|News & Notes October 2006|
What's Happening at the George Howell Coffee Company
NEW! North Italian Roast Style, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Addis Ketema Cooperative - Last month we featured the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe as our espresso of the month. It received exceptional raves from our customers, and so we have decided to make it a permanent selection. The Yirgacheffe makes extra creamy smooth-textured espresso with floral, nutmeg and the subtlest ginger notes cradled in chocolate and praline. It is a worthy companion to our Daterra espresso line. This fine coffee is available for purchase online for $11.95 per 12oz Roasted.
Nicaragua: great Autumn coffees - We kept tiny amounts of two great Nicaraguan 2005 Cup of Excellence coffees which we featured last year, perfectly preserved by our unique storage methods, of course. These are quintessential Nicaraguans. The first one is Las Termopilas. This is a creamy full-bodied coffee with medium acidity. It has notes of apples accented with soft citrus, apricot and figs over a subtly smoky base of nuts and browned butter with a dash of persisting sweet chocolate. We are roasting it this coming Tuesday, Oct. 10. Supplies are very limited. Enjoy! This fine coffee is now available online for $22.50 per 12 oz Roasted.
Coming: Colombia, Maria Santos’ Los Sauces 2006 crop - For a second year this lady, with limited resources, has produced a great coffee. It is being specially packaged in Colombia, just like last year, in clear vacuumed bags that are pancake thin with a sniffing dog and customs agent present at all times. It’s all worth it! It is this extra effort that will ensure that this fine coffee arrives farm-fresh. This is the cutting edge of quality coffee storage and transportation. We expect it in three to four weeks.
The Fine Art and Precise Science of Roasting Part 2 (of 3)
By George Howell
There are three stages to roasting:
1. During the first stage the green beans are dried by gently vaporizing away stored free water molecules - while using the water’s conductivity to pass heat throughout the bean and begin effective roasting in the second stage, a very fine line! The beans turn from bluish-green to yellow-orange at this stage and it is easy to singe their surfaces, imparting a bitter aftertaste to the coffee brew, or to bake the coffee, resulting in a flat, lifeless cup.
2. At about half way through the roast the second stage, actual roasting begins. As the beans turn from yellow to light brown, going past 320 F, they begin cooking from within, and escaping steam and carbon dioxide begin building pressure. When the beans’ temperature passes 380F, their surface, increasingly brittle, begin to expand and crack open along their center lines, emitting popping sounds. The roast is nearing the first of several stations where it can be stopped and it is up to the roaster to decide which one, as the beans go from darkening tones of caramelized browns to carbonized glistening black.
3. The third stage is terminating the roast. With bean temperature at 420 F or higher, it is now critical to stop the beans from continuing to cook as quickly as possible. The traditional way is to release them into a perforated tray that is stirred while drawing the cool surrounding air through the beans with a fan below.
Next Newsletter - A look at the menu of roasts available to roasters and how these roasts affect the coffee you drink.