I want it, and a few extra grams thrown in (I think), the price was $17. (He offers various sized bags.) Based on the quality, it seems to me to be a fantastic value. Why? Because I’ve not been able to taste anything that comes close to his roasted beans anywhere else, though I’m sure there are many, many sources with which I’m unfamiliar.

Re beans from different regions, and preferences, I think there is a big personal and subjective element, as there must always be – quite literally – in matters of taste. Also, the stovetop pot makes very different coffee than the larger electric machines, on account of pressure, temperature, the grinds that work, the density with which the coffee is packed (how much you compress it) and so on. There are individuals who know way more than I do about these variables, which change from one machine to the next. I’m no expert!

But I don’t want to lose the main issue, the one that impressed me the most: the recency of the roast, or the freshness of the roasted beans. It really does make all the difference in the world, especially if the beans are high quality. IMHO, that is Greg’s most specific and genuine contribution: the timing.


#7

Liq,

Thanks for the two day rule of thumb. I have to tell you I was completely ignorant of it, and have found in my own experience with the roast I request and the machine I use, that while it may be true – I’m not sure. We drink espresso every day, my s.o. and I, about 4-6 cups, that would be 2 double espressos, usually in the morning. So while I try to keep as many beans as I can in Greg’s air-tight bag, there may be beans that sit for several days in the hopper of the grinder; and his XL bag, the size we buy, usually lasts 4 or 5 days. Maybe the taste reaches a plateau, or maybe not. My impression is that the flavors are very “colorful” in his coffee, much more so than in any other beans or coffees I’ve ever tastes, and they have a kind of righteous complicated strength (more than one flavor at a time and you can taste them.) They do seem to alter over the lifetime of the bag, but I’d be hard pressed to say how. For example, I’m not sure they “reach a peak” after a day or so; but, as you said, it was a rule of thumb. I should add that flavors also alter between shots. So with this coffee, in espresso mode, you will get these “thick” flavors in a full-bodied “expression,” but not necessarily the same flavor combination each time.

I wish I were better able to describe the flavors. Even if you took chocolate as a base-line, the kind of chocolate varies from dark to milk, with gradations, with other flavors such as cinnamon and vanilla, and/or lime, orange, sweet and sour, and so forth. Also, sometimes there are “floral” notes.

On the whole, though, your emphasis on the roasting date seems spot on to me. Without that freshness, I think most of the flavors are lost. Hence, most coffee served (99+%?) including in these “fancier” places, with very high prices, is basically tasteless compared to freshly roasted. Of course it also must be freshly ground, and ground in the right way. But “freshly ground” old coffee is not what coffee can be, either.


#8

Hi Nerowolf:

I completely understand what you are trying to described about various espressos profiles. Another quick note, sunlight will accelerate coffee’s oxidation process, thus coffee will lose its flavor (the high notes) sooner than it should. I keep my coffee in brown kumbucha bottles. Sorry to say I think air tight sealed bags are pretty useless.

Pulling a good espresso is a complicated process, aside from using the freshest beans possible and frequently tuning the machine. Thus I find only a handful of coffee shops I can rely on … Klatch in San Dimas, Intelligentsia in Silver Lake and Portola Coffee Lab. The reason why they got it right is because the shops and their baristas are serious about their coffee.


#9

Liq,

Thank you for the coffee shop suggestions. And in reference to your earlier post I, too, have had the experience of buying beans from one of these shops and finding, when I took them home, that they were actually stale and relatively tasteless.


#10

I just want to clarify that I usually can get a good cup of espresso there, not the beans. Sadly they lean towards the over production side than making sure the coffee they sell are within optimal window. I had a micro roaster sent me extra bags just because they were slightly older.

Always check the date.


#11

I’m going to order some espresso beans from Trystero but worried about the comments around the freshness taste deceleration.

Liq - I recently purchased a Gaggia espresso machine. What should I be doing to tune the machine and how frequently? Sorry if this is off topic but would love some pointers.


#12

Hi js:

Don’t worry too much about beans being too old from a micro roaster. I like to believe they more into artisan aesthetics than profit margins. Just contact Trystero and ask them about the roasting schedule and the roasted bean’s preferred rest period. Pretty sure sure they have the profile thing all figured out.

Use the brown bottle to store your coffee… you can actually hear the CO2 gas escaping upon opening a bottle filled with freshly roasted coffee after it was sealed for a couple of days.

I do not know anything about Gaggia. What model do you have? Classic? Go to Youtube, the “Whole Latte Love” channel has a lot of videos on Gaggia.

Go to youtube and find “Seattle Coffee Gear” to learn all about espresso related topics. I just love these two goofy ladies. In here you will find out about topics like temperature surfing, back flushing etc.

If you are still stuck with specific questions, search or ask in “reddit.com/r/coffee”. Btw, what is your coffee grinder?

Enjoy you cuppa!


#13

Thanks those guys at Whole Latte Love have some great instructional videos.

I’m using a burr grinder that they recommended and working great. I’m going to run some rice through there soon to clean it out.

I reached out to Trystero for some beans. I find that the beans don’t make too much difference and very hard to distinguish between certain brands - Portola, Intelligentsia and Kean are in my rotation. But I have found that there are some beans that I do not like.


#14

js:

Sometimes I buy my coffee based on coffeereview.com/review. I usually buy coffee with ratings no less than 93, ~$21 include shipping. These roasters will shipping freshly coffee. Sadly, the site has changed to subscription only for taste note viewing.


#15

Just received a bag of the Lot 49 Trystero espresso beans roasted on 10/27. I don’t think I’ve ever had beans with the aroma of freshly roasted beans. I’m no coffee expert but we really enjoyed our lattes this morning. It’s right up there with Kean and Portolo for us. Kean espresso beans seem a little too strong for us in the caffeine department.

Love the fact that Trystero is local, ships fresh roasted beans and has a subscription model. Will give it a few more tries but will likely be subscribing to bags on bi-weekly basis for convenience and taste. Thanks for the recommendation.