Visual Tour of Royal Coffee

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
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TomC
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Postby TomC » Mar 19, 2017, 4:46 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting up with my friend Jen Apodaca and touring Royal Coffee in Emeryville last week. I'd been considering reviving a new version of our Roast and Learn Together discussions and felt that the vast educational opprotunitites and resources that Royal Coffee offered would be a great fit with folks here at HB, especially now with the branching out to home roasters via their Crown Jewels program. HB has enjoyed teaming up with other green coffee vendors (Mill City, Sweet Maria's) in the past, and this seemed like a natural extension in that journey.

Here's just a random collection of some of the photos I took while visiting Jen and her team, cupping some samples, and touring their beautiful facility right on the harbor.


The weather didn't cooperate quite as nicely the day I was there, but the views of the bay, the SF skyline and the Bay Bridge are pretty stunning.

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The building their coffee lab is housed in, nestled amongst beautiful boats. The warehouse they store their coffee is in a different location. They are also working on a new roasting and training lab, called simply, The Crown. It will expand the Bay Area's training, lab and event space for specialty coffee which I'll be excited to report on when it's up and running.

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The decor inside is a nice combination of coffee paraphernalia of days gone by, and a beautiful space for cupping and evaluating their samples. They have separate space for their buyers, sellers and administrative staff, with beautiful views out every window.


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I love these framed coffee bags from yesteryear.

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Their cupping tables are surrounded by natural light and cool coffee artifacts.

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They have numerous sample roasters to choose from, including these beautiful open barrel (Jabez Burns) units and a Probatino downstairs.

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Jen at the helm of the Probatino, she compiles an abundant amount of data on their coffees, rarely seen to this level and shared freely with their customers. Hobbyist roasters looking to improve their chops would be well advised to spend ample time on their website, soaking up her roasting datapoints and discussions amongst her team when they analyze each particular batch, usually done in two brew methods, a batch brewer and a simple pour-over like a Chemex.

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All their profiles are logged via Cropster.

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And some of the goodies that brought me there that day, their Crown Jewels offerings.

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I was fortunate to leave with a small 200g sample of a Burundi coffee they have on offer. I roasted it 4 days ago and have been bowled over with its balance, well rounded sweetness (cherry, caramel, raisin) and velvety mouthfeel. It truly is a complete coffee and one I'll likely pick up myself.

A closing note for the HB roasting audience, we are blessed to have Jen participating in our roasting experiments and discussions going forward. She joined HB specifically to engage and share her knowledge with us. We should note that Jen has many irons in the fire, being a full time Director of Roasting for the Crown, a mom of two little ones and a busy schedule as a member of the Executive Council for the Roasters Guild, so she may not be able to follow every thread and answer every scattered question, so I'm hoping folks will consider pooling their questions in a way that makes it easier for her to navigate thru.

Her posts won't be commercially motivated, she'll only provide feedback and experience on a coffee after someone has already purchased it and starts a discussion on it. So, while she may decide to share some impressions on upcoming coffees, she's not specifically going to be engaging the audience so as to influence the purchase of certain coffees. I feel this will give her the best amount of freedom to navigate in and around our roasting community with transparency. Please make sure to welcome her and thank her for her participation with our group. I have little doubt that she's roasted more coffee than the entirety of HB combined, and she has an excellent wealth of knowledge to share, and she does it in a friendly, welcoming way.

dale_cooper
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Postby dale_cooper » Mar 19, 2017, 8:07 pm

What a cool space - totally jealous of that visit. Doing splits of the crown jewels for roast and learns, having Jen's knowledge, and the knowledge of others; this is one of the coolest things I've seen on this forum, such an awesome idea. Thank you Tom and Jen!

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johnny4lsu
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Postby johnny4lsu » Mar 19, 2017, 9:01 pm

Great idea Tom and what a blessing to have Jen! Looking forward to the discussions.

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JK
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Postby JK » Mar 19, 2017, 9:18 pm

I'm very curious, I have been checking her profiles and see most of her end of drying times are under 3 mins,

Is that because of the Probatino roaster?
Most of my EODs are around 5 Min.
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johnny4lsu
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Postby johnny4lsu » Mar 19, 2017, 9:19 pm

Was curious of the same. I figured with the small sample roasts it made everything faster.

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Postby marista » Mar 19, 2017, 9:20 pm

thanks Tom and Jen, and welcome to the forums! Looking forward to some great coffees and discussions (:

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aecletec
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Postby aecletec » Mar 19, 2017, 9:41 pm

Are you curious about short drying because of roaster power or because you prefer the result from a longer drying time?

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JK
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Postby JK » Mar 20, 2017, 1:31 am

I've had people telling me for years now 5 min. drying time..
I'm no expert but been roasting for 4-5 years and trying to learn different things..

I've been struggling to slow my roaster down to a 5 min drying time and them add enough gas for a short middle then pull back enough at the end to stretch end of the roast..
I have plenty of power for a short drying phase.. People here been telling me for years you want a 5 min. drying phase..

I hate learning by having the throw 2 lbs of beans away so I'm wondering if the profile is because of charge size or machine or something I don't know..

I'm always looking for that magic spell and this is a tough crowd for people to share their magic..

Lots of wizards battling for top spot it seems at times :)
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TomC
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Postby TomC » Mar 20, 2017, 2:17 am

JK wrote:I'm very curious, I have been checking her profiles and see most of her end of drying times are under 3 mins,

Is that because of the Probatino roaster?
Most of my EODs are around 5 Min.


johnny4lsu wrote:Was curious of the same. I figured with the small sample roasts it made everything faster.


Nearly all I looked thru are at least 3 minutes and longer, not under. Although I agree that it would appear fast to us, it's likely just the patter she's settled into with the Probatino with her chosen charge weight. I highly doubt she charges anywhere near where the Probatino is capable of, and the profiles just tend to run fast.

The Probatino is a tank, in many ways. It's heavy duty and steers like a barge, she doesn't mess with airflow, just keeps it set at one level that works for cupping roasts. Her only manipulation is charge temp and gas, as can be seen in her notes. She also has a Behmor 1600 in the lab and when the Royal Lab opens, they'll be installing a 7 kilo Diedrich as well. I imagine the advice she'd give on particular coffees would be more tailored to what coffees of that region, of that density, etc are capable of, and how they behave in the roaster, as apposed to just drawing conclusions only from what was obtained from a single cupping roast.

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Postby [creative nickname] » Mar 20, 2017, 3:20 pm

Wonderful write-up and pics Tom, thanks so much for sharing it. I look forward to Jen's pointers as well in our future roasting threads!
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