I'm done with 'shipped' coffee - Page 3

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
Jonk
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Joined: 4 years ago

#21: Post by Jonk »

jpender wrote:I used to brew beer so I am somewhat heartened to hear that roasting coffee is easier.
It's really not. Less physical effort, cleaning etc. and minutes instead of days/weeks. But ask yourself, how often is a beer severely disappointing? Undrinkable? A novice homebrewer can usually make pretty good beer and it's easy to buy something excellent.

I think we all know it's not that simple with coffee, it has so much more potential to be offensive. Even when buying from the best roasters or walking into the best cafés, there's a substantial risk that the coffee won't be nice.

If you buy hops, you know they're gonna be good. Greens on the other hand are already a challenge.

That all said, I think it can be easier to roast coffee to one's own liking than to consistently find it among commercial alternatives. And much easier to accept when it's not and you've only got yourself to blame.

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luca
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#22: Post by luca »

slappadabass wrote:Oh yeah. My list of "don't order from these guys anymore" roasters grows each week :)

Any time I get sent a bag that was roasted 2+ weeks ago, I add them to the list and don't order again. This honestly happens too often. I too get very very tired of them sending their leftover bags of old coffee, which drastically impacts the taste in the cup.

I now stick to a list of go-to roasters that roast to order, or where I know I'll receive it within a week of roast date or so. And mainly from Ontario and Quebec. Anything outside those provinces goes via snail mail of Canada Post.
Commenting on this is a bit "how long is a piece of string", particularly without knowing what your preferences are. The good news is that you seem to know what your preferences are, and you absolutely shouldn't feel FOMO that you have to go and order from some far flung roaster that others are saying is the new hotness if you have local roasters that you like. In fact, you probably make more of a difference to businesses that you like by repeat and regularly purchasing from them rather than spreading your purchasing around.

If freshness of this level is important to you, then I would guess that you don't mind a medium roast as opposed to a dark roast and you don't mind some level of nuttier, toastier, roasty-er type flavours making it into the cup, since some light roast coffees benefit from resting for weeks longer than you are suggesting. This is good news, since it means that green sourcing is less likely to be an issue, and arguably if you want to home roast, that might be a bit easier, too. Having said that, pro roasters with all of the advantages that they could have of pro roasting do seem to struggle, so I wouldn't be unrealistically optimistic if you did want to try home roasting. My unit costs for home roasting are much lower, and by the time I amortize equipment and failed batches, I'm confident that I will be in the plus column within 20 years.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

jpender
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Joined: 12 years ago

#23: Post by jpender »

Jonk wrote:A novice homebrewer can usually make pretty good beer and it's easy to buy something excellent...

...I think we all know it's not that simple with coffee, it has so much more potential to be offensive....

...That all said, I think it can be easier to roast coffee to one's own liking than to consistently find it among commercial alternatives.

I'm not sure what you just said. My experience with making beer was varied and ultimately I decided it wasn't worth the effort given the cost and time. It's just way, way easier and no more expensive to buy excellent beer from the seemingly countless small breweries out there.

Coffee? I can't really say. It's faster but that doesn't mean it's easier. I was just responding to what @yakster posted. He thinks it's easier to roast coffee. I'm hopeful that would be my experience as well, assuming I try.

Jonk
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#24: Post by Jonk »

I think it's a testament to the difficulty that even pro roasters struggle. Somehow that nudges me towards home roasting; I'm happier to drink my own inevitable failures than someone else's at 2-4x the price.

It's not a level playing field. Pros have more resources, most importantly they can have access to better greens. But you've got access to your own taste buds :D

Why keep on wondering though? You can order two pounds of greens to roast in the oven. If you thought it was fun, there are serviceable gadgets like Hive* or Kaka G400 for $100-$200.

* the Pharos among roasters, good but strenous.

coyote-1 (original poster)
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#25: Post by coyote-1 (original poster) »

jpender wrote: I'm not sure what you just said. My experience with making beer was varied and ultimately I decided it wasn't worth the effort given the cost and time. It's just way, way easier and no more expensive to buy excellent beer from the seemingly countless small breweries out there.

Coffee? I can't really say. It's faster but that doesn't mean it's easier. I was just responding to what @yakster posted. He thinks it's easier to roast coffee. I'm hopeful that would be my experience as well, assuming I try.
My second batch of beer came out excellent, and from there virtually everything I brewed was very good - with many approaching some of the best IPAs you can buy. And the cost was small by comparison to buying it bottled; each batch yielded two cases or four (IIRC) mini kegs, at about 30% of the price of purchasing pre-bottled. I would not do it now, but it was fun and saved money. And it would likely save even more money now.

My change came in 2012, when a new job became all-encompassing and I simply no longer had the time to brew while still having a life outside work. Perhaps if the local roasters lose their luster I'll start roasting - but for now, nope.

jpender
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Joined: 12 years ago

#26: Post by jpender »

It's possible the economics have changed with regard to brewing beer. When I was doing it the cost of quality barley, hops, and yeast meant that I was paying roughly the same as what good craft brews cost back then. Add to that the eight hour brew sessions and all the other work in the succeeding days and weeks and it just didn't make sense, particularly as high quality craft beers exploded in numbers. But maybe the raw materials haven't gone up in price as fast as beer? That might make a difference.

The other factor -- and this is certainly true of coffee roasting -- is the equipment. You can make beer in plastic tubs. Or you can spend thousands on better equipment. Some people do pretty well with basic gear. I'm sure an oven roast can be okay too. But good equipment gives you a leg up for sure.

And as for how good it is? Who is to say? If all you care about is your own experience then it stops there. But if you really want to know, don't ask your friends. They'll lie. I used to lie to the members of our homebrew club about their beers. Enter your beer in a competition and let judges analyze and rate it.

jpender
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Joined: 12 years ago

#27: Post by jpender »

Jonk wrote:Why keep on wondering though? You can order two pounds of greens to roast in the oven.
Because I can't stink up the kitchen by roasting in the oven. I need some sort of rudimentary roaster to get an inkling as to whether it's worth it for me to go any further. And at present I'm waiting on someone else to release the roaster that I was planning to buy. Sometime this year it will probably be available. Then I'll decide.

Capuchin Monk
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#28: Post by Capuchin Monk »

Jonk wrote:It's not a level playing field. Pros have more resources, most importantly they can have access to better greens.
There are (at least) two other things the pros need to deal with, profit margins and competitors. When those are in place, they sometimes (or always, depending on the roaster) need to cut corners and keep it secret, thus the sausage making process.

Milligan
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#29: Post by Milligan »

As with any hobby, you can start relatively inexpensively and then end up $10-20k in if the itch hits. I've had drinkable coffee from a skillet but you'll never get to $30 a 250g bag doing it that way. I'm sure the same can be said for craft beer. With more control and quality comes a substantial increase in funds. Where your taste is satisfied will be the ultimate decision maker both in coffee roasting and coffee buying.

IMO if you want to drink higher end specialty level coffees by roasting at home then get an Aillio Bullet and roast great coffee in a nice batch size on it for 10+ years and you'll likely be ahead (not including your time of course.). If you just care for grocery store quality coffee then a Behmor will do.

maxwell
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#30: Post by maxwell »

I'd recommend trying Josuma Coffee. They roast once a week and ship the same day. Every batch of Malabar Gold that I've had has been excellent and arrived the next day.

I've tried home roasting but was underwhelmed with the consistency that I was able to achieve with inexpensive equipment and unwilling to shell out thousands for a roaster that would meet my needs (consistency, 1lb roasts).