Looks like in specialty we are always running against the clock, trying to get the freshest green beans first, and then, when the coffee is roasted – well, the idea is to sell it faster, because when you roast it, you basically start the timer. Timer of “not too fresh”.
It comes to a degree when people are refusing to buy coffee that is perfectly fine, but was roasted a week ago. “7 days is too much, probably coffee has already passed its peak”.
Couple of weeks ago I was invited to do a talk on Sustainability in Coffee at one local food market, and honestly I think I painted a pretty scary picture for those who attended the talk. The truth is I don’t think I exaggerated at all.
If we define the sustainability as “the degree to which a process or enterprise is able to be maintained or continued while avoiding the long-term depletion of natural resources” or “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, we quickly figure out that Coffee Industry as it is functioning now is far from being sustainable.
Now, in almost 2022, it is reckless to behave like these 20 years have not happened. You have competition, you have certain standards and expectations from the customers, you have new brewing methods, different consumption habits, an abundance of offers online…It would be madness to still be basing your “key difference” at the specialty coffee market as “We source the best coffees and roast them to perfection, showcasing the best flavours the terroir is giving us”.
Many things are wrong with the previous statement – I will not get into details – but the most important thing is that it is not leading anywhere. It is not helping your customer to identify who you are, what kind of offer you have – and if you are, or not, close to what he is looking for.
This year’s Portuguese Aeropress Championship is over, and here I am, a week later, feeling like writing about it, or, better said – about the shocking realisation that I experienced during the preparation stage, and that is giving me some food for thought now.
We all know that coffee making is made of balancing multiple varieties, and hitting all of them, getting all of the factors right, makes up that delicious cup of coffee in the end.
Everything matters, from the amount of water in your kettle to the material your vessel is made from, from the mineral content of your water to the outside temperature and humidity. There are just so many variables to juggle. Probably too many to be consistent.
I have been there myself – not finding the descriptors that were “promised”, but finding other ones. It took me a while to put it all together in my own head, looking from the perspective of the coffee lover and from the other side – of the coffee professional.
The most important questions I will raising and trying to answer here:
Are coffee descriptors set in stone? Is it something that you will taste for sure the way it is described on a coffee bag?
Do we really need flavour descriptors on a bag of coffee? What is it – helpful information or marketing?
How to make it easier for the customer to buy coffee and enjoy it without feeling incompetent or unable to make a good choice?
Sometimes it happens, and you discover that you are brewing coffee that has some roasting issues, and is not developed properly. Of course, before blaming the roaster, make sure that you are doing everything right in your department. Sensory memory and experience helps – if you tasted many coffees and discussed them with other people, you have a clear understanding of what underdeveloped roast tastes like.
What can you do if you get one? How can you modulate the brewing profile to mitigate the roasting problems?
Fermented cabbage has been a staple food in my family since forever. Usually those were my grandparents who were taking some time every season to make enough of it, and then it has been distributed all over the family – buckets and buckets of white firm cabbage fermented with carrots and cranberries. Something present atContinue reading “RED CABBAGE SAUERKRAUT”
So, you are thinking about starting a coffee roastery! Congratulations!
I’ve been there.
You discuss the machines, which one you like the most, you collect the data and the feedback from the fellow roasters – what are the possible problems, how the coffee turns out. You think about the design – which color to choose, how it will look inside the shop. You are probably even thinking about the length of the chimney and the number of bends it makes – and you really should.
All of it is important, and definitely should be considered and thought through.
But only after you find out the most important piece of information….
What’s new in this recipe?
The factor I am exploring is the pouring.
All other variables stayed the same, and the only thing I am changing is the way I pour. In one of the last videos of James Hoffmann where he is exploring different pour over brewers, he mentioned that April Brewer has a special recipe for it. And since then the thing that I wanted to try was to use that recipe brewing a V60.
The main feature of it is using a combined pour – 100 grams of water in 10 seconds, divided into 30 grams circular pour (roughly around 2 circles) and 70 grams right in the center.