Tuesday, October 23, 2007

pass the sugar

i see it all the time. i saw it today. you taste coffee--supposedly good pedigree stuff--that tastes like it was stir-fried instead of roasted. quick and hot instead of done carefully like the slow food movement would dictate. seems people are going for cocoa and caramel instead of honey and fruit and are all up in a hurry to get there. and in their mad dash to the finish line they leave a lot of sweetness on the table. people want to attack density and moisture with fast heat, the end result of which is only a shadow, an outline, a facsimile of a glimpse of what that bean could tell you if you only took your time drying appropriately and finding a sane profile that actually made sense.

roasts may look even enough but the visual is not the only empirical tool the careful roaster has in his toolbox. sometimes it takes common sense, a sheet of paper and a trusty pencil. and common sense says taste what you've made and capture some notes and try to figure out if it's what you want, and if not, why not? i honestly think some roasters must never actually taste what comes out of their machines, or they don't know how to isolate the mistakes they've made, or don't have a clue how to defeat them. and i'm not saying i've achieved all wisdom and knowledge in this respect--cause the good Lord knows i've made just about every roasting misstep that can be made--but please, people. take some pride in what you put your name to. if it's crap, can you take it to decent? if it's decent, can you get it to pretty good? if it's pretty good can you step up your game and shoot for noteworthy? if it's solidly good can you force yourself through patience, practice and persistence to pull yourself up into the level approaching excellent the majority of the time? no one production roasting manually will roast perfectly one hundred percent of the time. life happens and simply gets in the way of that. but if you can consistently produce mediocre stuff at least try to consistently produce fine coffees roasted watchfully in a way that respects the labors of the good folks who toiled all year to get it into your hands.

try this one on for size when tooling with a new roast for profile (heh!):
people just seem bent on going for "roastiness" and forcing the sugars out of the equation, which only forces the customer to feel the need to add sugar after the fact.

anyways, just my thought/rant for the day

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At Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, Anonymous BirdBarista said...

Crap, decent, pretty good, noteworthy, solidly good, approaching excellence. Hmm. Those might be better than motmots.

Along the same lines, I've had, say, a full city from the same roaster in three bags (received at the same time), all of which were obviously different colors, even to my untrained eye. I expect "full city" or whatever to look different between different roasters, but not the same dude at the same time.

At Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, Blogger blanco said...

I was hoping the snazzy diagram I posted up there would distract anyone from actually posting pertinent comments!

You have my blessing to switch to my "rating system." :)


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