Today's topic is what is is like being a small-batch roaster and to give you some insight on the flexibility and control we are able to have over our process (a big bonus for small roasters.)
What do we do before we officially release a coffee to our lineup, print labels and put it on our store?
First, the beans arrive from our importer, direct from origin. We are in constant contact with our importer, watching which crops and harvests are particular good ones. Also, each region of the world has a taste it is known for. Just recently we bought in a Colombian coffee bean directly from the farmer himself, who has traditionally received low prices for his great coffee because he has to mix it in with other regional beans at a large cooperative. We order directly from him, for his exclusive beans and are the first roaster to do so! That's what we can do as a small, nimble and flexible business that is driven by our deeply held value to serve and uplift others.
One thing we've always wanted to do with Five'21 Roasters is have a fun variety from around the world (we love to travel by the way) and offer something different for everyone.
Once we receive the beans, we spend about a week doing several sample roasts and cup (taste) the coffee with a professional barista. We are a young family and the coffee has to meet our lives, so we prepare it in several ways: With an aeropress, in a french press, with a manual top-of-the-line machine and with a drip machine.
When we say sample roasts, that basically means that we play around with different roast profiles on our SF-6 San Franciscan Roaster (varying heat, air, and timing.) Each roast is brewed and put to the test.
Every region is known for particular tastes.
For example, Koke (in this picture) which we have just taken delivery of, is grown very naturally as an indigenous heirloom crop in a particular region of Ethiopia. It is known for its berry-like tastes and really shines as a pour-over. It's a fragrant coffee.
When we develop a “roast profile” ultimately our goal is to showcase and bring out the natural flavours of that region.
This is why micro-roasted coffee is so unique, from bean to bean.
We don’t develop one way of roasting and apply it across the board like the big commercial shops.
We meticulously refine the roast process so that it is unique to that bean.
It really is part art, part science.
Roasting coffee this way is like traveling the world and immersing yourself in the culture of a country. We travel the coffee world and adjust our roasting to immerse the customer in the cup of coffee from that area of the world.
This is different from the big commercial producers, who apply their style, to beans from different areas of the world (kinda like staying in a hotel and not venturing out to explore, taste, smell and see the local culture!)