Monday, April 28, 2008

back to the drawing board

well... I haven't been roasting as much as I'd like to recently mostly due to work commitments, so it comes as no surprise to me then to learn that some of my recent roasts have been, well, less-than-perfect

as a mater of fact I've been pulling my roasts early recently in an effort to avoid burning them, when in fact most needed a good couple of minutes longer to reach rolling second crack

this is what happens when you roast sporadically - you take your eye off the ball, then it takes some practice to get it all happening good again

I think I got it right with some Datera beans last night, though - I roasted these for 18mins at 235C, and they looked and smelled great when I pulled the roast

In fact, the whole house smelt amazing, and going to sleep with the alluring aroma of freshly roasted coffee lingering in the air is a fantasy dream come true for a died-in-the-wool barista / roaster like me!

I also popped my roasting temperature up marginally from the usual 230C to 235C about half way through the roast, as I noticed that the Gene Cafe was struggling a bit to maintain optimum temperature, probably due to the chilly 15C temp in my freezing kitchen!

So it's onward and upward with my roasts from here on in!

At least I've got a backlog of about 5kg of green beans to work through - being equal amounts of Columbian Peaberry, and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe; so that should keep me busy for awhile, and I should have plenty of time to get the roast profiles right for each of these, as i have plenty of product to work with

Will keep you posted on my progress...

On a bright and cheerful note: new store is going great guns and it was our busiest coffee day today and we kicked some serious butt! I suppose it helps that it was only about 12C outside - which means that everyone was drinking coffee or hot chocolate - and for some strange reason we are selling heaps more 16oz coffees here than any store that I have ever operated or worked in: I mean 7 or 8 large coffees in a row at a time?

What's going on with that?

I put it down to all those industrious education (teaching) students located in the adjacent building - what with their teaching rounds and classes all crammed together and all

We also got our large (1.5m diameter?) signage outside today, which I'm sure helps to attract some passing interest

I'm certain that the uni will say something about 'not approved signage' and 'not going through the proper channels' to put it up - which is why its up high and on hooks so we can bring it in at night!

Still... with the commercial rent that we're paying - you can't really blame a guy for advertising, can you?


Saturday, April 19, 2008

so long and thanks for all the yirgacheffe!

Well actually this blog should probably read: "Hello! And thanks for all the Yirgacheffe!"

As I made myself a double ristretto with some packaged Yemen Ismaili beans (long considered to be the premium Mocha coffee) yesterday - but the coffee was stale - and it left a bitter taste in my mouth!

So I thought I had better do something about this post haste, so I whipped out some Ethiopian Yirgacheffee beans which I'd roasted 6 days ago (at 230C for 15 min in my Gene Cafe home roaster. I pulled the roast at fist sign of second crack and rolling second crack became established about 2 1/2 min into the 'cooling down' cycle) - and whacked them in the Mazzer Major

How can I describe the taste sensation and still do it justice?

I took a good long sniff of my short-poured espresso and loved what I found there!

To me the Yirgie exhibited lovely lifted lemon-scented and floral aromas, with the predominant impression on the nose being that of lemon merange, crossed with a Portuguese custard tart!

Although my wife (who is a far better cook than I am but I'm still not bad and I'm particularly good with the seasoning) suggested that Pavlova was the predominant feature on the nose - and she should know as she has a wonderfully gifted palate for a non-coffee drinker (don't ask)

Whatever you want to call it - these wonderful citrus and custard characters followed through on the palate, and I could still taste the remnants of the coffee an hour or so later as we walked along Hampton beach

All in all the lovely Yirgie espresso completely obliterated my previous disappointing coffee experience - which is just as well... as we all know that a good coffee can make your day but a poor one can ruin it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

compak k10

Well... it's finally here! My new Compak K10 WBC Silencio grinder (thanks to Chris from Talk coffee)

I can't begin to tell you how much these amazing grinders have revolutionized my coffee making technique!

The K10 purrs like a kitten when it is in motion, which makes a nice change from the loud 'ack, ack, ack' sound of some of the equipment I've worked on in the past!

An additional bonus is that the ergonomics of these machines are very smooth indeed. Whether you're making 80 or 800 coffees a day, the grinder has no problem keeping up - and its very smooth dosing action, and easy-to-use rocker switch (for on / off grind-on-demand), provide a fluid dosing motion which eases strain on wary limbs!

But pehaps best of all is that these grinders have a clean sweeping motion in the dosing chamber, and they produce a very even dose, regardless of how much coffee is in the chamber

This takes a lot of the guess work out of dosing, which is important especially when you're busy, it also means that there is much greater consistency in the coffees, which is important especially if there is more than one person working the machine

Remind me and I'll take some photo's and post them up

Although, it's almost pornographic how well this machine performs, and don't be surprised if you start dreaming of them at night after using one!