There’s an abundance of flavor varietals you can get out of a coffee bean. It takes careful preparation and skill from farm to market, where the Coffee Roaster plays a vital role.
The art is in heat over time.
When we get a new coffee bean, we start profiling it. We create a target outcome based on the characteristics of the bean, test it, and adjust as necessary. For example, if you’ve been with us since the beginning you might have noticed a Vienna Roast on the first batch of our Ethiopia Yirgacheffe bean. Personally, I loved it. The darker roast killed the chocolate but it came with a unique Rich and Floral taste... But it wasn’t our target, we wanted the chocolate. So, we adjusted and well if you’ve tried it already, you know. 😊
That’s just the first part, So back to the art… In production we dance with heat and time. We’ve dialed in the roast, and now we’re dealing with mechanical variables. Most modern roasters are using digital temperature controllers (so once you’ve dialed it in, the software takes over and automates the roast), but we have a Full manually operated roaster here at Foxen Coffee, and I’m happy we do. Because even if we do someday go digital, I will have learned so much about what makes a coffee machine tick, and I know that’s going to be a valuable long-standing trait for this business.
With a full-manually operated machine, the operator becomes the digital interface. A Coffee Roasting machine will operate slightly different on the first few batches because the machine is heating up and gaining momentum. This requires manual adjustments in temperature settings between batches to compensate. Lighter and Darker roasts behave differently during various stages of operation, so timing when you do lighter roasts vs. darker roasts, and at which phase of operation is key. While Identifying anomalies and correcting them.
All this is obviously planned out, just as a digital operator would do, except it’s done with pen and paper, and hands on steel.