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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Green Monstah

Wally, originally uploaded by Ed Karjala.

This post is for Nate, Snoz, and the Fettered by Secrecy Roasting Society (FSRS).

At my last time on bar, I had no real idea how important each phase of roasting was besides an understanding that it was hard because even the best struggled with it. I knew that sometimes the roasts were ashy, sometimes they were flat, and sometimes bright as there was a lot of variance batch to batch. Each week, it was a new experience and a test of patience. How can you raise the bar if the base is shifting?

After struggling for months to get evenly dried sample roasts while working the wettest/highest grown/most expensive green we could find, I have a few thoughts to offer. I now have suffered enough to realize that there are several layers of difficulty in roasting that the majority of people aren't always able to piece together. This site isn't a roasting how-to so let me give you a few things to chew on and think about for yourself instead of spoon feeding you something. Let's play myth buster for a moment.

Myth Number One: Light roasts are grassy, you have to roast darker to avoid this.
Truth: Light roasts that are dried properly will not be grassy. If you don't know what that means, it's time to do some research.

Myth Number Two: You have to slow down.
Truth: Yes and no or rather a maybe. Some people slow down and bake which does nothing positive but does mask the hot cup character a lot without fixing the real problem. Since each roasting setup is different, you figure it out for yourself.

I am theorizing that most of the major errors I am seeing in commercial roasts appear to be a product of improper drying either inefficient or uneven. If you can't get the head right, what good is finessing the tail? The pretty labels sure don't help and the barista can't change a thing.

What does 'bakey' taste like? What does 'green' taste like? Got something to chew on now, eh?