Monday, June 20, 2016

Putting You on Roast (3)

One of these past weeks we visited Sandy Coffee Roasters & got a tour of their production site. I’ve been looking into getting into the roasting business, so this was especially fascinating to me. There are so many different aspects to it that change the characteristics of coffee invariably, so it was interesting to see in person, what creates the brown beans that we grind & drink. 

First, Sandy had to get the beans from a farmer, & they sourced from 9 different places. Then, they would roast the beans in certain amounts at a time to get an even roast. All of their coffees were blends, but instead of mixing & then roasting, they roasted the single origins & THEN mixed, so that the beans were all roasted appropriately. If they had mixed & then roasted, the beans could have either been burnt some places, or under-roasted in others because different origins roast differently. They had a “secret recipe” for all of their blends, because their recipes were what set them apart from other coffee roasters. Lastly, they packaged their roasted product & let the beans set for a couple weeks before shipping them out, which they claimed made the beans better to drink, but the roaster that the coffee shop I work for back home, disagrees. Amaya Roasting in Houston roasts the beans & sends them out the day of for consumption. According to a lot of researchers / websites I have visited, coffee is best consumed right after 8-24 hours and up until 1.5-2 weeks.

Sandy Roasting was an incredible experience & I even got taught how to make and authentic Italian cappuccino & taste Robusta coffee (10/10 would not advise) but I do have one qualm. All of their coffee is blended, which makes sense because they are a pretty big producer & they “need” to have a uniform taste to their beans, which is similar to how Starbucks burns their beans to also have a uniform taste, but I think personally that blends take away from the character of the coffee, just like burning the beans does. Coffee is dynamic, & it’s hints change with 
the origin, 
the wet / dry processes, 
the roasting,
the shelf life,
the barista.

It’s a product, that in my opinion, isn’t meant to be uniform & that is part of the beauty behind it, the art behind it. It changes depending on where you are. What I find most fascinating is how the origin of the coffee so vastly changes the product, which is why I so strongly believe that single origin coffee is the way to go. You don’t take Michelangelo’s art work & glue Klimt’s golden work onto it, just like you don’t take one farmer’s lively hood, his creation, his individual work of art, & blend it into someone else’s. 

It’s so important that coffee not be uniform, because then it starts to be dependable. Art isn’t dependable, it’s constantly changing, it’s exciting. & coffee, in my opinion, is art. 

From a large scale production stand point, I do understand the current need of uniformity, because some people want their coffee to taste a certain way. However, I really admire the producers like Amaya Roasting that, regardless of their size, make their coffee personal & not only that, they show the consumer who grew their coffee, by putting the farmer's name on the bag.


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