Following up on the coffee industry's big annual event--and the associated barista and brewing competitions--I thought it would be appropriate if I wrote a bit about brewing. I, along with many others, sometimes fetishize brewing technique. I'll sometimes think to myself, I'll have a syphon of _______, or a I'll do a pourover of ___________. That very way of thinking implicitly values the brewing method over the bean itself, which I think is backwards. Granted, the way that "progressive"/3rd wave coffee is generally marketed is, I think, overly romantic. You'll hear a lot of roasters--and you'll hear many serious consumers repeat it--talk about terroir, and the inherent flavors of beans, which is a very silly way to talk, in my opinion. There's no inherent flavor. There's no flavor *outside the roast* "

"I don't want to taste the roast!"

Well, if you're tasting anything tasty, it's because of the roast. You don't drink green coffee.

Likewise, strictly speaking there's no coffee beverage outside of brewing. So while it is backwards to say "I'll have a syphon of_______," it's not technically incorrect. Though the better way to think of it, in my mind is, I'll have ________ as a syphon, which puts the emphasis on the bean.

Chris Owens of Handsome Coffee spoke along these lines in an interview with Food GPS some time ago. http://www.foodgps.com/qa-with-chris-owens-handsome-coffee-roasters/

I'll be in L.A. next month, and will definitely check Handsome out. Hopefully I can get a shot pulled by a former WBC champ ;-)

And for those interested, Ceremony Coffee has a brewing guide by their brewing champ. You can read it here: http://ceremonycoffee.com/sites/default/files/Brew.pdf

Though, if you've seen some of my posts, there's nothing new in there ;-) 

 

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Comments

Submitted by jbviau on
I see your point, but don't you think it's too extreme to say there's NO inherent flavor? If true, then you should be able to achieve any flavor profile imaginable with a given bean if you're skilled enough at roasting, which I don't think is actually possible. Maybe you'd agree there's inherent flavor *potential* pre-roast?

I guess I get your point on the roast thing, i.e. you cannot have coffee without roasting therefore all you are tasting is the roast. However, as we know you can't get a Brazil to taste like a Kenyan. It's just like any other processed food stuff, even if you use the same milk not all cheese is going to end up the same if you use different bases to start with. Or more appropiately, but one I do not like to use, wine. They are all grapes, but depending on the variety and terrior, they taste widely different.

Submitted by donnedonne on
J, your point is well-taken Inherent, as in essential. With respect to a micro-lot, there are a range (not infinite of course) of possible flavors that can be expressed through roasting, but no flavor or set of flavors represents the telos--*the* flavor--of that coffee. To hold otherwise is limiting, I think. I tend to be suspicious of any sort of rhetoric that tries to isolate what is "really" happening, and I see a lot of that rhetoric in coffee-speak.

Submitted by Chamie on
...is the product of so many different factors that attributing any of it to one factor alone is missing out on everything else that goes into it. It's one of the things that is so much fun about coffee -- the same coffee beans prepared in different ways offer so many different flavor nuances. I hit on some of that in a <a href="http://www.roaste.com/CoffeeBlogs/Chamie/Why-Being-Coffee-Snob-More-Fun-Being-Wine-Snob">post</a> I wrote a while back. Interesting conversation to have.

On Brewing Choices

| by

Following up on the coffee industry's big annual event--and the associated barista and brewing competitions--I thought it would be appropriate if I wrote a bit about brewing. I, along with many others, sometimes fetishize brewing technique. I'll sometimes think to myself, I'll have a syphon of _______, or a I'll do a pourover of ___________. That very way of thinking implicitly values the brewing method over the bean itself, which I think is backwards. Granted, the way that "progressive"/3rd wave coffee is generally marketed is, I think, overly romantic. You'll hear a lot of roasters--and you'll hear many serious consumers repeat it--talk about terroir, and the inherent flavors of beans, which is a very silly way to talk, in my opinion. There's no inherent flavor. There's no flavor *outside the roast* "

"I don't want to taste the roast!"

Well, if you're tasting anything tasty, it's because of the roast. You don't drink green coffee.

Likewise, strictly speaking there's no coffee beverage outside of brewing. So while it is backwards to say "I'll have a syphon of_______," it's not technically incorrect. Though the better way to think of it, in my mind is, I'll have ________ as a syphon, which puts the emphasis on the bean.

Chris Owens of Handsome Coffee spoke along these lines in an interview with Food GPS some time ago. http://www.foodgps.com/qa-with-chris-owens-handsome-coffee-roasters/

I'll be in L.A. next month, and will definitely check Handsome out. Hopefully I can get a shot pulled by a former WBC champ ;-)

And for those interested, Ceremony Coffee has a brewing guide by their brewing champ. You can read it here: http://ceremonycoffee.com/sites/default/files/Brew.pdf

Though, if you've seen some of my posts, there's nothing new in there ;-) 

 

Category: BLOG

What ends up in your cup

April 26, 2012 | by Chamie

...is the product of so many different factors that attributing any of it to one factor alone is missing out on everything else that goes into it. It's one of the things that is so much fun about coffee -- the same coffee beans prepared in different ways offer so many different flavor nuances. I hit on some of that in a post I wrote a while back. Interesting conversation to have.

J, your point is

April 25, 2012 | by donnedonne

J, your point is well-taken Inherent, as in essential. With respect to a micro-lot, there are a range (not infinite of course) of possible flavors that can be expressed through roasting, but no flavor or set of flavors represents the telos--*the* flavor--of that coffee. To hold otherwise is limiting, I think. I tend to be suspicious of any sort of rhetoric that tries to isolate what is "really" happening, and I see a lot of that rhetoric in coffee-speak.

I guess I get your point on

April 25, 2012 | by intrepid510

I guess I get your point on the roast thing, i.e. you cannot have coffee without roasting therefore all you are tasting is the roast. However, as we know you can't get a Brazil to taste like a Kenyan. It's just like any other processed food stuff, even if you use the same milk not all cheese is going to end up the same if you use different bases to start with. Or more appropiately, but one I do not like to use, wine. They are all grapes, but depending on the variety and terrior, they taste widely different.

Well...

April 25, 2012 | by jbviau

I see your point, but don't you think it's too extreme to say there's NO inherent flavor? If true, then you should be able to achieve any flavor profile imaginable with a given bean if you're skilled enough at roasting, which I don't think is actually possible. Maybe you'd agree there's inherent flavor *potential* pre-roast?

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