Monday, July 21, 2008

Livebloggin a Roasting Session

Bins are washed, labeled and ready to go. Was aiming for 4pm, but everything takes longer than expected when it's roasting time. Gonna do many loads efficiently today. Hoping to set myself up for the week and be ready for the markets to come and bulk orders. I can supplement and bag on Wednesday.

Update 4:15pm: the vacuum cleaner is my enemy.

4:25pm: Fired up the machine. Decaf is first. Decaf is always first.

4:40pm: The machine has to heat up so I took that opportunity to fill up the rest of the green coffee. Tanzania light, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Sumatra medium, Tanzania dark, and Sumatra Dark to finish it out with a smokey bang.

5pm: Colombia is in. Now we start to have fun.

5:15pm: pulled it early on the Colombia because it's nice light. Not too light, just not quite to crack 2. For flavor.

5:30: The roaster changes how it roasts over the course of the session. Slow and sorta chuggin along in the beginning, then after a few batches it really starts to crank. I feel like I'm driving a motionless train of flame when I fire this baby up. Costa Rica is rotating now. And it smells great.

5:42pm: I'm taking Costa Rica to crack 2. I don't care what anyone says. We haven't gone there yet and today is the day.

6:10pm: first portion of the Tanzania blend just went in. This part is a light light roast, to capture the earthy, tart flavor of the beans. The shop is getting busier, too. I'm sometimes surprised by the number of people in here in the evenings, but the music, poetry and other attractions definitely draws a crowd.

6:30pm: Settling up from the week's farmer's markets just put a pause in the roasting session. Probably good, though. Gave the machine a second to cool and chill before getting on to the heavy roasts of the evening. Brazil is going deep and then I'm pushing it to the edge of a French roast for Sumatra and Tanzania. That's gonna smoke the place out!

6:50pm: Brazil is sizzling, but I'm not afraid.

7:20pm: Sumatra always messes with me. Either it goes hot fast and I have to pull the e-brake on this runaway flame train, or it pauses long and steady right at 412. The good thing is I was aiming for a medium roast so the 412 pause is okay. Next batch when I'm going for oil and smoke that pause would be bad news.

7:30pm: just dropped in 15.45lbs of Sumatra. It'll probably yield around 11lbs of roasted coffee. Anyone have a guess as to where those 4lbs go?

7:45pm: the doors are open in anticipation of mucho smoke. Taking Sumatra past 2nd crack is an event.

7:50pm: calls in the middle of cracking = burned beans. Luckily I just hung up on the boss to make sure the beans come out right. He was cool with it.

8:00pm: Last batch. Good session. Didn't let the machine go racing off into the 440s or allow a batch to slow roast and scorch. Definitely looking forward to a shower when I get home cause tending this beast is no cool task. The beans tumble and twist slowly browning in the extreme heat until they are cracked and ready for us to grind and brew. All week people will be drinking today's roasts and that makes me very happy indeed.

8:45pm: Espresso and house blended. Black & Tanzania blended. Farmer's Market equipment unloaded and now I just have to weigh out some tea for a client and I am on the road home.

9:10pm: done and OUT.

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