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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Thoughts on roasting

For the last week, I've been working on a new roasting style. A completely new approach for drip roasts that will work for certain coffees but may not work for others. It has been an intriguing challenge to push these new coffees a little farther and to make them pop.

Sometimes you need a little downtime to get back in experimenting mode. For me, it's been a good week to do that. After a cupping tonight, it looks like a confirmation that this adaptation of other roast profiles will only work for very light roasts, but it works very well for that.

what's interesting is that it came from experimenting on another roaster in a single batch. Having access to another roaster, seeing the drum speed, the physics of the roast, and then taking that back to our roaster.

At first, I had a strong desire to add a modification to get the results, but after a lot of thought, the decision was to push forward with a few tests. After only a few sets, it was apparent I had taken a giant leap int he right direction. The problem with coffee though is that in each set, we needed to wait and watch it age over a few days. So, changing only a variable at a time, I pushed through a few sets in one week cupping as it aged and came to a solid result. Now, the test is to apply variations of this new and aggressive light roast style across several other sets of coffees.

Coffee is great. After all this time, to really find something different on our roaster where we can offer a new style is exceptional. having the refined air controls and RPM controls are both a blessing and a curse. Figuring out exactly what each does often means a bit of confusion followed by either a eureka moment or more potential variants.

So the general idea is we are going to have some nice light roasts coming to the shelf with our next few offerings. Just in time for some fairly expensive coffees too!