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Did you know: One pound of specialty grade coffee contains
about 2,000 hand picked beans?
ROASTING & BLENDING
After quality coffee beans are obtained, the most important
phase of the production of gourmet coffee begins, the roasting and the
blending. A good roaster must be part artist and part scientist in order
to maintain quality and consistency. It is during the roasting process
that the sugars and other carbohydrates within the bean become caramelized
creating a substance which is known as the coffee oil. Technically, this
fragile chemical is not actually an oil (since it is water soluble), but
it is what gives the coffee its flavor and aroma.
Specialty coffees are generally roasted in small batches. The two most
common roasting methods are: drum-roasting and hot-air roasting. Drum-type
roasting machines roast the coffee beans as they tumble in a rotating
drum that is typically heated by gas or wood. (The Pro1500
roaster we carry is heated by a Halogen light which incredibly controls
the roasting temperature by +/- one degree celsius.) When the desired
roast is achieved, the beans are poured into a cooling hopper to keep
them from overcooking. The hot-air roaster, also known as a fluid-bed
roaster, roasts the coffee beans as they tumble on a current of hot air.
Most green coffee is roasted at approximately 400 degrees. The roasting
process causes the coffee beans to swell and increase in size by over
50%, while at the same time greatly reducing their weight.
A lightly roasted bean may range in color from cinnamon to a light chocolate
tan. Lighter roasts are generally not used for espresso since they produce
a sharper, more acidic taste than do darker roasts. Darker roasts, in
contrast, have a fuller flavor approaching a bittersweet tang. The amount
of oil drawn to the surface of the bean increases proportionately to the
length of roasting time. As the roast darkens, caffeine and acidity decrease
proportionately. Dark roasts can range in color from a medium chocolate
brown with a satin-like luster to an almost black bean with an oily appearance.
The darker the roast the more you will taste the char, rather than the
flavor of the bean. Extreme dark roasts will tend to have a smoky flavor
and are better suited for brewed coffee rather than espresso.
Many roasters refer to the following terms concerning the degree of roast,
from light to dark: Cinnamon, Medium High, City, Full City, French, and
finally, Espresso or Italian roast. On the West coast of the U.S., French
roast is the term generally used to describe the darkest roast. It is
important for you to understand that these terms have no relationship
to where the coffee is grown or roasted. (See our "Roasting
101" section for additional information.) With more than 100
coffee-growing regions in the world, each producing beans with distinctive
characteristics, we believe proper blending is essential to the balance
of flavors necessary to create superior espresso. A single coffee bean
will generally not possess the complexity necessary for great espresso.
Many espresso blends will contain three to seven different types of beans.
The experienced roaster, with his knowledge of each bean,
artfully combines them to create the desired blend of flavors. The roaster's
blending knowledge is usually a closely guarded secret. In the United
States, 100% Arabica beans are generally used for gourmet espresso blends.
As we mentioned earlier, in Italy, some robusta beans will often times
be added for the additional crema, caffeine, and complexity they contribute
to the blend. Another option, which in our opinion is a notch up the quality
scale is to use a clean Brazil bean such as our Brazil
Serra Negra. The Italians possess generations of expertise in the
art of blending coffees for espresso. Argument still exists among roasters
as to which should occur first, the roasting or the blending. Theoretically
speaking, roasting each varietal separately to maximize its flavor characteristics,
and then blending, will produce the best result. However, when blends
consist of beans of various varieties that are roasted around the same
roast spectrum, they can be roasted together at the same time and yield
fantastic flavor profiles, which are very hard to tell the difference.
Don't forget to take a look at some of our fun, easy, and exciting Pre-blended
options. Freshly roasted beans will release hundreds of chemical substances
in the form of vapors. A day or two will generally be required for these
gases to dissipate before the beans will reveal their optimal flavor characteristics.
Today, many quality roasters are packaging their beans in air tight bags
with a one way valve, which allows the gases to escape without the beans
being exposed to the damaging air. This type of packaged should help retard
flavor deterioration. If beans are not packaged this way, or once beans
packaged air tight are exposed to the air, they will begin to deteriorate.
Roasts where oils are exposed on the surface of the bean are much more
vulnerable. Once exposed to the air, and if properly stored, beans will
stay reasonable fresh for 7 to 14 days. We recommend storing beans in
a clean, dry, air-tight container, in a cool dark place. We do not recommend
storing beans in a refrigerator, because coffee tends to absorb flavors.
Freezing coffee beans can also have a damaging effect, and is not recommended,
unless the the beans must be stored for a prolonged period of time.
Ideally, you should strive to purchase and use-up your supply of roasted
beans on a weekly basis.
Home roasting Tip: 12 to 16oz. canning
jars are a great way to keep and store your roasted coffee. You can roast
up half a dozen or so varietals and mix them by the Tablespoon and Teaspoon
to experiment with your own blends. Try this one:
1 Tbs Sumatra (Espresso
1 Tbs Monsoon Malabar (City+)
1 Tbs Tanzania Peaberry (Full City)
1 Tsp Brazil (Full City)
Now that is one good tasting, cremafied espresso blend!!!!!
(keep this secret to yourself!)
GOT A GOOD RECIPE? PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME....I AM ALWAYS
TRYING NEW BLENDS!
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