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I recently bought some Kenyan SL28, SL34 beans with a supposed blackcurrant note. It has an overwhelming burnt rubber flavor that I thought was exclusive to Robusta, how come?

  • Mind sharing the brand or retailer? I just bought a single lot SL-28 from Counter Culture and have been producing great drinks from all my brew methods. – rwyland Sep 28 '15 at 20:05
  • @rwyland they are Monmouth Kenya Nduati but I think it's more interesting with a general answer covering if and how it's possible. – Shou Sep 28 '15 at 22:20
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First thing to keep in mind is that taste varies from person, so you may try other beans/brews that have similar descriptions, so you can learn about your own taste perception.

That been said, would be nice to know your equipment, in order to help you more. If you are using an espresso machine, maybe is time to have it cleaned. Mine was dirty a while ago and any beans would taste like burnt rubber, even light roasted ones. If you are using some infusion method (inverted aeropress or french press), try reducing the brewing time.

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Robusta is very uncommon, because its thought of as undesirable. Arabica is a very broad generalization for beans. Generally the bean, before its roasted, is profiled by its subspecies(aka variety), region its grown, and how its processed(washed, pulped, dried, etc). From my experience the only thing that has imparted a burnt rubber taste is either from over or under extracting, or from buying a dark roast.

Just because a bean is Arabica doesn't ensure that it is going to ensure a certain flavor profile or certain quality. I'd say try adjusting your brewing parameters such as the grind size, brew time, and bean to water ratio. If that proves unsuccessful, then perhaps that coffee is darker than you prefer, or perhaps its a fluke.

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