Archive for the 'homeroast post' Category

Sweet Maria’s on the radio. Part 2

Last summer, Tom was interviewed by The Splendid Table, a radio talk show that covers everything relating to food and drink. They had aired his first interview that covered coffee brewing. We are now excited to hear that his interview covering home roasting is being aired this weekend. Tom will put some focus on roasting at home using a popcorn popper. Starting Friday, January 14th, you will be able to listen online or download a podcast from their website. Depending on where you live, you may be able to listen via a local radio station. Here’s a list of stations that will broadcast the show.

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Roasting With The Behmor 1600

Recently Josh sat down and explained the basics of one of our favorite roasters, the Behmor 1600. Take a look. Whether you just bought one, or are going to buy one you will find this pretty interesting. We will post a separate video on some of our “breakin’ the law” tips (tips that are contrary to the instructions but can help maximize the performance of the roaster) soon.

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Roasting with a Popcorn Popper. So Simple.

We realized that amongst all the videos we have posted, there has never (gasp!) been one covering the basics of roasting with a popcorn popper – which is one of our favorite ways to home roast and an especially good, inexpensive way to get started. So we decided to post 3 new YouTube vids  about roasting with a popper. In the first one, Tom goes to the thrift/junk store to show you the kind of popper to look for.

Check out the other new videos too – one where Tom demonstrates using a popper to roast coffee – and another of the entire roast process in a popcorn popper.

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Coffee Roasting Basics – Color Changes

Tom has been talking about this for a while … that we don’t have enough basic information about color changes in roasting. Understanding the stages of the roast is fundamental to successful roasting; it is hard to emphasize it enough.   He shot a macro-image video under very strong light to show color changes during the roast process.  He emphasizes the development of each stage (in both air and drum roasts)  and what you can expect to see and hear.  The end of the roast is crucial; in the 15 to 30 seconds from first crack  moving toward second crack, your roast very quickly goes from City+ to Full City+ (and beyond!). Make sure to pull up a stool and pay attention to the end of the roast not matter what method you use.

I’ve added this video to our Visual Guide to Roast page as a permanent fixture. Hope you find it useful. – Maria

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New arrivals – Mexico Org Nayarit DP, Honduras FTO Lempira Cosagual Coop, Salvador Siberia Estate Pacamara

Three Central American additions today! … We have the return of Mexico Organic Nayarit Dry-Process, an unusual offering we’ve enjoyed before with intense chocolate and dense body. Next up is a new cultivar from one of our fave auction-winning farms: El Salvador Siberia Estate Pacamara, with excellent raw sugar and hibiscus tones. Lastly it’s Honduras Fair Trade Organic Lempira -Cosagual Coop from a new farm/location. It’s a crisp wet-process from a new farm with allspice, almond, and apricot hints.

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what the he — is jasmine?

At 11:44 AM -0400 8/25/07, George wrote:
>Okay girls and guys, what the he– does jasmine smell and taste like???????? I have searched both SM’s site for about 10 minutes or more and the Internet for probably over 45 minutes on jasmine, jasmine flavor, jasmine taste, etc, etc. All I get are listings of dozens of pages on it’s use as a flower in weddings, what properties it has for women in Japan, pages and pages on jasmine in tea, and the list goes on and on. Even went to Websters dictionary, online encyclopedias, etc, etc and nothing but uses, NOT A THING ON TASTE. I did visit over a hundred sites that listed jasmine and no results for the smell or taste of it. Tom seems to mention jasmine with sage and other herbs/spices. For all I know it could taste like baby kaka.
>So, what is the taste and smell of jasmine.

Its a very good question: I try to distinguish between jasmine tea and jasmine flower sometimes, but fail to do it often enough. Those are the 2 most meaningful definitions to me. But in fact, at my house i have pink jasmine and a white jasmine and they are different (my night-blooming jasmine failed to grow but that too is a bit different). All offer strong, permeating floral notes. Yirgacheffes often have the most clear-cut jasmine notes of any coffee, but sometimes I refer to it when it is a very mild floral note, not based on the intensity or amount of it, but the quality – i tried to clarify that issue in my Flavor Quality Analysis spider-graphs. I’ll also use honeysuckle, and sometimes hibiscus, but don’t often use rose anymore since that’s a huge variation in aromas, and I don’t know enough to specify WHAT rose. Frankly, sometimes getting too specific in descriptions can hinder what i am trying to communicate, and just doesn’t work — i.e. it’s the wet aroma of the flowers from recently dried coriander at 3pm on Sunday. Okay, that’s a bad example, but there is a LOT left yet-to-be-described in the coffee reviews so you, the taster, can fill in the blanks. I like to (usually) go beyond saying something is simply ‘floral’ but don’t want to kill all the fun of discovery by being overly specific (if I am even able to). I hope, at some point, you might notice that I try to keep it real, to keep descriptors firmly attached to things that you smell and taste, and avoid analogies like “this is the little black dress of coffees,” or this is “coffee for the x-games”, or “this is the honda accord of coffee”. I have heard all these used before, and i guess they DO describe something most people understand, but when you start down that path there is no return … it becomes an easy escape from really trying to attach coffee experiences to other true sensory experiences. – Tom

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fruit or ferment

I thought I had a good idea of what a fermented taint was but with discussions here and some of Tom’s latest coffee descriptions I am just confused now. So the question is: when does Intense Fruit cross the line into a Fermented Taint? Thanks, David

Not an easy question, and exactly the point of offering these 2 coffees that push that limit: Ethiopia FTO Lekempti Dry Process and (to a much lesser extent) Juan Francisco El Salvador. Partly, it is subjective … on the other hand, a truly fermenty coffee will fade within a few months, and just taste dirty. I just cupped a Sumatra today that is another “challenging” cup profile in the same way; very fruity, but remaining more on the clean side (when I taste mustiness or mold, that IS, by all standards, over the line). Take this same debate over into the realm of food and you find a lot of parallels. For me, the analogy is between very refined food (for example, white sugar sweetness) versus more “natural” food (for example, raw unfiltered honey, sorghum syrup, unsulphered blackstrap mollases). The later contain sweetness with other flavors many would consider earthy, herbal, groundy, vegetal, woody, etc. Now, I don’t know where the line is between them: I don’t want to subsist on a diet that tastes like fungus and rotting wood, but I also don’t want to have a sanitized, boring diet of clean-flavored, homogenized food. The same goes for coffee. There are coffee cuppers who reject even the slightest suggestion of unorthodoxy, of the unexpected, in their coffee. Seriously, it is true … they want “clean, sweet, floral, citric, slight chocolate note” every time. Even flavors like nuts, cedar, and spice can cause them to suspect a coffee of uncleanliness. Most on the other extreme (in my experience) accept really marginal flavors because they roast coffee heavily … “west coast roast” types who can’t live without DP Ethiopias and DP Sumatras. My opinion: we should try to be flexible, and open to new tastes. We want coffee with character, something surprising … but not a coffee that can’t be stored for 6 months green and still cup with the same quality. That IS important. But in general, the question you raise is something that is open-ended and should always be a matter for debate. And in a way it is good that cuppers don’t agree on this; just another way the coffee trade is heterogeneous; that we don’t all offer the same thing because we don’t agree! -Tom

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where are we at with harar?

a question from the home roast list

>Anyone know when the Ethiopian Harrar is obtainable (in season)? I’m
>interested in seeing if I can pull the blueberry notes out of the
>bean… - Kevin

It’s late in the season now, and basically it was only the first arrival that had over-the-top blueberry. Our special prep lot was balanced, but didn’t have extreme berry notes. I commissioned that special lot preparation on the Green Stripe as an experiment, but also because I had a feeling it was a “down year” for Harar in general. I think it was, overall, because I cup a lot of lots and throughout the season they just kept dropping in quality, and so many were simply dusty tasting, hay, dry earth.

Anyway, you can get blueberry from the Ethiopia Dry Process Sidamo lot we have now. This is from a new exporter I am trying to work with (he’s a pain because he can’t get anything done on time…) however the coffee he shipped was
outstanding. Obvious second recommendation is the Idido Misty Valley which is an unbelievable coffee in terms of fruit. Wet-process Ethiopias have been great this year but those don’t have berry notes in general, more citrus and floral. I start to look at incoming new crop Harar in January and February (pre-shipment samples). The problem with Pre-Ship samples from Africa is they never arrive tasting the same- huge flavor shifts. So you can’t count on knowing much in advance of arrival lots, and you just have to source them widely and roast them all to find the gems.


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