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Consistency in roasting – A constant improvement

October 15, 2008

Many coffee roasters, ourselves included, pride themselves with the consistency of their roasting team.  This is unfortunately hard to measure unless you are always drinking the same coffees from the same roasters.  If not, you’re left to simply believe what your coffee roaster tells you….that they are indeed consistent.  At Fratello this isn’t ‘just talk’, its something we are constantly improving, and constantly testing. 

 

We begin in the coffee lab with the sourcing and cupping of fresh coffees received direct from Origin.  Often this is after we’ve traveled to Origin and worked directly with the farmers.   These coffees are then analyzed using the Cup of Excellence cupping strategies/methods.  This helps guide us to the right region, cooperative and farm we want to work with in a particular country.   Each sample is cupped a minimum of 4 times before moving on to the final round of cupping. 

Once the winning green coffee shipment is received, several samples are roasted in our ½ lb roaster to find the proper profile and roast color which enhances the characteristics found in this particular coffee.  The winning roast sample is then brought to the roasting floor to implement into our production roasts.
 

 

At Fratello, this is not the end of our cupping process for this coffee…but the beginning.  We take several hours a day to analyze and document what occurs with every single roast we produce every single day.  Fratello currently has 3 (and soon 4) different sized small batch roasters, and two highly skilled master roasters that use this equipment everyday. These variables make it challenging to achieve consistency on a daily basis, and this is why we check and document the following criteria on every roast:

  1. The date
  2. The coffee being roasted
  3. The pounds of green coffee being roasted
  4. Our target final bean temperature
  5. Which coffee roaster was used
  6. The name of the roast master
  7. The time we achieved the “first crack”
  8. The total time it took to finish the roast
  9. The profile we used to achieve all of the above
  10. We then do a color scan of the beans and document this number

 

 A sample of every roast is then collected and brought into our lab to be cupped.  At this point we are able to re-evaluate and tweak our roasting parameters to achieve the original goal of designing this coffee profile.  

Its this constant tweaking that helps us master true roasting consistency.  After all, coffee is a delicate product that changes over time and this is why we’re constantly tweaking our roasting profiles to consistently achieve greatness in this bean.

We want you to enjoy our coffee as much as we do!

Russ