Talking about Roasting at Cuptoberfest 

(10/24/13)

One of the most rewarding parts of Cuptoberfest for me was the second round of cupping and discussion that we did where we cupped coffees that were brought by the attendees. I firmly believe that there is tremendous value in other roasters tasting your coffees and sharing theirs, and then having open discussion around everyones’ impressions of the coffees and what each roaster is attempting to do with that coffee and whether or not they were successful. I cannot say thank you enough to all the roasters who attended and so openly and graciously shared their coffees and thoughts about roasting.

As we went around and talked about each roast I asked each roaster a different question about their approaches; how many adjustments do you make during a roast, do you generally do a standard batch size or do you do all sorts of different batch sizes, how do you record your roasts, etc etc. The question about batch sizes elicited a good deal of discussion with many of the roasters stating that they had standardized batch sizes, but that it was more than just one size.

Standardizing your batch sizes makes that a fixed variable in the roast equation and makes it easier to understand what the impact of certain adjustments, but using batch sizes to match an order or needs for the day makes it easier to reduce waste and excess left over coffee. Some roasters even mentioned how they appreciated changing the batch size as a way to approach a different roast. I’ve definitely used this approach before with a roaster with limited controls, but I tend to lean towards using a few set batch sizes.

One particular roaster was kind enough to show us their Cropster logs of the coffees that they had brought which made it really nice to compare to the cups. They had noticed that the coffee was lacking a bit of the sweetness and other characteristics that they generally looked for in that coffee and the roast log showed exactly why, that there wasn’t as much of a drop at the beginning of the roast and the rise was much slower. This was really great to be able to see this log and the cup as well as compare it to the Stretching the Roasts coffees that we had cupped in the first round. It truly was so awesome of this roaster to be so open with these coffees and logs and allowing us all to discuss how the slightly off roast manifested itself in the cup, which by the way was still a really nice cup of coffee. There’s as much to gain from roasts that didn’t go completely according to plan as there is from looking at roasts that went perfect.

This event was really inspiring for all of us at Coffee Shrub and Sweet Maria’s and we hope that we can get together again sometime soon. I’ll be hosting some tastings like this through the coming year, so keep your eyes peeled for notice.

Cuptoberfest!Cuptoberfest!

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