Thoughts of a Coffee Roaster
Our Coffee Director, Instaurator, is a keen social media commentator in the world of coffee. As well as being the author of 'The Espresso Quest' he is also a contributor to several industry publications which are featured here in his blog.
20 February 2018
It was only 4 weeks ago I was given the news that I would be travelling to Brazil for the inaugural running of the Brazil Distinctive Cup Competition - 2017/18 harvest, collaborated by BSCA, ACE and Apex-Brazil. The coffee cupping and auction was to be held at Casa Camolese at the Botanical Gardens, Rio de Janeiro.
30 March 2016
Here are our great friends the Faulkner family featured on The Project Channel 10. It’s a privilege knowing them. Check it out here: http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project/extra/season-7/huntington-s-disease
23 February 2016
While visiting a winery in Africa recently, I learnt that in wine, the thickness and colour of the grape skin directly affects the flavour of the wine. This got me thinking as to whether there be any parallels here with coffee. After bouncing this off one of my colleagues, he referred me to OCR (Operation Cherry Red) where certain coffee wet mills only accept red cherries for high quality batches. In doing this and by regulating the drying and consequent fermentation, a consistent profile highlighting a sweet, strawberry flavour is the result. Finding information or evidence on people measuring the thickness of the coffee fruit’s skin was harder. The point was also raised as to whether it is the outer layer of the cherry that affects the sweetness or is it that the inner parchment layer acting as a block, or maybe both?
20 August 2015
After returning from the New Zealand coffee awards last year where, with a panel of over a dozen tasters, we evaluated over three hundred coffees in two days. It is always a daunting task to try and do justice to so many roasters' coffees in so few days.
25 March 2015
In cuisine, roasting and baking are both dry-heat cooking methods. These cooking techniques use hot air to transfer heat. Both methods brown the exterior of food, adding delicious flavour – think crispy chicken skin and crusty bread. Roasting used to signify food cooked over an open flame, such as an outdoor rotating spit-roast. Today, roasting at home is usually done in an oven. This makes the difference between roasting and baking a bit confusing, when the same oven can both roast a chicken and bake a cake.
16 February 2015
Walking down any busy street in Australia, it’s commonplace to see more than one cafe within a 100-metre radius. Typically, one of those cafes will attract a few passersby and staple regulars. The other will have customers pouring onto the footpath who are more than happy to wait the extra 15 minutes for a table. Even when cafes use exactly the same coffee, some will inevitably do better than others. So what is it that the modern-day consumer responds to?
27 November 2014
Back when I used to train baristas (about 15 years ago) it was difficult to avoid overwhelming newcomers with the complexities of espresso extraction. We definitely spent more time training them on the intricacies of extraction than we did on how to texture milk. Most new baristas seemed to be more interested, however, in improving their milk texturing skills than in coming to grips with the seemingly endless variables of espresso extraction.
1 April 2014
Wine culture (viticulture) is much older than coffee culture. The first written record of the cultivation of grapes to produce wine concerns Noah of the Ark fame. This is reputed to be about 2500 BC, or about half a millennium before Abraham. That's a long time ago, whichever way you look at it. The myth about Kaldi the goatherd seeing his goats consume coffee berries is at best about 1000 AD, which is still a long time ago. But the reality is that viticulture is a lot older than coffee culture: about three and a half millennia older!
5 February 2014
In the past five or six years, the approach to espresso extraction has progressed enormously, and has been taken to extremes at all ends of various spectrums.
1 December 2013
Over the past five years or so, a new breed of coffee consumers has been surfacing in Australia. They are savvy, almost professional consumers: 'prosumers'. They are well informed and have their own palate to guide them in what they like. Armed with online rating apps, they pursue their favorite coffees, cafes and baristas. They are increasingly discriminating. They see coffee as being cool.
1 October 2013
In a previous BeanScene article, I mentioned that there is no barrier to entry for coffee roasting. That anyone who can turn green stuff into brown stuff can call themselves a roaster. But the reality is, being a good roaster is a bit trickier than that.
16 July 2013
Back in the late 1970's around the time Specialty Coffee began as a movement, in and in order to distinguish specialty coffee from big mainstream institutional roasters, acidity stood out as a main distinguishing point of difference. A really ordinary mainstream coffee tasted flat and dull and was ironically very lightly roasted to maximize yield and profitability. A 'special' or specialty coffee was different because it was more lively and had vibrant acidity. From this time onwards acidity was included as a point of difference on Specialty cupping sheets to help define specialty coffee. Interestingly sweetness wasn't valued separately at all on specialty cupping sheets at this time.