Decaf Fundamentals - Updated 1/2107

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When thinking about how to make an excellent decaffeinated coffee you have to first focus on the coffee before decaffeination. The original quality of the green coffee before decaffeination is extremely important, surprise surprise.
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by Mike Strumpf and Christopher Schooley, photos by Swiss Water Process and Christopher Schooley

What Makes a Great Decaf - Mike Strumpf - Swiss Water Process

Mike Strumpf - SWPMike Strumpf - SWP

A Look at our 3 Rwandas: Updated!

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These coffees roast magnificently, at a whole range of levels and profiles, showing plenty of sweet cherry with cola, cocoa and vanilla.
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Bright red coffee fruit in GitesiBright red coffee fruit in Gitesi

Talking About Roasting: Darren Smith

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Darren Smith from Sumas Mountain Coffee Co. and I were exchanging some thoughts about roast levels, roast logs, and one of the shrub coffees that he recently picked up from us.
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Darren Smith of Sumas Mountain Coffee Co.Darren Smith of Sumas Mountain Coffee Co.

Darren Smith from Sumas Mountain Coffee Co. and I have been exchanging some thoughts about roast levels, roast logs, and one of the shrub coffees that he recently picked up from us. We thought it'd be golden to share some of this ongoing conversation with you. Darren was kind enough to send me his roast of the Colombia Cauca - Portilla-Camayo that we recently had up.

Here are my notes on the roast.

Fragrance: toast, cocoa, graham

Aroma: toast, rum, cocoa

Rwanda + Burundi Fundamentals

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Rwanda has one of the most interesting East African coffee histories. It is a place where the production of high-quality coffee is inextricably linked to the rising spirit of a population after the tragic genocidal civil war of the 1990s.

By Thompson Owen and Christopher Schooley, Photos By Thompson Owen

Raised Drying Beds, BurundiRaised Drying Beds, Burundi

What Goes Into Producing Top Rwandan Coffees Thompson Owen

Talking the roaster talk, walking the roaster walk - Justin Carabello, Carabello Coffee

Justin Carabello from Carabello Coffee in the Cincinnati area answered the call to talk about roasting, sending me a number of different shrub coffees roasted on his Primo 5K, including the Corazon Del Robot blend and a blend of his own using some shrub coffees which I was stoked to see. I love single origin coffees, but as you may have read in my Make Friends with Blends post - - I feel like the art of blending is something that has really been overlooked lately.


Totally Stretched Out

I wanted to share the Stretchin' Out the Roast series with the Shrub crowd here and see if we could get some discussion going on these topics. One question that I have left after all these experiments and tastings is whether there is a difference to be found in the cup between stretching out the drying stage and stretching out the time before 1st Crack after the Malliard Reaction has started. I'm looking at doing a part 4, but if the findings are inconclusive I'll probably just note that in the comments of Part 3.

Narrows pt 2

Here's a little story I like to tell about the second ever Roasters Guild Retreat in 2002. During one of the first sessions at the retreat there was a cupping. When the group that was participating was asked who had ever cupped before, more than 80% of the crowd indicated that they had not. Nowadays, just 10 extremely short seeming years later there is cupping from top to bottom across the whole specialty coffee industry, or at least people regularly look at coffees though the lens of a cupping-like activity.

The Narrows

There's a phrase that I've been guilty of saying once or twice in the past, but which now really bugs me. The gist of it is:

"I'm just trying to roast the coffee so that all of its best qualities are realized without showing my influence over it."

Check up Time

In February the harvest is well underway in Central America. New coffees from CA are still a couple months away and it is increasingly harder to find coffees from last year's crops that don't show age. It is the time of year to take a close look at your CA coffees from last year, if you still have some. We've been looking at coffees both on the offerings list as well as coffees that we haven't yet offered in order to check for faded cups and age characteristics.