Crop to Cup – Part 3

photo (4)

Continued from Crop to Cup Part 1 and Part 2

If you have been reading this series of posts to date, you will know that for my wet processed micro lot I am following the steps listed below:

  1. Pulping
  2. Fermentation
  3. Drying
  4. Parchment removal (hulling)
  5. Roasting

The first two stages were outlined in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, along with the initial phase of stage 3, in which today we learn that patience is indeed a virtue.

3. Drying continued

Every day I walk past my drying rack, checking (and turning) the beans, as the remaining moisture is drawn out, courtesy of the great weather we have been having of late in South East QLD. No rain to speak of (though many gardens need it), and fairly low humidity (compared to usual levels) have made for what I would consider perfect ‘bean drying’ weather. Although the beans have been undercover and would not be directly affected by rain, the increased humidity and overall moisture in the air would likely have required a longer period of drying.

The ideal drying time?

For further information here we again refer to our two main sources:

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

Whichever method of drying you use, the parchment on the coffee bean will dry to a pale straw colour and be brittle to touch. At this stage, test the dryness of the beans by removing the parchment by hand off several coffee beans. If dry, the bean inside should be greyish blue in colour, hard, and likely to break when bitten between the teeth, if not soft and chewy. If soft, continue the drying process.

The ‘methods’ of drying referred to above include the natural sun drying method I am following, or alternatively, a food dehydrator, which must be kept at 40 degrees celsius over the course of several days to complete the drying. Whilst a dehydrator may be a more rapid method of drying, some of the romance is lost, if I imagine hundreds of square metres of beans drying in the sun on a Colombian hillside. Though the strength of this argument wanes a little when my entire crop fits into my palms cupped together.

Anyway, for the current crop, sun drying it shall be.

My Mother

I usually leave it at least two weeks to dry out. Sometimes you might get away with 10 days or so, but two weeks just to be safe. Your best guide is to crack off the parchment layer with your thumbnail, and if you get a good split or cracking noise you can be fairly sure it is dry enough. Once I have removed this layer and simply have the green bean, a couple of days more drying will really finish them off.

We agreed that my planned two further weeks (making four in total) drying time would not be to the detriment of the end result (that is, be too long). The four week time frame is due to a holiday occurring in the middle of this process , rather than specifically planning a drying time of this length. I do note however this does coincide with the upper end of the 5–30 day recommendations of the DAFF.

Drying – Two Weeks In
As noted above, after two weeks I am now half way through my planned drying time and testing a couple of the beans would appear to show that everything is on track. You will see in the picture below that that the outer parchment is quite dry (it also comes away from the inner bean with a nice crack when pressure from my thumb is applied).

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Referring to the DAFF instructions above, the bean is blue/grey in colour and feels reasonably hard, though I did not see the need to give it the ‘bite test’. In another two weeks I would expect the beans will be well and truly dry and begging to be roasted, at which time I will provide an update with another post.

In the mean time, have a look at my magazine Brew – Ways of Coffee on Flipboard for some great articles I have collected from around the web.

What’s Roasting #5 – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and El Salvador Siberia

Ethiopian woman coffee farmer with basket of c...

Ethiopian coffee farmer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After aiming my recent roasting efforts towards blending, it’s time to get back to some of my favourite regions and sample some single origins. I will also post a further update in the Crop to Cup series in the near future, as we get closer to roasting and sampling.

So, in searching for a fruity African varietal, this Ethiopian Yirgacheffe came along through the good folks at Ministry Grounds, who also supplied the following roasting advice on this coffee:

Go easy on the heat early on, allowing a gentle drying period. But build some momentum up to the start of first crack. When the beans go exothermic, expect a temp rate drop and try and anticipate this. Not letting the rate rise drop too much will develop the sugars and fruit flavours fully. Don’t go near second crack!

Vista panorámica de la ciudad de Santa Ana (El...

Santa Ana (El Salvador) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the same time I stumbled across a Central American variety in the form of the El Salvador Siberia Pacamara which placed 20th in the 2012 Cup of Excellence, and certainly read well in terms of its potential out of the roaster and into the cup:

Floral with green apple, pineapple and black cherry. Lovely honeycomb and sugarcane sweetness. A balanced cup.

I am looking forward to seeing whether the El Salvador lives up to the usual crispness of varieties from the Central American region, and likewise the usual blueberry explosion of the Yirgacheffe. Tasting review to follow soon.

 

What’s Brewing #5 – Indonesian Aceh Gayo

Young boy in Guel dance, Gayo country, Aceh pr...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s nice to review a coffee produced “locally” here in the Asia-Pacific region. This Indonesian Aceh Gayo Gr1 Organic was originally roasted to go in my Three Bean blend (see What’s Brewing #4), however I was obviously keen to assess it as an origin in its own right. Living here in Australia, there are a number of smaller coffee producing countries in the region, however most of my experience has been with those originating in New Guinea. Lets see how this one stacks up.

(Right: Young boy in Guel dance, Gayo country, Aceh province, Sumatra, Indonesia)

The Whack

What: Indonesian Aceh Gayo Gr1 Organic

* Origin: Gayo Megah Berseri estate in the Central Aceh region of Sumatra
* Altitude: 1400–1600 metres
* Processing: Semi washed, sun dried
* Harvest: March 2013

How: Latte, Aeropress, V60

Assessment:
Dry Aroma – Probably best described as spicy/herby with floral notes, mingled with brown sugar

Latte – Does surprisingly well through milk. I would not say there is a lot of body, though definitely enough to give it some punch, carry through the chocolatey undertones and floral notes. Performed better than expected here.

Aeropress – Very well suited to this form of brewing, possibly even shading the V60 in allowing the herb and floral flavours to come to the fore. Made me think a little of dandelion. The only negative here is it probably lacks a little sweetness.

V60 – Smooth, very smooth. Shows more sweetness than the Aeropress however a little less of the herbal and floral notes. The medium body and a crisp finish make this a very enjoyable brew overall.

Conclusion; Know this:
Though assessed across the three methods above, you may note no Espresso. No conspiracy here, I have simply been playing with the V60 a little more (or a lot judging by the dwindling filters), having only purchased this a couple of weeks ago. I had high hopes for this variety given it is a “local”, and certainly was not disappointed. This is one of the best all rounders across the different brewing methods I have had in recent times, and would highly recommend this either on its own or in a [blend](What’s Brewing #4).

Overall rating: 4.5/5

What’s Brewing #4 – Three Bean Blend

Three Bean Blend

In my last coffee related post, the aim of choosing the three particular bean varieties was to specifically create a blend that worked equally well in most, if not all forms of brewing that I use, both short and long, as well as espresso based milk drinks.

How did things turn out? Let’s take a look…

The Blend

  1. 60% Bazil Moreinha Foremosa dry processed
  2. 25% Guatemalan Atitlan Small Producers wet processed
  3. 15% Indonesian Aceh Gayo Gr 1 Organic wet processed

Although the destination I am trying to reach in a blend is probably one I will never fully attain, improving with each attempt will be satisfying enough for me. As my drinking methods involve many styles, creating a blend to suit them all is not likely to be an easy one. All things considered, the current blend worked out quite well.

The Whack

What – Three bean blend (60% Brazilian, 25% Guatemalan, 15% Indonesian). All roasted on the lighter side, with the Brazilian light to medium.

How – 160ml single shot latte, Aeropress, Espresso

AssessmentDry Aroma – Probably best described as caramel and nutty, with hints of brown sugar and a little fruit.

Latte – Mild caramel flavour with traces of fruit; has a lengthy finish as the body of the Brazilian pushes through. The extra body certainly made this work well in a milk based drink, without overpowering the creaminess and fruit tones of the Indonesian and Guatemalan varieties.

Aeropress – When brewed in the Aeropress, notable body was evident, with a crisp fruity sweetness, again with a nice long finish. Some of the herby / floral traces from the Indonesian also shone through.

Espresso – The more concentrated form of an espresso brought out the creamy caramel and brown sugar flavours of the blend. There was still a good amount of acidity, and crisp sweetness remaining, however the floral tones of the Indonesian were lost.

Conclusion; Know This – Overall I was quite happy with this blend, which worked particularly well as the base for a milk drink, yet also short or long on its own. What would I change? Probably a little more body for the milk drink, and a little more of the fruitiness for all forms of brewing. That will be for the next blend!

Overall Rating – 4/5

What’s Roasting #3 – El Salvador Finca El Capulin

Ubicación del subcontinente centroamericano en...

Central American subcontinent. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s in the roaster this week has been inspired by a tweet from @ministrygrounds, who supply the green beans used in all of my roasts:

“Beautiful new Central American coffees now available as green coffee”

So, on this advice we head to Central America for an origin from the Los Bellotos farm in El Salvador – Finca El Capulin

Fast fact on the farm (courtesy Ministry Grounds):

The farm management practice the ‘agobio’ or ‘parras’ system of coffee farming whereby the branches of the trees are bent in order to provoke new growth. This prevents the root system of the trees to be damaged (as opposed to other stumping methods) and promotes more efficient nutrient capturing. The ‘agobio’ or ‘parras’ method of coffee farming requires more space between the coffee trees and therefore this allows for less competition for nutrients amongst the trees and a less intense and more sustainable farming practice.

A second batch in the roaster today is a South American, this time of Colombian origin, Santa Rita La Chaparral Special Reserve. This varietal has been purchased with a view to doing a little blending over the coming weeks, a continuation of my exploration into this area which will be further expanded in a follow-up post to the recent Up Around the Blend earlier this month.

On the eight farms that make up this specialty Colombian coffee (courtesy Ministry Grounds):

These are “old Fashion Farms” where the coffee is handpicked, wet processed and sun dried in a “patio Quindiano” or concrete patio located in the roof of their houses.

Both batches roasted well, with the heat a little higher than usual given the cooler outdoor roasting conditions (compared to the usual ambient roasting temperature for this part of the world anyway). Both were taken half way to second crack, which produced nice, even batches, and once settled for a few days, should be great in the cup.

Something off the Vine on today’s roasting.

Tasting review to follow soon!