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Homogeneity in coffee blending

February 23, 2012

Homogeneity in coffee blending


I recently ordered Hobo Ed’s Railroad espresso.  I have just started pulling shots of it and am enjoying it and as I get to know it better I expect to post a review of it soon, but one thing that I noticed about it was that the beans were not all the same color – ie the uniformity of the roast was not complete.  


When I have tried roasting I have usually raosted all the components of a blend separately so that they will all roast to the same level.  Since some types of coffee are denser than others and some beans are bigger than others you would not expect all beans to roast to the right level if you tossed them all in together.  (This is the issue with cooking where if you toss a huge piece of meat in the oven and a tiny one they will not be done at the same time.)


Then, however, I thought about some of the blends I have created, but not roasted, myself where I have either intentionally or accidentally combined two different roaster’s beans to pull a shot that had a little of both in them.  Sometimes, for example, I have blended a darker roast that brought chocolate flavors with lighter roasts that brought fruit flavors and loved the result.   


Perhaps roasting is more like cooking turkeys than cooking odd shaped pieces of beef.  In a turkey you want the dark meat to stop at a different temperature than the light meat and at the same time you have pieces that are different sizes and consistencies.  It seems to make sense that an ideal blend should not necessarily be totally homogeneous, but instead be fine tuned for each component into a glorious whole.  I could even imagine roasting a single origin of uniform size beans and still intentionally roasting one third of it to one level and two thirds to another.


Perhaps this is one of the reasons that the pro roasters do much better than I do, they recognize this need for layers and complexity. 




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