For starters, lets talk about our coffee roasting, because if this is not understood by our customers, then the rest does not really matter. For example, we could make almost any bean taste like a dark full roasted mass produced commercial grade espresso. Likewise, we could also roast it to taste like burnt wheatgrass juice. Unless we have a specific communicative though about our roasting methods, it's not going to be completely clear, why we source the beans we do for example.
On the spectrum of acceptable world wide average coffee roast profiles, we tend to roast on the light side. Although we don't adhear to a specific school, we do tend to appreciate most Nordic roasting over let's say, coffee roasters in the Americas, Germany, continental Europe, Asia, Australia/NZ, Africa. Not to say there are not amazing roasters in these places, but this is a generality, we've had great roasted coffee from all of these areas.
With the world getting much smaller, social networks, I think these boundaries have also started to disappear. One thing is for sure, we have our local customers, mail order across Europe/beyond, and tourists (coffee or otherwise), who buy and drink our coffee. All of these customers have different ideas about what coffee should taste like and what their acceptable roast parameters are for them (even if they don't think of the principles of the roasting process, they can judge the results in their cup from their own benchmarks).
So who do we roast for, if not for ourselves? This is a rhetorical question of course, but makes it easy for us to describe the characteristics of our roast style. We like drinking flter coffee black, with no sugar or milk. Rather than having to add sugar to bring out a milk chocolate flavor in a dark roasted coffee, we would source a bean that when roasted lighter would keep its sweetness and have similar favors, naturally.
Coffee is one of the most flavor rich foods we consume and we like to taste the flavors available in the bean, before they are eclipsed by the more advanced stages of chemical reactions in the roasting process. Generally, there is a roast flavor that you hit in roasting that is indiscriminate of what origin bean you roast. It seems to us a waste of our sourcing efforts, let alone the efforts of our partner producers who grow the coffee we roast, for us to eclipse the unique flavors of their beans with a generic roast flavor.
For this reason, we perform numerous test roasts on our coffee before establishing our production profile, to learn what a bean has to offer. If we are at this state, we have already cupped numerous samples and decided there was something in the bean we liked. At this point we have bought the coffee and are trying to find its sweet spot.
We like to also back these test roasts into the grassy/underdeveloped range, and out again so we understand the range of the coffee. In these degrees of roast, to people who normally drink more boldly roasted beans, it might taste more like a tea then a coffee. The differences are the nuances of flavors now available to the palate. Through our explorations of a beans potential, it can help us understand our coffee from week to week during our quality control cuppings.
As an example, in a coffee like the Kenya Tegu we roasted last year, a difference of 5 seconds and 2-3deg F could mean the difference between a wild berry body and that of a stone fruit. The differance for us is extreme.
Our coffee should give you something to think about. Take some time with it and let it cool. Notice the flavors that open up and know that we have put a lot of time and thought into every roast we do.
We will follow up with some other factors that can affect the flavors of coffee if you brew at home. Most importantly water quality, fresh grinding and simple techniques for different preparation methods you make at home. All of this can help bring out the positive qualities of the coffee as we experience them in the roastery/cafe.