I love coffee! It’s probably no surprise that being a coffee roaster, I prefer to drink the coffees that I have roasted over others. That being said, I also really like going to local shops and trying their coffees as well!
Throughout all of the twenty plus years that I have been involved in the coffee industry, a lot has changed. I remember getting my first espresso machine for Christmas in 1993 and trying to figure out how to properly use it (remember Youtube & Google didn’t exist.) There were very few actual coffee shops compared to what we have today, so you actually had to search to find a coffee shop in the suburbs of Chicago.
Fast forward to 2017, and thankfully specialty coffee has grown in popularity. Technology has also started to play a significant role in the way we roast and brew coffee. Baristas now measure numerous variables to remain consistent, and the equipment manufacturers for espresso machines, brewers and roasters are always implementing new technology to allow us more fine tuning options. All of this is great as long as we do not forget the most fundamental part of the process…. how does it taste?!
With all of the new brewing techniques it seems like sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in a fixed brewing process rather than being open to how different coffees react to various methods and variables within. An illustration that I love to use is music. I am a guitarist and I really enjoy music gear. Guitarists went from very basic setups in the 60’s & 70’s, to huge racks of gear, back to a more basic yet evolved setup today. However, at it’s core, if you plug a great sounding guitar into a great sounding amp, you usually have an inspiring tone right? Although this is the case, most guitarist will walk over and make a few adjustments to fine tune the amp for their guitar and playing style in order to create the best sound. Here’s the point: If the guitarist had a vintage Telecaster guitar to start and then changed to a Les Paul guitar, he or she will most likely make some changes to the amp’s eq or volume for the way the Les Paul sounds versus the Telecaster. The musician playing the instrument, or the sound technician will fine tune the amplifier to produce the best sound from the the particular guitar being played. Similarly, a roaster or barista may need to try different methods in order to bring out the best flavor in any given coffee. What works for one coffee may not work for another.
I was once at a coffee shop conducting a tasting and the barista and manager of the shop chose to brew the coffee in a filtered device. Once they tried the coffee, the manager left the room and we prepared the same coffee in a french press. He came back in and we handed him a cup. He stopped and said “this is really good. Which one is this?” The truth is it was the same coffee that he had tasted before, but this time brewed differently.
Sometimes it seems like we can get caught up in certain brewing parameters that we use for every single cup….and if a coffee doesn’t taste “good” we tend to blame the roast or bean rather than considering temperature or ratio changes in the brewing process. As a roaster, I have customers that sometimes prefer lighter roast and others that prefer darker coffees. I love both! However, I don’t brew them exactly the same, nor do I typically use the same green coffees for both roast profiles. That’s where The Fine Art of Roasting comes in at “Christian Andre Coffee.” I will roast green coffees at substantially different profile brackets to see how they react to different temperatures and roast times. The goal is to find the roast profile that brings out the best in each type of coffee that I roast, so that the beans hits their high point and deliver that moment when you take your first sip and realize you have just had the most Amazing Coffee!
The next time you get some great beans, try making some adjustments to your brewing method to see what brings out the best in that particular coffee. You are also welcome to email with questions or visit our site for more information as well as coffee and equipment!
Enjoy the brew!
Owner & Roast Master
Christian Andre Coffee