Colombia Inmaculada Coffea Eugenioides

Roasted by Coffee Graffiti, Seoul, Korea

Filter Brewed

Honey, tropical aroma

Honeydew melon, cascara, passionfruit, pomegranate, banana custard flavour

Vanilla, cacao lingering finish

Soft vibrant citric acid like blood orange

Medium creamy body

Espresso Brewed

Melon, passionfruit, banana, medium creamy body, vanilla bean aftertaste

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Espresso Roast? Filter Roast?

Is this coffee an espresso roast?

If you are a roaster or wholesaler or selling retail bags of coffee, you have probably seen there are always people who ask a very simple question about roasting development degrees. Customers often ask this question to baristas when they are purchasing retail bag of coffee, and even people in the coffee industry ask this when they talk to each other.

What is this?

Not all of them, but many people think there is a certain way of roasting for espresso or filter. In history, people used to roast coffees really dark which bring caramelised flavours, bitter taste, full body and ashy finish. And this type of roasting profile was loved by espresso drinkers in early days. However, as people in specialty coffee industry started to developed their coffee more flavourful with a lighter roasting profile, the light roast-style has spread all around the world as a kind of trend. And this became a favourite type of coffee for filter coffee drinkers.

What’s benefit to separate espresso roast and filter roast?

If you run a retail shop, you might have found separating those two types of roast side by side gives a benefit to customers for them to pick the bean from the shelf. It just gives people a clearer idea of what type of coffee they need depending on the method they use.

Does roast development degrees really matter?

I am pretty sure that the separation has been working very well. But it is still very difficult for general customers to be able to fully understand the flavour profile of each coffees instead of the characters from roasting because they consume the filter or espresso roast, not specific flavour characters of coffee.

Light, Medium and Dark Roast

I started to sell our coffees in three different roast profiles – light, medium and dark. Each profiles work well for both espresso and filter. (But still prefer to use light or medium for black coffees and dark for white coffees, to be honest.) And started to help people to choose their coffee by their flavour preference and their brew method. The first question I always ask them is “How do you brew?”. Then I ask “Do you want something fruity and floral characteristics with a brilliant vibrancy? Or something sweet chocolaty, rich and balanced?” These two simple questions naturally make people’s mind to think how they are going to brew, what flavour they like and what they are going to buy.

Difference between Omni-roast and the others

Omni-roast used to be a kind of solution that people use for both ways of espresso and filter. It is normally developed somewhere between light and medium profiles to allow both characters of each styles. This has helped baristas get more various choice of the coffee beans. However, (even though some people may not agree with that,) I have found the Omni-roast has a disadvantage of flavour expression in the cup. And it was often like a underdeveloped roast.

Solution

For a moment, I just want us go back to a fundamental thing which our job is to make flavour of coffee better. It’s not about what coffee we use, what roast profile we use. And it’s not even how we brew the coffee. We just should do our job well, that’s it. Thus, my conclusion is to create the three roast profiles – light, medium and dark – to develop three different flavour characteristics. If the roasting was done properly, if coffees were developed enough, I believe that anyone can brew tasty coffee no matter it’s light or medium or dark roast.

So, I would like to really recommend this way if you are a decision maker.

Moreover, since we changed our way to sell retail coffee and wholesale beans like this, the sales has grown up, quite obviously.(which is a very good thing for us, of course.)

thoughts after the big competition is ended

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“Time!”

This was the only word that I have been really wanting to say since the last 2017 Australian national brewers cup competition was finished with a small trophy for the 3rd place winner on my hand. In the 2017 competition, I honestly thought it could be my last chance to compete because I poured out all my energy, everything I could go into the competition. I was very well prepared and presented super well. It was even better than I was doing in every practice. When Ross Quail, the emcee, called my name for the third place winner, I was very happy but disappointed in myself. Since then, the question has come out of my mind and let me keep asking myself ‘What was the difference between myself and the winner?’

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(Isaac, myself and Alex in 2018 Central regional brewers cup)

 

I have asked myself the same question ‘What is the point that I have to improve?’ until the regional competition began. I was not really sure whether I could get a good result or not. I was not even confident to be in the top 12. At that time, I was lucky enough to get help from many friends around me, even the other competitors and their coach. And finally, I got my first ever trophy of the first place in my life. It was an incredible moment.

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(me while competing in the compulsory round)

 

The first challenge for me was the compulsory service. The way I practised was pretty simple. I got so many different types of a small retail bag of coffee. Then, gave me only 25 minutes to calibrate. So, it was like, brewing, tasting, brewing, tasting and brewing and tasting…… I could not really count how many the coffees were but it was definitely more than 100 coffees.

Once I was able to have confidence in myself on brew techniques, I started to build up my routine and final presentation.

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(me while practising in the hotel)

 

This time, I focused on to provide the best coffee experience. It was a combined theme of the best experience of the coffee and the experience of the best coffee. I put some tiny details in many spots of my presentation. For example, judges usually do not have enough time to write down what competitors say. So I asked them to write down important pieces of information at the beginning of my routine which made judges be more relaxed during my speech.

 

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(backstage of the Australian Coffee Championship Finals on its last day)

 

Finally, the final round of the Australian brewers cup was on. Everyone was so focused, concentrated and very serious about what they were doing. I was the first competitor of the day which was not really great for the result but I just had to do. So….

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(me while presentation at the stage)

 

I could say that I did so much better than I did last year. It was an even better performance than I have ever done. The coffee tasted amazing, routine went fantastic and everything was more than great except the fact that I was the first competitor which made me a bit worrying after I finished all and made me feel that I was not lucky enough. But I could say, “I have done my 150%, I’ve never ever done better than this!”

 

Now, everything is over. No regrets are remaining in my mind. I still think that I have done so much better I could do. Maybe, this is the reward for me this time, I think.

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(Sarah, Alex, Isaac, Harry, Devin, Heath, Archie and me; from left to right)

(we were the only competitors who took a photo together before the comp, how cool is that?)

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(Sam is not only a coach for the guys, but also teaches us how to dab)

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(besties gathered in the final again)

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(my selfie while the judges, Lauren the head judge, Andy, Nicole and Merryn the sensory judges were scoring my coffee)

 

 

Now I have come to reconsider whether I compete again or not. Also, I have come to rethink what the reason I am competing is. I will be so happy if I could find the reason why I keep competing. But I will also be happy if I could not find it. Then I’ll be there to help someone. Because this is the industry what I love to be in, the people I love to work with and the thing that I love to do. So…..thanks, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

photos were taken by J.Roh of Black Water Issue and Myself

Panama Ninety Plus Gesha Estate – Jose Alfredo Process Limited Batch #52

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Aroma: Dark cherry, dark chocolate, pineapple, rose, hibiscus

Flavour: Dark cherry, pineapple, strawberry, yellow nectarine, dark chocolate, yogurt

Aftertaste: Ruby grapefruit, dark chocolate, tropical fruits

Acidity: Medium tartaric acid, soft citric acid when it cools down

Body: Medium syrupy

 

I was so lucky to have this such beautiful coffee from Ninety Plus Gesha Estate of Panama for my 2018 Australian Brewers Cup national competition. To long story short, I tried to contact the guys from NPGE to get the beans for the national competition, since last Central regional brewers cup, however, it was really hard to get connected and to successfully receive the greens before the competition. Luckily, I received the greens 10 days to be on the stage.

This coffee is Jose Alfredo’s signature processed which contains a double fermentation during the processing. Firstly, he put the cherries into a glass box with controlling yeast and bacterias and stored the box in a dark room at a low temperature for a slow fermentation. Secondly, he spread the cherries on a single layer in a blue room at a warm temperature for 21 days of drying. This complex fermentation technique has made this coffee to get really unique characteristics of tropical fruits and heavy dark chocolate-like sweetness and syrupy & rounded texture.

To roast this coffee, I approached in a totally different way. For its higher moisture content, I adjusted the air flow lower which allowed me to more utilise convective heat rather than conductive heat. For its soft density, I changed the timing to ramp down the heat after the beginning of the yellow stage till the first crack so that I could have a more control during the first crack. It was roasted for 7 minutes, and the DTR was 12%. The first crack was started at 183.5 degrees Celsius and the batch was ended at 186 degrees Celsius.

Although I have had so many amazing coffees from all around the world, I am sure that this coffee will stand as one of the best coffee in my mind.

Ethiopia Daniel Miju

Ethiopia Daniel Miju Natural Heirloom

roasted by Cupping Room Hong Kong

Aroma: Rose, stonefruits

Flavour: Strawberry, raspberry, raisin

Aftertaste: Earl grey tea, cacao nibs

Acidity: Medium citric acid

Body: Medium plus syrupy

I had a chance to try this amazing natural coffee from Ethiopia roasted by Cupping Room HK which is a very well-known as the best coffee place in Hong Kong and is owned by Kapo Chiu who is one of the best baristas in the world and is crowned two times in the  world barista championship in 2014 and 2017. As described above, this coffee, Daniel Miju had general characteristic flavours that Ethiopian natural coffees normally have. However, the quality of the bean and the way that was expressed through roasting were very impressive. It was very clean and balanced rather than having too much fruitiness and funkiness.

Bolivia Finca Alasitas Natural Caturra

Bolivia Finca Alasitas natural processed caturra

by The Coffee Collective, Denmark

Aroma: Cocoa, rose

Flavour: Dark dried plum, red apple, cherry, yogurt

Aftertaste: Black tea

Acidity: Medium malic acid

Body: Medium+ syrupy

The one of the images we have about Nordic coffee is maybe from their light roasting. There are so many good roasters but a few very-well-known companies such as The Coffee Collective, Tim Wendleboe and Solberg&Hansen, etc. have been offering great light roast beans to the industry for a long time.

From this point of view, the Bolivian natural processed caturra from Alasitas roasted by The Coffee Collective was a surprising experience. Not only the bean was far more developed than the other beans from them I have tried, but also it expressed full of banging characteristics of the coffee such as plums, apples, cherries, etc. Bolivia isn’t that a really well-known coffee producing country, but have huge potential due to their environment of cultivation. I think this coffee could be a sight for the Bolivian specialty coffee. This coffee was so good!