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The Coffee Roaster's Companion

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  • #16
    Quote - Regarding Scott's book, keep in mind the qualifying quote ” focusing on “light-to-medium roasting of specialty coffee processed in a batch drum roaster in 8-16 minutes.”

    Yelta is correct in that statement is made, however having just received a copy and had a good read through it, probably more correct is that it focuses on first crack plus development and stays away from second crack roasting styles, from a commercial thinking very few roasters even get close to 2nd anymore. I know that is different for some home roasters though. The book never advocates super light roasts and states in the first few pages that cinnamon roasts are undesirable to most people.

    It isn't a bad read, a lot of good information all in one place as stated in an earlier post, ground braking stuff, No but it will remind you to look at the importance of every moment of the roasting process and offers some solid foundation knowledge, combined with some good bean chemistry knowledge, then add a strong understanding of your particular choice of equipment and it will all help you move your understanding of the roasting process and your skill set to another level.

    The book is predominately directed to commercial drum type roasting but sure it can equate to all roasting styles. I'm happy with what I read and a handy resource to help keep on track when combined with all my other roasting reading.




    • #17
      Originally posted by cosmic_couple22 View Post
      "... from a commercial thinking very few roasters even get close to 2nd anymore."
      On an absolute tonnage basis I would have to disagree with the above statement. I think you will find that most of the big boys still happily take their roasts to 2nd and beyond


      • #18
        I think you might be right Vinitasse.


        • #19
          Originally posted by cosmic_couple22 View Post
          Quote - Regarding Scott's book, keep in mind the qualifying quote ” focusing on “light-to-medium roasting of specialty coffee processed in a batch drum roaster in 8-16 minutes.”..............from a commercial thinking very few roasters even get close to 2nd anymore.........Chester
          "Medium" is very relevant for most commercial roasters in Australia as it generally refers to that cinnamon colour that is found in NORTHERN Italian style espresso roasts. The quote is VERY broad....light to medium.....8 to 16 minutes....very broad, so I wouldnt look into it as saying anything specific about anything.

          And of course, I wouldnt read too much into what you read on the www about what "commercial" roasters are doing. Real commercial roasters dont say much.

          Regardless, sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.


          • #20
            Originally posted by Vinitasse View Post
            On an absolute tonnage basis I would have to disagree with the above statement. I think you will find that most of the big boys still happily take their roasts to 2nd and beyond
            Sorry Vinitasse I should have said "specialty coffee roasters", I agree the biggest players still in that 2nd crack realm.


            • #21
              With respect to the whole lighter 3rd wave roasting profiles versus the more established (old school?) second crack darker roasts I can certainly appreciate the ideal behind the lighter roasts... the retention of varietal character and terroir notes. However, while the concept is a noble one, I do feel that as quaint as the idea is, it simply does not work in the predominantly milk driven world of espresso based coffees that defines the VAST majority of serious coffee consumed here in Australia. The acidity of these lighter roasts simply does not work with milk and it takes a more developed roast profile to soften up the coffee enough to be truly complimentary to the milk it is most often served with. To use a wine analogy (occupational hazard for me I'm afraid) Beaujolais' Vin Nouveau could be considered the "light roast" of the wine world. These wines are released for consumption as soon as primary fermentation has completed and there is no question that they exude varietal character in spades!!! To put it simply... they taste like grapes. However, most of us have come to expect more from the wines that we enjoy and rather than drinking fermented grape juice, we prefer to drink wine... wine that is the net result of allowing grape juice to fully develop into wine. Open vat wild yeast ferments, full malo, lees stirring, extensive barrel maturation, etc... all help such wines to build character, body and complexity and I can promise you that ten years down the road you will have long forgotten the Vin Nouveaus of the world but those fully developed blockbusters you have encountered along the way will stick with you forever. I definitely know which I prefer to drink and the same goes for my coffee.


              • #22
                Yes its important to think as clearly as possible about all this stuff because it is easy to get the wrong impression for lots of stuff written on the www. Particularly because a lot of stuff in coffee forums is not directed at the area in Australia where most of the coffee is consumed, which is the cafe market where regular northern italian style espresso is the product of choice.

                So if a few people in forums say that pithy 5 ml espressos are the go, when others read that they have to be able to interpret it correctly (which is in general terms that it actually ISNT the go at all...just in some small circles...unfortunately it is easy to gain the wrong impression).

                For the rest of it. Take care with generalisations such as the term "commercial roasters". Everyone that roasts coffee and sells it for a profit is a commercial roaster. Anyone that is serious about their business and their livelihood is competing in the greater market and trying to grow, because without growth your business goes nowhere (unless of course it falls under the classification of "hobby" roaster....).

                Also I ask, what does the term specialty coffee roaster mean? It's been argued around the traps from time to time, but in real terms I put it to you that it means small business roasters. And its a funny thing that a lot of people that buy small roasting machines and start roasting are to the contrary, not very experienced in the field (so a contradiction to the term "special" or "specialty").

                Also people seem to forget that coffee roasting is a profession and a business, whether it is deemed to be specialty, or novice, or large or small or whatever. You could be the best coffee roaster in the world but if you cant run a coffee roasting business properly (based on your coffee roasting) to win clients, what have you achieved in the greater scheme of things?

                There are big boys and there are little boys but they are all commerfcial roasters, competing with eachother, trying to steal clientelle off eachother by whatever means possible and playing musical customers, year in and year out. Some choose to differentiate themselves from others by using the "specialty coffee" or "specialty roasting" thing to their advantage. That's usually when the size of the business is small. As the business grows, for some reason the market dictates that you have "sold out" and are going over to the big bad "commodity" side of things.....

                There is a lot to coffee roasting, and a great deal of it has to do with business models and plans. Real quality is a just a small part of it and often it is the "perceived quality" of a brand that is used for market differentiation. What is really in the bag doesnt necessarily matter, and most often the price of the bag and whatever a client can screw out of a supplier is the real lowest common denominator that in the end wins over a client and is a reflection of the "quality" that is presented to the coffee drinking public.

                As a conclusion I would like to share with you what always seems to happen atleast once during any visit to a coffee expo here in Oz. You stop to look at a stand. While you are trying to determine what the standholders are really "selling", the hipster behind the machine engages you in a one sided conversation about how fantastic his coffee is. He virtually forces you to try one of these coffees, which happens to be a very lightly roasted high grown highly acidic single origin from some farm with a very romantic name, that he puts through his espresso machine to produce a 5 to 10 ml "espresso", hands it over to you, watches you cup it, and follows up with "isnt it fantastic?".

                At once this shows that the standholder doesnt understand
                a) where the greatest majority of the business in coffee industry comes from
                b) that their style of roast does not suit espresso
                c) that their style of roast doesnt suit the majority of cafe business
                d) that their "espresso" was not an espresso
                e) that this style of coffee would have been better brewed (and therefore much better appreciated) by some method other than espresso
                e) that by continually harping on SO's they are losing the expertise required to blend coffees

                Is this "specialty coffee" or "specialty coffee roasting", or just what a small section of the industry would like you to believe in order to draw market to their business? The www helps this scenario along...

                I've digressed. This book sounds like an interesting read, and I urge people to read it with eyes open.


                • #23
                  What's in a name??

                  Lot's by the look of things. Since my transition from wine grape production to commercial coffee roasting I have seen

                  some parallels in how words are used to influence how the consumer market thinks.

                  It was during my time growing grapes that the word 'premium' gained and then lost it's currency. Now it's a common word seen

                  even on cask wine; it has become just a marketing term and does not relate to quality at all.

                  Is the same happening with the word 'specialty' in the coffee market?

                  The term 'specialty coffee' was coined ( in 1974 by Erna Knutsen) to differentiate a quality of green bean from the general coffee bean commodity trade and to create

                  a market for these beans. They are normally high quality, well sorted and clean, have provenance (ability to trace back to source),

                  shipped in grain pro, or similar, to preserve quality, do not ship via Hamburg but more directly and generally arrive at the end

                  market fresh and, for the most part, are worth drinking.

                  But does that necessarily give the roaster who purchases such coffee the right to call themselves a 'Specialty Roaster', giving a slight twist

                  to the term 'specialty coffee' that transfers to the roaster and in doing so promote themselves incorrectly to their market?

                  I for one don't call myself a 'Specialty Roaster' (even tho' I purchase in the Specialty Coffee market)........ boutique? maybe;

                  micro? maybe; small? nah.... doesn't sound good.

                  Specialty Coffee is not the property of roasters who are clustered in and around city CBD's and who seek to elevate themselves

                  with terms like 'new wave', 'third wave' or 'specialty', nor do most roasters who roast on gear of less than 20kg capacity cater

                  to the (mostly) inner city market.


                  • #24
                    I roast on my hottop and make my brother pay for the greens. Does that make me a Micro Roaster?


                    • #25
                      Slightly strange question- I am wanting to know the size/weight of this book. I have asked a friend to bring a copy to me (in Cambodia) but said friend has luggage restrictions. Any rough guess would be great, no need to bust out the calipers. Thanks


                      • #26
                        26 x 19 x 1.3 cm
                        552 grams


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by ASchecter View Post
                          26 x 19 x 1.3 cm
                          552 grams
                          Thanks for your help


                          • #28
                            Just received my copy today. Am very much a newbie roaster having only done around 30-40 x 250g roasts in the Behmor plus since early June. My current roasting knowledge comprises solely of internet research and speaking to the occasional commercial roaster so I'm looking forward to seeing how/if I can improve what ends up in the cup.


                            • #29
                              I've been struggling with wording feedback on my impressions of the book.

                              I'll wait til you've read it zz....... Looking forward to hearing what you think.


                              • #30
                                It really is geared towards the drum roasters and as some already mentioned is biased towards lighter roasts. It gives insight into some set rules that Scott Rao lives by when roasting but also acknowledges that they are only recommendations as there are really no hard and fast rules to roasting (although some fundamentals apply). it's a good reference and it confirmed a few things for me that I'm on the right track with my drum roaster . Is it worth the $$ ? that is for the individual to assess. Has it drastically improved my I feel a little more confident in what I am already doing.