"Espresso! My Espresso!"
An Ongoing Internet Novelette
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2003 - All rights reserved
E-mail me at email@example.com
Lighter on Accident and Purpose
Since I have my Silvia temperature controlled with the PID now I have been adjusting blend and roast the coffee to it. With the consistent temperature I can really taste the variables in that now. The home-roast coffee I was using was too dark and the roast taste was cutting through the milk and overpowering the taste of the coffee. Because of that, the last few batches have been roasted a lot lighter. I was roasting to about ten or fifteen seconds into active second crack but for the last two batches have roasted to just barely the beginning of active second, or even a bit before.
Yesterday morning I roasted two batches for give-aways. One batch for a friend who raises chickens and has the best eggs I have ever tasted- the chickens, not the friend. We trade roasted coffee for eggs. She loves the coffee I roast and she has more eggs than she can use.. from the chickens, of course. I also owed some coffee to another friend who gave me a box of one quart canning jars. They are quite handy when giving away coffee. Since I was going to roast two batches I figured, why not just take both Hottops out there and roast two batches at once. The older machine has not been used since the new one arrived, and I figured this was a good time to run it again.
When roasting for drip I usually roast about 300-325 grams. The larger load is not a problem because I normally roast light for drip anyway. Although I had two of the new Hottop control chips, I had not installed one in the older machine yet, but forgot that I hadn't. I should have limited the batch in that roaster to about 250 grams because even on level 7 with all the plusses, the coffee barely reached first crack, giving off about a total of maybe five clicks before it automatically ejected. At about the same time the second, newer machine signaled that it was at the end of the roast cycle. This machine was sitting on the picnic table, facing away from me. I carefully reached around, avoiding the hot areas, and pressed the "Plus" button. At least that's what I attempted to do. I actually hit the "eject" button and out came the beans, as light-roasted as the first batch.
I looked at what amounted to about a pound of coffee which had been roasted about as light as anything I have turned out since I began home roasting, and certainly lighter than anything I have ever seen for sale on any store shelf.
I wasn't about to throw away coffee, so with disclaimer at the ready I gave one batch as whole beans to egg lady. I told her about the accidental light roast and that if she didn't like it to throw it away as I didn't want ti back. She looked at me like I was crazy ('Throw out coffee!?'), and I have yet to hear whether she liked it or not.
I pre-ground the second batch, but the lady to whom they were destined did not show at the meeting and Wifee forgot my instructions to not bring the coffee home. So the next day Wifee brought the coffee with her to a meeting with her boss, and they decided to brew some up. I can pretty much bet the farm that the machine they were using at her office was a $25 or less device from Walmart or such. Wifee called to tell me she was on her way home from the meeting, and that the coffee was really good. Light in color in the cup, but very smoother and delicious. So good in fact that she had two cups! That's funny.. she never has two cups of coffee at home.
So if you haven't given it a try, light roast a batch or two and see what you think. Use a smoother coffee- this was about 2/3 Colombian and 1/3 Sumatran. Avoid the brighter, high acid coffees unless you like a particularly bright cup. Also, be aware that coffee roasted this light can be quite nasty and unbalanced when brewed as espresso.