HomeRoast Digest

Topic: What Coffee Has Taught Me So Far (5 msgs / 163 lines)
1) From: Jeff Anderson
...or, "How I Got Here, and Where I Am Now".
In an offline post, someone asked me what coffees I've tried, what I'm 
doing now, etc. This is my answer (most of it anyway). He suggested I 
post this to the group so everyone could get to know me a little better, 
so here it is:
"I've been interested in coffee for a long time. But no matter what I 
tried, it always seemed something was lacking. I'd buy a pound of "fresh 
roasted" beans at the local roaster, and sometimes the first day or so 
it was really, really good. After that it went into a steep decline, and 
I always ended up disappointed again. The last half of the bag was just 
"blah." I didn't have any idea that it went stale so fast, so when I 
bought a pound that had been sitting there for a few days, after a 
couple more at home it took a nose dive. Finally, finally I know why! It 
simply isn't fresh enough, and most likely the quality of the beans 
doesn't begin to approach what Tom offers by a long shot. And I sure 
never imagined that I could roast it myself. I stumbled across it purely 
by accident, poking around the internet.
I've gone through one 8-pack sampler, and right now, I'm working on 
second order. It's eight one-pound bags that I picked out myself. I got 
two for every major growing region. So far all I've done is soak it all 
in. It's kind of funny. I'll drink a roast one day, and say "wow, that's 
great! I should order 5 pounds of that!" The next day I'll drink the 
very same roast, and say "hmmm....great coffee, but I'm really glad I 
didn't jump the gun and order 5 pounds of it." So at this particular 
time in my adventure, I'm still stumbling around blindly. It would be 
interesting to note how my tastes are changing from one day to the next, 
give them the "grade of the day", and see where that goes. That could be 
very educational and productive. I'll do it for sure. Thanks for the tip.
So far I really like the African and Indonesian coffees, especially the 
Harrar Horse (sp?) and Sumatra. I think maybe it's because they're so 
different than what I'm used to, and I suspect that it might change over 
time as I get used to them. I really love the Columbian. How could you 
ever go wrong with that! It's so rich, and full, and comforting, like 
coming home after a log trip. The Brazilian coffee I have now is good, 
too. At a Full City+.it reminds me a lot of the Columbian, but it's not 
as rich. Lighter roasts of it just don't get it for me.. I don't 
particularly care for the Mexican coffees. I've tried two of them so 
far. They're on my "maybe with a blend, or a better roast, when I get 
around to it" list. I haven't given anything less than a "C" yet, but 
they are definitely a "C".
As far as blending in general goes, I think I've got a long way to go to 
take it seriously.  I now think there's something that can be learned 
from playing around with it a little from time to time. When I get a 
little more experience (and a lot more organized), I want to try 
blending by cupping. That makes the most sense to me. Roast up a few 
coffees you're really familiar with, or several different roasts of the 
same coffee. Brew them, and then start tasting, a little of this, a 
little of that, until you get a hit. It would sure save a lot of coffee 
to do it a teaspoon at a time, rather than a whole cup at a time. It's 
so iffy I think that's probably a big waste. I've read a little about 
it. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
What went wrong with the coffee in question? First of all, at City+ or 
Full City, this Kenya Peaberry is the most unique coffee I've ever 
tasted, with a fascinating complexity and a blast of intensity. It's so 
bright and fruity it seems to leap out of the cup at me. The first batch 
just blew me away. I don't think I'd want to drink it on a daily basis, 
but boy is it ever unique, and the most interesting coffee I've tried so 
far.. I roasted up a second batch, and thought I got it just right. But 
when I went to make a cup, I found out that I had gotten it a little too 
dark. It didn't look like it at first, but after resting a couple of 
days, it became a little oily, just like the light Vienna roast looks 
like in the pictures at SM's. I had read that most single origin coffees 
lose their single origin qualities at Vienna and beyond, and sure 
enough, this one did. The minute it hit my lips I said to myself "well 
this is exactly what Tom said...a Vienna roast will most often obscure 
the single origin qualities." The burst of fruits and blast of intense 
flavors just wasn't there anymore.
It wasn't ruined by any stretch of the imagination. And after tasting it 
a second and third time, it's actually a good Vienna roast, and a very 
enjoyable experience. But at the moment, I was so looking forward to the 
unique experience of the lighter roast, that overwhelming blast, I was 
very disappointed. I knew it was still good coffee, and I didn't want to 
just pitch it, and I'm so isolated these days there's just nobody to 
give it to. and then it hit me..."maybe I can blend it!" But blend it 
with what?"
Well that's what he suggested I post, so there it is. That last question 
has been answered far more than adequately, and I thank everyone very 
much for all the great feedback and the many kind words, thoughts, and 
suggestions (and for putting up with me!). I look forward to sharing a 
great adventure with you, and to learning a great deal more.

2) From: Dave Kvindlog
GREAT post, Jeff!
I'm about where you are in terms of experience and learning.  Using a hot
air popper so far.  I also did the 8-pack sampler after roasting a few
varieties provided by another local home roaster who also posts here.  I'm
also inding that I love some and others are so-so for my tastes.  But that's
the nice thing about samplers.
I lurked here for a long time, shy and wanting to learn.  Then tried to
apply what I learned.  As a result, I've experienced the amazing difference
a roast makes: taking the same bean at two different roasts brings out
completely different flavors.  I've learned the amount of rest a roast needs
varies by variety, and that a roast's character will change dramatically
over time --especially in the first few days.  I've also learned that after
getting a quality bean and roasting it properly, the best thing I can do for
the quality of my coffee is to use a good quality burr grinder and french
press.  I've tried each of these variables separately from the others and
find that each provides a quantum step improvement to my brew.
Thanks for sharing your learning experience with us.  I have a lot to learn,
but this is the most fun (and delicious!) hobby I've ever tried.  I think I
now qualify for the CSA.  I won't drink much else anymore...
Best regards and good luck with your roasts,
On 9/28/07, Jeff Anderson  wrote:

3) From: Eddie Dove
Excellent post, a great read.
I do hope you will continue to share you coffee experiences.  This is,
after all, a coffee list and we love to share in the coffee
experiences of other, and help whenever we can.
Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est
Roasting Blog and Profiles for the Gene Cafehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/

4) From: Robert Gulley
Nice post - thanks for sharing with us. I too find myself leaning 
toward the Sumatra and the Harar. My most questionable roasting is 
with the Kenyas - I think I have over-roasted them and lost some of 
the complexity. My next Kenya roast will be no more than city + if 
all turns out well. I too am new to this, but loving every minute of it!
At 05:07 PM 9/28/2007, you wrote:

5) From: Larry Johnson
Excellent posts. It's a fascinating hobby/obsession and just on more way for
us to enjoy our brief time on the planet.
On 9/28/07, Robert Gulley <2bopen4all> wrote:
Larry J

HomeRoast Digest