I just came home from another Bay Area Roasters Group meet-up hosted by Berkeley Co-Roast, organized by Dani Goot and myself. We had a larger turn out than expected, no doubt due to the wonderful space we were allowed to use (seriously Berkeley Co-Ro is awesome). And once again, a pattern repeated itself. Henry Chang, (Chang00) one of our own, nearly beat everyone, including myself who only placed in the middle of the pack. Henry took 2nd only to a very impressive new professional roaster in Ukiah, Black Oak Coffee
. I'm giving a free plug to Black Oak and highly suggest folks check them out, because I can vouch for how darn good their coffee is on a consistent basis. Steve Cuevas carefully profiled the coffee 10 different ways to hone in on what best gave a chance for sufficient maillard development to create flavors that otherwise were rather mute. In all honesty, there were only about 3 very good examples on the table out of the 16.
Henry is far too humble to ever mention it, so I'm doing it for him. Ask Jim Schulman who's repeatedly one of the most consistent, impressive home roasters in our competitions and he'll agree with me, Henry is generally the first name mentioned. We thought we only had 9 participants (Henry and I being the only non-pro's), but it turned out we ended up having 16 participants and nearly 30 people there to cup and discuss the chosen coffee. Some just flew under the radar.
The coffee was a challenge, it was a past crop washed Ethiopian that only seemed to present well in a narrow roast range (very narrow) and it wasn't very sweet nor very bright, but it did have some nice florals and soft, balanced flavor overall.
So here's my thumbs up to Henry Chang and home roasters in general. By and large, he beats most of em! We're going to have to tease him out of hiding and hopefully he'll discuss his approach to this slightly challenging coffee.