Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
I wouldn't personally call the notes of grainy, savory, burnt rubber, and descriptors of flat acidity, and high astringency hallmarks of natural coffees as compared to washed coffees. If they are for a specific coffee I'd consider it reasonable to mention in the coffee description, even if sugar coated. This coffee is 7c a gram, which isn't exactly high but also not inexpensive so it would be nice to know what you're getting in to. That's a general thought regarding all roasters though.
I have no personal knowledge of what is going on at the mills. What I do know is what I have seen this past year. Ethiopia naturals have been a big problem. I don't feel it's my job as a roaster to sort greens and I can't stand over a cooling bin of coffee for an hour plucking out quakers. I have returned several bags to their respective importers, who confirmed that last year's overall crop was problematic. The good news is that quakers don't really affect the cup, other than taking up space in the grinder.spencie wrote:...Or rather that no one, not even Elida or similar, is treating naturals properly?
I have also noticed the same issue to a lesser degree from a Brazil that I have been roasting for the past 5 years. Suddenly last year there was a big uptick in quakers. Elida natural has always had a few, but last year's crop seems to have a few more. Coincidence? I think maybe it's just a residual affect of Covid and the global labor shortage. Hopefully things get back to "normal" soon.
The fact that you found a twice-roasted bean, tells me you got a bag from my first Elida roast on the big SF75. I usually roast that coffee on my 5kg roaster and one day, in a fit of optimism, I decided to load 32# of this relatively expensive coffee in the big boy and go for it. It cupped OK, but it wasn't the best example of what this coffee could be. I have dumped 100s of pounds of coffee over the years that I just wouldn't serve, but this batch was far from a dumper, so I served it at my coffee bars as drip. Customers liked it enough to buy bags off the shelf after drinking a cup.
FWIW, naturals are very hard to roast very light. They need less roaster time than their washed counterparts. All else equal, and roasted to the exact same curve as a washed coffee, naturals will score 2 points darker on the Agtron gourmet scale. I have a feeling they begin development while drying at the mill! So if you are used to very clean, very light roasted washed coffees, Panama Elida is not that. It is certainly an adventure brewed as espresso and even as an Americano. A coffee filter does wonders for natural coffees and really cleans up the cup while letting all that "funk" shine though. Drinking naturals is all about wallowing in the funk!
If you're game to try another bag roasted on the 5kg, PM me your address and I'll send you one complements of the house. I'm roasting it this afternoon.
Wow, a lot to come back to. Thank you for your thoughts Luca. I think your experiences with these jack of all trades roasts resonates with me here. I got into coffee during the Covid Quarantine and kind of just dove right in to the light bright and fruity cups. That's the style I enjoy most by a considerable margin.
I would love to see this grow in the industry. It is possible to leverage descriptors to make every coffee sound delicious or disgusting. There's no such thing as a bad preference since there's both a market for it and people who will supply it. Things get messy when certain styles and approaches are branded as good and bad after the wrong people try them because of misleading descriptions that ignore cup facets that are present in the cup. I am biased to read a berry note and expect the fresh acidity of one, not a ripe jammy flavor, etc, based on my buying background and preferences. Knowing where a roast style lands on the continuum can help contextualize it and reduce disappointment while also increasing visibility. I see ads for "low acidity coffee" and get sad, but I know of many people who would consider my daily cups to be lemon juice.luca wrote:What is much more helpful for consumers is if we can have a sensible discussion about where a coffee sits on the continuum from light, acidic and aromatic, to less acidic and baked (being a different consideration from roast colour) so that people can pick the bunch of compromises that suits them best with their eyes open, rather than relying on some roaster or reviewer's assertion or implication that a coffee is free of all negative attributes
I don't think anyone should expect that from a natural, or any green coffee sold as fruity and light. I infrequently purchase naturals because they tend to emphasize qualities that I don't prefer, but I can't recall naturals being synonymous with markers of roast style.shotwell wrote:I wouldn't personally call the notes of grainy, savory, burnt rubber, and descriptors of flat acidity, and high astringency hallmarks of natural coffees as compared to washed coffees
Ah, hello. I hadn't realized you roasted for Sky Roast. I must say I'm a bit surprised to hear that you feel underripe cherries don't affect the cup quality. They certainly make a difference for me. I sorted a bag of a washed Ethiopian and the next shot I pulled had a cleaner finish with less paper taste and astringency. I suppose those flavors I removed are in a similar vein to what I experienced with this coffee so maybe that's where our difference in perception of underripes comes from. That said, wallowing in funk is not what I turn to naturals for or something that sounds appealing to me, so I appreciate the gesture but I don't think I'm the target market for this coffee. Thank you!Almico wrote:you got a bag from my first Elida roast on the big SF75
No worries; horses for courses. I enjoy all kinds of coffee and all kinds of processing.spencie wrote:Ah, hello. I hadn't realized you roasted for Sky Roast. I must say I'm a bit surprised to hear that you feel underripe cherries don't affect the cup quality. They certainly make a difference for me. I sorted a bag of a washed Ethiopian and the next shot I pulled had a cleaner finish with less paper taste and astringency. I suppose those flavors I removed are in a similar vein to what I experienced with this coffee so maybe that's where our difference in perception of underripes comes from. That said, wallowing in funk is not what I turn to naturals for or something that sounds appealing to me, so I appreciate the gesture but I don't think I'm the target market for this coffee. Thank you!
FWIW, I am SkyRoast Coffee, the alpha and the omega, chief cook and bottle washer. I've been into coffee since I was 6, but my "serious" coffee journey started right here on Home Barista over 8 years ago. As you can tell by my post count, this journey is well documented.
When I first started roasting naturals I too was concerned about underripe quakers (light beans caused by insect damage are another matter). They certainly don't look appealing. But I finally decided to see if they affected the cup so I took 20g of nothing but underripe quakers and brewed a cup. It was far from the best coffee I'd ever had, but there wasn't any significant taint in the cup to speak of. It was just like drinking the hole in the donut. Not a lot of sweetness or acidity or flavor...just a lot of nothing. Try it sometimes. You'd be surprised. I was. So one or two underripe beans in cup is really not noticeable, at least that is the opinion of the SCA and CQI. That said, I try to cull as many as I can in the cooling bin without affecting the price of the coffee. More time/labor = higher price. As a roasted coffee buyer, I would rather pay less and cull my coffee to my own taste.
Here is an interesting article from Sweet Maria's, but you will find the same sentiment throughout the industry.
https://library.sweetmarias.com/effect- ... ry-summit/
...but these effects were not noticeable until quakers constituted ~9% of the beans in the sample. That means the probability of perception is actually surprisingly low!
...Our takeaway at Sweet Maria's? Don't stress out over quakers in your cup.