So after digitizing my thoughts about roasting your own coffee instead of purchasing it online, I’ve done the opposite the past month. See, we had to pack up the roaster during our move (oh yeah, we’re moving houses), so I couldn’t do it. Yes, this makes me a hypocrite and you should probably feel better about yourself because you’re not me. Aren’t you so smart.
Turns out, professional roasters really know what they’re doing. Who woulda thought that passionately working on your craft each day would make you better than the guy who passionately works for fifteen minutes or so a week. Plus having a coffee roaster that didn’t start out it’s life as a Ronco Rotisserie Chicken Roaster helps. In any case, the beans I’ve been getting the past month have been better in most every way. In a strange way this is a very good thing.
Now I know where I need to improve and where I’m doing well. I am getting good green beans, and this is a great start. Some of the professionally roasted beans clearly start out as good, but not great, greens. You can tell in the cup since they don’t absolutely sing, and since the roaster isn’t crowing about all the specifics of where the coffee comes from. Other times I have been able to tell because they actually say it’s from a large farm (such as La Minita in Costa Rica). These coffees are good, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t hold a candle to the great coffees I’ve been getting from places like PT’s Coffee and Terroir. My roasts don’t come close either.
I definitely can improve in my roast stability. That is, after the roast I find way too much variance between the beans in roast level, at least visually. It might be interesting to split up a batch into lighter and darker tones after roasting to see if there’s really a difference in taste. I imagine most of this variance is due to not having a slot-loading roaster. In order to load the beans into the roaster it must be cool (or at least it takes so long to load the beans it is cool by the time they are loaded). Since the roaster is starting from a low temp it is my hope that getting a slot-loading roaster will fix the variance I’m seeing.
In all this has been a very tasteful and insightful month. Oh, and I’m getting coffee from Square Mile next. Jealous?