We had a great opportunity to join Chuck Vandaele of the Eagle 93.5 FM on the morning show to talk coffee and tea. You can hear the 4 part interview by going to the morning show website
While Other Brother Roasters has been in operation for almost 5 years we've always operated "behind the scenes" so to speak. We are very thankful for everyone that has supported us over this time. We are excited to announce that Other Brother Roasters will be moving our roasterie into a retail shop in Winkler coming Fall 2017! Follow us along while we turn this former office into a go-to coffee stuff shopping spot (say that ten times fast - ha!) also, it will smell amazing
Some fun facts about decaf: since caffeine gives coffee the majority of its bitterness decaf tends to be much sweeter, the decaf process affects the cellular structure of the bean so that even at light-medium roasts you'll still get surface oils whereas with regular coffee you'll only get that with a dark roast, also with some decaf coffees you'll get a very savoury smell (like meat) after roasting
Left: decaf coffee before it's roasted. Right: regular caffeinated coffee before its roasted.
Well, there is no short or clear answer! In traditional Italian coffee an espresso roast would be a very dark and oily roast that probably contains a percentage of robusta (a cheaper more bitter coffee variety). By roasting dark and using robusta they were able to create a coffee that isn't too picky about grind, doesn't significantly change taste as it ages and creates a lot of crema (the light brown foam on an espresso shot).
We at Other Brother Roasters like to keep it simple - an espresso roast is anything you would put into your espresso machine. Any coffee can be a used to make espresso but there is one thing especially that makes espresso easier to work with and that is solubility. Roasting a coffee to be brewed in a drip coffee maker (which takes a few minutes) is different than roasting for espresso (which takes a few seconds to brew) because we want the coffee to extract at different rates. So through some tricks of roasting we are able to increase the solubility of a roasted coffee (even at a light roast) so that it extracts nicely and evenly when brewed as espresso. Another thing we do when roasting for espresso is tame the acidity (or liveliness) because the espresso brewing method tends to accentuate this more than other brewing methods.
It grows on trees (more like shrubs) and there are usually two coffee "beans" per cherry. The photo shows under ripe (yellow, orange) and ripe fruit (red). In high quality coffee only the ripe cherries are picked but in cheaper coffee all the cherries are picked and even in some cases the entire trees are stripped bare using machines.
There are two main methods to get the coffee out of the cherry - washing the cherry or not washing it - and there are many variations in between. In the washed process first you remove the fruit by putting it through what looks like a large grater to remove the fruit and then you wash it in a large tank.
A fully washed coffee will accentuate a brighter, cleaner and lighter taste of coffee.
A natural coffee will not be washed at all but have the whole cherry (with the coffee inside) dried and then the dried fruit is removed later from the green bean. The natural method will accentuate body, minimize acidity and tend to have more of a fruity taste but there may be more defects because the coffee isn't washed. This is because defective beans float in water and there may be issues with rotting cherry fruit if it's not tended to properly.
A pulped natural is between a washed and a natural. In this process the producer will remove the skin off the cherry but leave the fruity mucilage intact during drying. These coffees have more body and lower acidity than washed but are cleaner and more uniform than natural coffees.
Then we have a wet-hulled sumatra which is essentially a different take on the pulped natural method in that they remove the green bean from the fruit in a similar way as is done in the natural method but then instead of drying it they put it in a tank or sack and let it ferment overnight and then the rest of the cherry is removed. This results in a funky musky, spicy, full body and low acidity coffee which Sumatra is famous for.
left: washed Colombia, center: pulped natural Brazil, right: wet-hulled Sumatra.
Did you know that all of the worlds coffee is grown in countries close to the equator? Also did you know that these are the poorest countries in the world? The commodity price for coffee is just over USD$1.10 now (by the way, similar to what it was in the 1970s) but specialty coffee is purchased for considerably more than that due to the work the farmers have to put into creating a quality product.