Roasting competition update - the geeky stuff


Roasting competition update - the geeky stuff

It's now 4 days since my delivery of this Honduran competition coffee was delivered and I roasted the first three batches. I approached these first three with an intention of keeping certain variables constant (the charge and the drop) and simply varying how long it took to get there by either adjusting the amount of soak or the power.

Orange 🍊FC @ 7’12/187C, Drop @ 8’12/195, FC+ 1’00, soak 1'20"
Red 🍓 7’24/187, 8’36/195, FC+ 1'12 , soak 20"
Yellow 🍋 7’54/187, 8’57/195, FC+ 1’03, soak 1'40"
Major difference in the overall time between them was the duration of soak. 1’40” for Yellow which of course meant the power was on for a similar amount of time to Orange. Not particulary smart. Red had a short soak (20’) and only 60% power until just through drying (150C), whereas Orange and Yellow were both 70% power and only differed by the soak.
The 3 initial test profiles were bagged up and sent to a number of coffee friends I respect (and who aren't conflicted) for their valued and critical feedback. Most of these folk spend (or have spent) way longer than I have in front of a hot rotating oven and who better to ask than some top industry professionals.

I've had incredibly generous feedback so far with a consensus that there must be more to get from this 87.5 scoring coffee which on first impression is good but not full of funky fruit and lacking the properties you'd expect from a coffee scored (by the importers Falcon 87.5)

Over the 4 days one of the batches has ‘opened up’ a little and is starting to show some fruit sweetness. Today I got mango and butterscotch with my normal BestMax Premium filtered water. That’s good but to give us all a fair chance they will be cupping this with Volvic mineral water since everyone can get access to it. The difference in the cup is dramatic and Volvic is giving a dry powdery finish to all the coffees which is making that butterscotch go all Bourbon biscuit like. 

The consensus from my pro-panel  is that RED has more potential .."there’s something in there but it needs a bit of coaxing".

Based on the feedback from others and my own cupping I roasted 3 more batches yesterday and tried to slow the maillard down by dropping the power early, increasing dev and drop temp. ie aiming for closer to 1'30 development and increasing the drop temp to 197C to allow more time for the reducing sugars and other reactions to take place. The danger with this of course is that those sugars could easily overpower the delicate fruit flavours that 'I think/hope' exist.

Unfortunately they weren't my best 3 roasts. One of the 3 was a decent looking profile which I controlled nice a smoothly though First Crack (FC) . The other two I expect to taste rubbish since I lost control after FC and there were flicks and dips and runaways etc. In roasters parlance 'I stuffed them up' !

Stephen from Bailles Coffee in Belfast gave me some really detailed and useful suggestions about how he would proceed given the cupping results of these first 3 batches. He's suggested slowing the roast with a lower charge (rather than a long soak or less power) and keeping the development light (ie 1’15-1’20) but the overall time increased . ie maybe aim for 9’ - 9’15 overall with a 1’15-1’20” dev (try and hit FC at 8’00).

That's tomorrow's roast plan.

I’ll keep all the batches and continue testing them over the next week or so. Try and see what opens up and decide if I’m anywhere close.

My personal professional tasting panel (aka the big hitters):
Andrew Tucker (Colonna Coffee)
Stephen Houston (Bailles Coffee)
Freda Yuan (Raw Material)
Will Little (Roastworks)
William Heenan (It all Started Here)
Joel Simpson (Ild og Bonner, Norway)
Tom (Crafthouse Coffee)
Kane Statton (Nude Coffee roasters)
Zoltan (Poland)
Harley and Chris (Outpost Coffee)

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