Is it a roast issue or a green issue? (Prospective new roasters; you should read this too!) - Page 3

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
Rickpatbrown

#21: Post by Rickpatbrown »

mkane wrote:Here's a Kenyan that just arrived. Details after our walk.
image
Is this the Gatomboya peaberry?
Just got mine the other day. Won't get to roast for a week or two.

Only a few defects per pound ... looks well processed. There looks to be some regular beans in with the peaberry. I've never bought into the peaberruea being superior, but the thinking is the round shape and monodispersity facilitates more predictable heat intake and roasting.

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luca (original poster)
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#22: Post by luca (original poster) »

PIXIllate wrote:Thanks for the insight in Ethiopian coffees. I'm very interested in learning how to associate different flavour notes to known defects but I have zero interest in roasting.
You raise a good point; it would be great if this thread could become a good learning resource for everyone. Posting about roasted coffees we have bought is probably fine; I just hadn't really thought about it. The downside is that we know less about what is going on eg. if it's a blend and the roastery is using it to dump failed roasts or bad stuff into. We also don't have roast profiles or anything. I don't know much about roasting, so I'm secretly hoping that people will post roast profiles, etc, and our more experienced peers will be able to teach us things about roasting. (Hint: this ambition is not secret.) So I mean if people want to post about roasted coffee they have bought, I guess fine by me. I'm trying to start this up as a thread where many people will offer opinions and I'm not necessarily going to respond to everything; I'd like this to become a thing where we can all learn from each other. I don't really want to get into a situation where people have bought roasted coffee and then they're complaining to their vendor based on what I have said and I'm in some proxy argument with a roaster.
PIXIllate wrote:I'm looking to drink only the best I can get my hands on and after trying basically every roaster of note (most multiple times) in Canada I can certainly see your point about how non-trivial it would be to achieve top tier results home roasting if so many professionals with all the best equipment and decades of experience can't even manage it most of the time.

This may also be why so many home roasters say they can achieve the same or better results than XYZ coffee they were buying at retail. Chances are XYZ coffee wasn't anything special regardless of being $30-60 for 200g. Including the $72/120g Cup Of Excellence winner I recently bought. It was okay but it would not have stood out in a series of blind shots.
Agree; I need to acknowledge this side of it, too. I guess what I can say is that I've been doing leaderboard, which is a coffee tasting competition that is from some guys in Canada, and it features a lot of canadian roasters. I haven't liked a lot of the coffees, but really because a lot of the coffees are green in a style that I don't like. Roast-wise, I'd say that the batting average of what I have tasted is probably a bit better than the quality of roasts I can get from making educated guesses about roasters that are new to me in Australia, when considering roasts that are suitable for filter. I suppose that I've got to concede that the guys at leaderboard have already applied a level of curation.

The super premium side of coffee is also one that's worth talking about. This is something that home roasters definitely don't get good access to. (I'm very happy to take up the argument with whoever pops up with examples of something expensive they can buy ;P) But when you look at roasters buying it, it's not like they are buying tonnes of it. Many of them have a single bag or a box. They may view it as more of a marketing exercise, creating a halo effect for the rest of their coffee, or an anchor point. That price increase for the cheapest blend may be a little easier to swallow psychologically when you look at the shelf and see that you could spend 10x as much on something else. Or their majority sales of it may well be brewed in house, by the cup, at a premium price. I'm not saying that any of this is a problem, but part of the consequence of it is that they have less, so they probably get fewer shots at roasting it. Because roasting this stuff actually ends up being kind of expensive. They probably have a production roaster of >15kg of capacity, but they might only have 15-30kg of some super premium thing. Or they might have access to a tiny 1-2kg roaster, but that's probably ten or tens of thousands of dollars for something like that. So they may either only get one or two shots roasting it, meaning that they aren't really in a position to nail the roast. OR they may be able to roast multiple tiny batches, but they may have the cost of a tiny roaster to recoup against a very small amount of sales. I guess one can only hope that the advent of roasting coops will enable roasters to have an efficient way to share the overheads of a very good small capacity roaster amongst multiple different businesses, so that they can offer premium coffees at a more efficient cost. But, yeah, I remember buying a COE#2 Ethiopian coffee from coffee collective for like $66/100g that was undrinkable; tasted really flicked/charred.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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luca (original poster)
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#23: Post by luca (original poster) »

mkane wrote:Sorted the 1st lb with my opti-visor on.

Are these defects on the plate?
Probably, but let's make some clarifications for those who are joining us:

The absence of physical, visible green coffee defects does not mean that the coffee is defect free or good. The presence of some green coffee defects may not degrade cup quality.

From memory, supported by this old page on the coffeeresearch page that I linked before, you can have secondary defects in specialty grade coffee. Chips, pulp nip and insect damage are 5 beans in the 300/350g sample (can't remember what it is) count as one defect, and you're allowed 5 full secondary defects. So you could have 25 chipped beans and it would still pass the grade for specialty grade coffee (it may subsequently fail based on cupping).

As I said before, I think it's important to taste the physical defects, because if they don't actually make the cup bad; if you don't mind them, then the producers should not be punished for them.
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luca (original poster)
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#24: Post by luca (original poster) »

addertooth wrote:I don't think anyone took offense at your posting, we just wanted clarity.
If you can find them, some clear winners for me have been Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Misty Valley, Panama Finca Lerida Geisha, Brazil Daterra Peaberry, and this year's Kona Peaberry.

Although not a cup of excellence top-charter, I enjoy the Kenya Kiriyaga Kamwangi Peaberry a lot as well, for it being a well balanced cup. It only has a "claimed" cup of excellence score of 90.2
I've deliberately stayed away from a discussion of scores, for a few reasons. I do score coffees, and I talk about scores, but I usually try to do it only with friends who I'm well calibrated with. As has happened in wine, there's an incentive for scores to march ever higher, since when consumers read them, they're basically only ever used to sell things.

It's worth bearing in mind that a true score of 90+ at a cup of excellence competition would have the coffee receiving a "presidential" award. To give you an idea, you might have 1-200 producers enter their very best microlots, they might be screened down to, say, 40 that pass the national jury week of cupping to get 87+ and make it to the international jury, and at the international jury stage, depending on the country, you'd usually see 1-5 presidential award coffees. Now, it's totally possible to get good Kenyan coffees that do score this high. I think that TW had a Karinga lot in about 2019 that I personally scored at something ridiculous like 92, for example. I suppose that one thing is that if you had 5 points of hyperbole in a claimed 92 point score, it might still be a true 87 point coffee, so it may still be pretty good. But I'll leave it for you guys to assess the reliability and meaning of the scores you are exposed to.

I suppose the other thing I would say is that I absolutely, and routinely, drink 84-86 point coffees that are roasted in a way that I really like and that are of a style that I like and that I enjoy, when I've also tasted a tonne of coffees that I agree are higher scoring, like maybe 89-91 points, but which I still personally find revolting and/or poorly roasted and wouldn't drink in a million years. There are lots of coffees that are used to win barista and brewers' cup competitions that fall into this latter category for me. So it pays to be aware of what your personal tastes are.
Milligan wrote:I can corroborate here in the states that it can be hard to find a very fruit forward Ethiopian. I've had a box of samples from importers with various Ethiopians that I'm glad I sampled and didn't go by the descriptions.

luca, what regions do you find are putting out exceptional coffee right now compared to either their past crops or the coffee market in general? Anything that is at the top of your list that could help us zone in on regions that may not be as hard to get good results from? Thank you for this thread.
I took the answer to that over to this thread to try to keep this a bit on topic!
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

addertooth

#25: Post by addertooth »

Luca,
First of all I agree, which is why "claimed" was put in quotes. I would also agree they are a marketing ploy when found on a seller's site. I can only hope that the numbers scale within a single vendor.. i.e. their 92 coffee will be a bit better than their 90 coffee. I will find out about that this weekend. From the same vendor I snagged some beans which rated higher by about 2 points. We will see if:

A. If it is better.
and
B. If my tasting skills are up to the task of telling the difference.

I have roasted a few beans which had easy and constrained roasts, but the BREWING process had to be tailored to bring out the best in the bean. This is the unspoken part for some people who roast. They know they hit all the numbers, and the aromas during roast and grind promise a great cup... but then the first brew disappoints. They have to tweak the brew to address that issue. I ran into that with the Panama Finca Lerida Geisha.

The 92ish bean is the Kenya Nyreri Gatomboya Peaberry.
I am on a bit of a peaberry kick right now, probably because I feel comfortable with roasting them now. I held off on a Kona Peaberry until I had done several other peaberry roasts and felt the results were both good and repeatable.

I also tried my hand at a bean which (visually) had a lot of variation in size and type. It ended up being easier to consistently roast than I had imagined it would be (Yemen Mocca Khulani Natural). Although not as dramatic as the defects pictures in this thread, they were far more various than any other bean I had ever roasted.

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luca (original poster)
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#26: Post by luca (original poster) »

Sure, sorry, I wasn't meaning to suggest that you were endorsing the points. But it occurs to me we are totally off topic; you are talking about coffee that is, or may be good, or is claimed to be good. This topic is for discussion of coffee that is bad in some way. Bad may not be a technical defect; it may be something that people subjectively don't like. If you want to discuss good coffee, let's move that to another thread. There are also ten million things that can go wrong in a cup of coffee, so, as I said above, let's try to keep the discussion focussed on roast and green issues. Please post here after having taken some steps to eliminate other issues, such as storage, grinding, brewing, etc. Otherwise this thread isn't going to be very useful.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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mkane
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#27: Post by mkane »

Rickpatbrown wrote:Is this the Gatomboya peaberry?
Just got mine the other day. Won't get to roast for a week or two.

Only a few defects per pound ... looks well processed. There looks to be some regular beans in with the peaberry. I've never bought into the peaberruea being superior, but the thinking is the round shape and monodispersity facilitates more predictable heat intake and roasting.
Ndumberi Peaberry. Very few physical defects from what I can see in all the Kenyans.

Rickpatbrown

#28: Post by Rickpatbrown »

luca wrote: This topic is for discussion of coffee that is bad in some way. Bad may not be a technical defect; it may be something that people subjectively don't like.
So far, a couple of us have posted pictures in this thread and the previous one (luca of some exceptionally bad defects, myself of a large amount and mkane of very few). Visual defects are the easiest to pick out and also jive well with the visual medium that is the internet. It would be helpful to get others to post pictures so we can see the full spectrum of quality. I'll suggest that it's easiest to see defects separated from good beans.

I'll also add that defects in washed coffee are WAY easier to spot than naturals.

But what we REALLY need here is flavor descriptions.
Do these visually defected beans affect flavor? What does it taste like?
Are invisible defects in your greens? What do they taste like?

This gets at the heart of the purpose of this thread and your original thread. Basically asking the question, "is your bad coffee due to poor green quality or bad roasting?"
And then the follow up question, "if it's because of poor quality green, how do you improve on your sourcing?"

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mkane
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#29: Post by mkane »

I'm thinking unless your coffee supplier has climate-controlled storage with all this strange weather this could bring on some unforeseen problems could it not?

Roast defects are fairly simple to taste. Bean quality aside from visual defects is going to taste very different. Maybe I should go on the hunt for the least expensive beans I can find in hopes they won't pass SCA standards and roast/taste them.

addertooth

#30: Post by addertooth replying to mkane »

You could always get the "seasoning beans" from Coffee Bean Corral. They cost $3.99 a pound. Just a warning, some people purport they produce a drinkable coffee.