That's right - "Home Roaster", but I'll get to that in a minute. Here's another photo for Evan. He came over to watch me pull the shot and he proclaimed "Daddy there's an animal on your 'spresso machine". 10 minutes before that he proclaimed that, both he and Keegan were playing slap-hand, throwing a bit of breakfast around (Keegan) and generally enjoying themselves.


Now, to the "Home Roaster" thing. For those of you who have been following the blog (all three of you, haha) you will know I have only been roasting for a few months. I have a guesstimate of somewhere around 120-130 roasts to date. I started off with what I suspect is typical of first time roasters and that's relying on someone elses green bean espresso blend. It served me well, then I started roasting single origin or estate offerings, pulling pure shots or french pressing them. Focusing on a singular bean allowed me to better understand not only the roasting process but more importantly what is "typical" of a particular regional profile. It was during this roasting period that I probably learned the most about coffee in the shortest amount of time. From here my confidence started to build, I got "daring" and started to combine two unique beans in a ratio that I felt would offer a great combined espresso profile based on my understanding of them as standalone's. A good example of an exciting breakthrough understanding for me would be the Brazilan Fazenda Cachoiera Yellow Bourbon and Royal's Ethiopian Harar Horse in a Brazil 2 part to Ethiopian 1 part blend. I liked it. I had learned that blend and "designed" it based on knowledge, not luck. Now I wanted to start pushing my (limited) blending envelope. Which brings me to today.

The shot I pulled this morning as you can see by the label is a pretty interesting blend. So interesting in fact that after I banged the spent puck into the bang-box the amazing chocolate and spice notes wafting out of it enticed me to hang around and get a photo of it. It was a long journey to get to this point today. I had to first of all start to understand what profile should be typical of a "Name brand" region and the other tricky part was getting that really good representation of profile "Name brand". A good example of this is the Yemen Ismaili Hirazi in this particular blend; I understand what it should offer based on a lot of reading and also the feedback from the cuppers of this Hirazi Lot. But with all that said I still let my nose and palate confirm. This last statement is quite important to me, I trust the guys I get this from, in that the green is world-class but ultimately the proof is in the cup. And that's where I am today, realizing that through a period of time and process I am finally sourcing, blending, roasting and drinking world-class espresso in my own kitchen. This realization isn't just based on pride in being able to execute on knowledge and connections, its mainly based on tasting that world-class shot for 15 minutes after it was consumed while rolling a soccer ball around a kitchen floor with a 1 year-old. It's a satisfiying experience when a personal goal all comes together. As for the coffee journey, I suspect I still have 97% unknown territory ahead of me - in other words, compared to some I don't really know that much. Time to go and learn another 1%.

6 comments:

Gobs said...

I guess I'm one of the three who isn't on stealth mode on your blog with all my comments. LOL! I share some of your stories with Iva, my fiancee (none coffee related of course, she has enough of that from me LOL!)so that makes four known followers.

Although I don't roast, if I got the opportunity to do so, I shall since you got me very much interested. As you learn and post, I am several steps or maybe kilometers behind you learning as well. Thanks!

Toys next on the espresso machine really brings out the colour of the shot. I will try that and maybe it will help my mojo with regards to shot quality.

One question though, I'm still not clear since there's a debate whether single origins should be blended before roasting or individually roasted and then blended. What's your take on this?

Regards,
Gobs

Shaun Taylor said...

That's funny. Well maybe if Iva could tel a few of her girlfriends I might be able to break into the double digits for readers. ;-)

If you want to really kill two birds with one stone you could try putting a little Austin Powers toy next to the grouphead, LOL.

Its a good question on the single origin blended pre roasting or post roasting. I do both and for each their is a reason. The advantage in blending before roasting is of course speed and ease - only one roast. The other interesting theory I suppose would be the synergistic properies that could be achieved as all the various beans are roasting together, sort of like cooking a good pasta sauce, all the flavours meld and take on a different quality. Or at least that's my belief.

Now for post roast blending. Of course you have to do several roasts, lets say its three. This presents a problem in that now you have three batches you have to consume before they get stale. For us that isn't a problem as three batches equals approx 360gms of brown and we like coffee, haha. Now you get to taste the qualities of the single bean, as you can pull SO shots which will help you formulate the ratios on the blend. The cool thing about post roast blending is the ability to tweak a shot in conjunction with tweaking the doseage and grind and time and temp. It can all get a bit complicated but an example could be from the last shot you decide to change the ratio of Brazilan Cachoiera to Ethiopian Harar to Indian Mysore Nuggets. The increase is on the Indian and you roasted that darker than the others, so accordingly it is an oilier batch and therefore you might need to make your grind a bit coarser due to the increased oiliness. You reduced the Brazilian and with less Brazilian(which can be a bean that is sensitive to too hot a temp) you might now be able to move from 94celsius to 95celsius to check things out. Or you could leave the grind where it was and now the oilier shot might pull a bit longer somewhat like a ristretto. Or... You get the idea.

To keep it simple, pre roast blending is fast and easy, the real intuition comes into it while you are looking at your greens and deciding how to craft it. Post roast blending takes more time but allows you to be a mad espresso scientist.

Let me know if that makes sense???

I dropped an email on your blog, I'm interested in the supah cool dynamic photo switching tool you have going in the top right corner. Shaun want. ;-)

Gobs said...

Yup! It makes sense and consumption is a great factor in the equation when it comes to post roast blending.

Thanks for the comment you left on my blog. Left a reply but will paste it here as well "The flickr badge took all of two minutes and can be accessed from the tools link. flickr sets it up for you according to your choice, then gives you the code to copy and paste it on your blog. Nothing fancy really."

It kinda messed up my previous javascript action so I will have to sort that out but if you get tired of it, you can easily hide the code and everything goes back to the way it was. Have fun and a good weekend.

Shaun Taylor said...

Aha, Flickr, it looks like I may need to open an account as I am with webshots at the moment - thanks for that.

Right now I would be playing with code - except my iroast2 self-destructed. So now I am scrambling with in research mode, trying to identify the best options for my current roasting needs. Uugh!

Gobs said...

Sorry to hear about that. So the iroast does have a weak spot or flaw.....it conks out when it hears the title "Home Roaster in da house". I guess it can't handle the stress of what's to come.

Probat? ;-)

Shaun Taylor said...

Haha, yeah, it was kind of ironic that it folded under the pressure.

Have my eye on the Genecafe, or sometimes called the Gene Cafe. I would consider the Probat but couldn't find one for $27.00 and free install. ;-)