Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Making of a Master Roast

What is a "Master" roast? Or Artisanal roast? To some coffee companies it simply means they take a single-origin coffee and take care to find the optimal roast level for it (to their tastes) and perhaps are super-selective on the bean size and quality. We feel they should do this for every roast!

For us, a Master Roast should give the consumer something they can't normally get. So, we start with a single-origin base that we really love, then add 1-2 "balancing" coffees to create what we feel is a perfect blend guaranteed to tickle every palate, not just coffee drinkers who happen to hit the button with the single-origin base coffee alone. In this case we were eager to try all three of our super-special Robustas in one blend.

Then, unlike standard roasting practice, we roast each of these three coffees at its own peak level, testing to find the right level for each... and then we put them together after the roast.

Master Roast Robusta Dream

This month we are featuring "Robusta Dream". Robusta appeals mostly to people who are "back-palate" oriented, who like low acidity, high body/crema, and good persistence in the memory (retention). Because low-altitude Robustas get a bad rap from people who are not really coffee experts, there are extremely few good Robustas on the market and not one Robusta blend that we know of. But we love being first!

So, we roasted the beans together in the ratio we wanted - 50% Vietnamese screen 16, 25% Peaberry Dalat, and 25% Bantai super-high altitude Robusta. Then we poured out the beans and see how that temperature point treated each type. Note in the picture that the peaberry (round, unsplit beans) look burnt, while the other sources were two different shades of medium roast. We theorized that the higher sugar content of the Peaberry was causing a burnt sugar effect.

Next we brewed two lots, one run a little darker than the other, which actually gives us 6 points of reference. We definitely preferred the lighter of the two roasts, where more of the creamy, buttery mouthfeel of the Robusta was better preserved, and the overall taste had more dimensional appeal. The darker roast seemed a little "flat".

So, by comparing the three color levels and the taste profiles, we determined that it would be good to roast the Peaberry at 15 degrees less, and the other two should be 5 degrees apart (+10, +15) to achieve the best taste on this blend. The result: Robusta Dream. A coffee even the non-Robusta fans really loved. We hope you enjoy this recap of our Robusta Dream Master Roast coffee for this month!

Click here to shop for this coffee on our Exclusive Offers page.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NEW - Guatemalan Antigua blend

While visiting a coffee expo in New York we made the acquaintance of people from a wonderful organization working in Guatemala to provide a market for indigenous items, including coffee, jewelry, clothes and crafts.
Antigua Highlands

They have created a select blend of coffee from three different regions, primarily Antigua, with a Bourbon Arabica base (they had us at "Bourbon"!). This coffee has all the plusses - it's certified organic, super-high-altitude, shade-grown, sun-dried, direct trade, charitable... and has amazingly rich taste. It's another Latin American coffee we have found that is so smooth and delicious that we are drinking it black or with cream because it just doesn't need to be sweetened (but it plays well with sugar if you want!).

We are roasting this coffee a little lighter than our standard Full City, it's a bona fide Medium Roast. It's also available green (unroasted) and is a great coffee for a beginning home roaster because it is very forgiving and has several optimal roast points. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Read more here.