Yes, I know… I’ve been neglecting this blog terribly. So here are a few posts to keep the faithful going. A little old school latte art action, intermingled with some fancy new photography courtesy of the new camera.
First off, some new arrivals to my roasting efforts. A bag of Ethiopian Harrar, and a bag of Colombian Valle del Cauca Supremo (which is the photo above).
The harrar is sweet fruity bean, along the lines of the Yirgacheffe, but without as much of the winey aftertaste. The Valle del Cauca is a big full bodied coffee, and they accidently made a very tasty little espresso blend for me.
Other things to note of late is that my latte art still sucks the big one, although the photos look infinitely prettier.
I need to get my Silvia serviced again because I’ve gone and completely stripped the top of the screw that holds the shower screen in. It seems that its made of a pretty soft metal that expands a lot when it gets hot, and so even though I don’t screw it in tight at all, it’s near impossible to get loose after a while. Hence my mauling it with all manner of stubby screwdrivers and swear words. I will be warily treading back to the coffee machine shop I went to last time, to see if they can get the screw out, and give me a new one, without rorting me out of my life savings.
Watch this space for exciting coffee related photo’s soon.
Well having officially run out of all the beans I’ve been given, it’s back to roasting my own coffee for the time being.
I seem to waver on and off between roasting my own and buying beans from others. I find my own technique doesn’t produce the results as well as the beans I buy from local roasters (well mainly 5 Senses). This could be due to the fact that I’m using an IMEX CR-100. A tiny popcorn popper style roaster that has neither the thermal stability nor the capacity to roast coffee the way it needs to be. If you’re not a purist though, it does a reasonable job, and I am officially the hardest person to please with my own efforts.
The upside to it though, is that I have full control over how my coffee turns out, and can take all the credit when I make someone a delicious espresso or latte on my silvia (espresso machine) :)
So here’s a quick video I pulled together of me roasting some coffee at home. It’s not particularly exciting, but some of you who have never seen what green coffee looks like before may find it interesting.
The coffee blend I used was:
Indian Tiger Mountain A – 60%
PNG Sirehini – 30%
Costa Rican Tarrazu – 10 %
Sorry for the crappy audio/blair witch cameratography/random merengue tracks playing in the background.
You wouldn’t believe how much I laughed when I put those titles and credits on the video. Apologies to anyone who has multimedia skills… Making dodgy videos is just too easy these days.
Well it’s sad times here in roasting HQ. My IMEX CR-100 (otherwise known as the cheapo Korean wunderkind coffee roaster) has officially kicked the bucket.
I have no idea what I did to it, but as soon as I plug it into a power point and hit go, it shorts my entire appliances circuit in my house, causing much unhappiness to the rest of my non power surge circuit breaker tripping appliances, just sitting there minding their own business.
So in a very sad moment for me I was forced to buy some pre-roasted beans today… of dubious freshness as well, seeing as I can’t be sure if the roast date is the 2nd or the 7th of March.
I may move on to try some pan roasting, but from what I can gather at a glance it’s a lot of effort to try and get any sort of evenness in roast colour and consistency.
If anyone has any bright ideas then feel free to let me know… I’ve got about 20kg of beans just sitting there waiting for me to roast them up…and nothing to do it with…
R.I.P little roaster… You served me well…
Actually what am I saying… It lasted less than six months and carked it… piece of crap…
This is my current list of green coffee beans… just in case anyone cares :)
* Indonesian Bukit Marrante Kalosi Toraja
* Indian Plantation A (Tiger Mountain)
* Costa Rica Tarrazu SHB (Fancy)
* Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
* Yemen Moka Ismali
* Sumatran Mandheling Grade 1
* Paupa New Guinea Sihereni AX
* Indian Monsoon Robusta (just to see what all the fuss is about with Robusta)
For me, roasting coffee is basically another level of understanding in the whole experience. I’m not sure what inspired me to get into it in the first place. To be honest, I’m not addicted to coffee. I can go for days without having one, and I’m sure I’d be fine if I never drank another cup of it in my life. But once I do get into something, I find it hard to stay on the fringe, without delving deeper and working out how things work for myself. My inner geek is never completely satisfied with just accepting what someone else tells me is true without investigating it myself.
That’s not to say I’m about to go planting coffee bushes in my backyard (although i would be able cut all the middle men out of the picture :)), but It’s definitely been a great learning experience so far.
Lately i’ve been struggling to roast the Yemen Moka Ismali… It’s such a tricky little bean… very uneven looking in the bag, lots of chaff, and difficult to tell when its at the right level. I’ve been stopping just into the second crack so far and it’s been coming out ok… but not exactly to the level that it’s reputation deserves.
To date my favourite blend is called ‘Easy Tiger’. It’s a smooth, but punchy espresso blend made of predominantly Indian Tiger Mountain, with some Yirgacheffe to add some sweetness, and a nice chocolately highlight bean to round things off :)
My new shipment of beans should arrive next week, so i’ll be posting more reports when I’ve had a chance to give them a try.
I’ve been having another go at roasting my own beans, and have now moved onto a new variety called “Indian Tiger Mountain”.
I’ve also worked out how to make my little home coffee roasting machine work properly. So this last roast turned out really well. I hit the first crack at around 6 minutes, and the second crack at about 9-10 minutes. I’d never heard the cracks so clearly before, as my machine gets pretty noisey in full flight. For non coffee roasting type people (possibly everyone), coffee beans roast in a similar way to popcorn. Basically they have lot of gases and oils inside the green bean, which when heated up cause the bean to pop (crack). A roasted bean will crack twice during the roast cycle, and when it cracks for the second time you’re pretty close to being done (for a dark espresso roast). If you go much past second crack you get a whole lot of charcoal and a nasty mess in your laundry (or preferred roasting spot).
My problem before was that i wasn’t getting enough heat into my system, and the roast was taking a long long time (around 20 minutes plus) and the beans weren’t cracking like they should. So i made a little modification to my machine, by sealing half of the air vent with aluminium foil to cycle the heat back into the machine. I also added more beans so that it spins slower… in theory making sure more heat hits the beans on each cycle… This proved pretty successful, so unless i was just completely lucky i seem to have worked it out.
The resulting espresso was great. Thick dark crema laden cups of espresso that was smooth and a little fruity on a the palate. Without the harsh bitter aftertaste a lot of blends/single origins seem to create. I’ll definitely be roasting some more soon.
This is some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe that has just finished roasting in my little IMEX CR-100 coffee roaster. This batch turned out a bit light because i stopped it too soon. I did another batch later and let it run for longer, and it turned out much nicer. I’m still refining my coffee roasting skills and experimenting with beans… but as a single origin Yirg is a top rated bean.
I recently ordered some green coffee beans online from a cooperative website. They basically conduct polls as to which beans are the most popular, and then based on how many people are interested, contact the distributors directly and place large orders for the green beans. This means i can get really high quality beans at pretty cheap prices.
These ones are Indonesian Bukhit… Also in the set i order was some Indian Tiger Mountain, Costa Rican SHB Tarrazu, and Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.
If that means absolutely nothing to you…fear not ! It means very little to me as well, other than that other people have said that once roasted they make some awesome shots of espresso… So we’ll see how it goes i guess.