Posts

Coffee and Developing Countries

A stable economy is critical to a developing country. And for a coffee producing country, the coffee sector can be instrumental in supporting a stable economy.

Coffee, Cancer, and California

To get our collective head wrapped around this one, I think its good to break it down into the following areas; 1) the facts as we know them 2) the law as it...

Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Coffee

I’ve read several chapters already and am bouncing around rather than reading it cover-to-cover. So far I’ve found this book will be a great resource to have...

UK Proposes Latte Levy

I think too many people have focused solely on the sins of k-cups and missed the forest for the trees. The industry has a lot of wasteful plastic that can be...

My Take On The SCA Dubai Kerfuffle

I see this as an opportunity to include more people in the competition and to show a small part of the world that LGBT people are just like them...

Considering Competition Among Farmers

Removing competition is a fast-track to mediocrity, as producers will have little incentive to innovate and produce new and/or novel products.

Determining the Price Of Green Coffee

Telling a group of farmers that they should negotiate a better price is certainly a hard truth, but one that over-simplifies the problem. The same goes for t...

World Coffee Producers Forum, Day 1

When it came time for Q&A, the farmers were asking for concrete answers; actionable solutions. They wanted to know how their situation was going to be improv...

The Maillard Reaction: A Practical Guide

The maillard reaction may be the single most consequential event in determining the sensorial aspects of the final product, be it a brewed coffee, an espress...

As Indonesia Rediscovers Quality

There is already a lot of inherent quality in a lot of regions in Indonesia; this means quality breeds of coffee trees, favorable soil and climate, and in ma...

Origin Trip: Solok, West Sumatra, Indonesia

Our first stop of the day was a for breakfast. We had lontong (pressed rice) with a curry sauce and veggies poured over top. After a quick fuel-up and waitin...

How To: Avoid The Flick And Crash

The flick and crash is a roasting term coined by Scott Rao in his book titled The Coffee Roaster's Companion. The term is part of his second commandment of r...

Coffee Origin Trip: Revisiting K'Ho Coffee

Despite their uphill battle, Rolan and Josh are making great strides in preserving the rich, cultural heritage of the K'Ho people through their coffee and ha...

Supply Chain In A Box

La Viet is a unique coffee establishment in Dalat, Vietnam, where under one roof you have a dry mill, a warehouse, a roastery, a retail production space, a c...

How To: Minimally Automate Artisan

Even if you don't want to or can't automate your roast via Artisan, there are tasks you can have Artisan perform to improve your experience.

On Roasting: Effects of Airflow

The converging temps illustrate the effect increased airflow has on reducing pockets of hot air in the drum. At a certain sweet-spot of air flow + heat appli...

Coffee Origin Trip: West Java, Indonesia

It's refreshing to find a group of farmers actively exploring and pursuing quality. Improved quality often leads to improved marketability and eventually.

One Man's Campaign Against Cold Brew

While cold brew isn't going to showcase a coffee's more subtle nuances, it is still a product in-demand by a great-many customers.

We Are All Tribalists

Normal tribalism is neither bad nor good. It simply is something to understand and be aware of and doing so—understanding and being aware of tribalism—is a c...

Flavor Images and Meta-Flavors

One theory is that our brains create mental constructs that represent or codify a particular flavor—a sort of short-hand for the complex flavor of, say a giv...

Flavor, Subjectivity, and Cultural Biases

The actual act of tasting and smelling something is the act of collecting and interpreting data. The collection part is largely the same across all people...

How To: Utilize Artisan Alerts

With the combination of condition-based rules and roaster automation, it's possible to create a program that goes beyond simply hitting time and temperature ...

Roaster Automation; One View

Automation may seem to fly in the face of what it means to be an artisanal, craft roaster but the two two don't have to be at odds. Automation can help a cra...

How To: Install HotTop HTRI Control Board

When stacked, the two boards allow one to control the roaster and simultaneously read up to four thermocouples. Using roast-profiling software and the HTRI, ...

Balinese Coffee: Where To From Here

The need to advance Balinese coffee must come from non-economic incentives such as the preservation of their agrarian heritage, retention of farmland as farm...

Producers' Optionality

The other day I started a train-of-thought post, wondering what an antifragile coffee farm would look like. In this post, I continue that thought by explorin...

Antifragile Coffee Farms

How would we get coffee farms that are already robust and resilient advanced to an antifragile state, and what does that even look like?

Coffee Should Be More Expensive, Or Not

To say that 'coffee should be more expensive' is an oversimplification of the problem, not to mention the fact that arbitrarily raising the price of a given ...

Roast Physics: Moisture and Airflow

Airflow affects the humidity, which affects the temperature and water activity, which affects the rate of browning. Therefore, what you are trying to achieve...

As Third Wave Coffee Matures

More people in the Specialty Coffee industry are talking about proper roast development versus under development and this is a good thing.

Who's Quality Is It Anyway?

If a producer is able to sell their coffee at a price acceptable to them and one that supports their desired lifestyle, is it in anyone's best interest try t...

Mill Project In Bali Complete

The project to build a coffee mill in Kintamani, Bali has completed. There were successes and failures but by-and-large I regard the project as a success.

Roaster's Guild Retreat, 2015

Each year the Roaster's Guild organizes a retreat to get folks from around the world together to learn, network, develop skills, and share information and ex...

Wet Processing: Using Starter Cultures

Using a starter culture can help standardize the dominate microbe strains over multiple batches, can help reduce soak time, and can possibly help normalize t...

Seeds Of Change

Updated September 17, 2015 I started an experiment back in December by pre-germinating different coffee seeds from the same producer (K'Ho Coffee in Vietnam)...

The Chains That Bind

Each link in the value chain needs to make a profit. With each additional link in the chain, the price to purchase the product increases. The need for profi...

Coffee is to Wine as Espresso is to Brandy

Espresso is similar to brandy in that less water is pushed through ground coffee at high pressure, resulting in a higher concentration of total dissolved sol...

Coffee Origin Trip: Dalat, Vietnam

The co-op grows only Arabica coffee, which is rare in Vietnam, where 97% of coffee produced is the robusta. They grow several different high-quality varietie...

Coffee's Inherent Quality

All subsequent processing of the bean after cherry processing is manipulation of the existing bean ingredients; the organic acids, sugars, fats, carbohydrate...

Counterfeit Coffee

It's important to understand that Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is not from any one specific tree varietal or cultivar. Rather, it is legally defined as any...

Why Fair Trade Has Failed Coffee Producers

Fair Trade has failed to achieve its mandate; to demonstratively get more money into the hands of coffee farmers. It has outgrown its ability to affect mean...

Sustainable Coffee: Ethical Trade

Working with entities that pass premiums up the chain is the best way to help improve the lives of those who produce coffee and who are vulnerable to poverty...

Starbucks: Friend Or Foe

While Starbucks has done a superb job in creating a successful, global brand, which introduced espresso drinks to mainstream America, that brand has since dr...

Specialty Coffee VS Coffee Snobbery

What the industry and we specialty coffee nerds find superior in coffee may not be what our customers want. I saw this time and again when providing samples ...

Coffee Origin Trip: Kintamani, Bali

It's harvest season, so I got to see red, ripe cherries, which have a very subtle, sweet flavor when eaten. I also tasted a coffee flower, which tasted like...

Change Is Brewing

The time has come to again announce a big change at Oil Slick. In just a few short weeks we'll be moving to Singapore and pausing online retail sales of cof...

Elevation and Quality

Coffee prefers high elevation in tropical regions where it can collect energy from the hot sun all day in order to grow slowly in the cool air at night. With...

Winning Hearts and Minds (And Palates)

It was my opportunity to attack the known problem of crummy restaurant and hotel coffee by educating the culinary professionals early in their careers about ...

Sustainable Coffee: Fair Trade Coffee

Fair Trade is an initiative that aims to improve the livelihood of small producers by ensuring a minimum price for their coffee. Farms participating in Fair ...

Coffee Brewing Temps

What I found was interesting. First of all, and not so surprising, the Chemex bleeds heat pretty readily. Even though I preheat it and keep it on a towel ra...

Sustainable Coffee: Ethical Consumption

Ethical consumption is the act of consuming goods based on feelings of responsibility toward society but to truly affect change a premium must be paid

Sustainable Coffee: Organic Coffee

The organic coffee market has grown tremendously primarily due to consumer interest in the conditions under which coffee is grown but also because of the pre...

Sustainable Coffee Initiatives

The big question is; are they successful at leveling the playing field for coffee producers or have they become a marketing ploy?

Three Ways You Are Ruining Your Brew

It's easy to fall into a routine with your coffee ritual, especially considering you're making the coffee in an under-caffeinated state. But if you eliminate...

Roaster's Guild Retreat

I've just returned from a four-day retreat with the Roaster's Guild, an official trade guild of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, or SCAA, and man...

Coffee Brewing Gear: A Buying Guide

Great coffee is more than just getting freshly roasted beans — it's also brewing the right way at home. It doesn't cost a lot to get the right gear and get ...

Our Farmer's Market Coffee Shop

We've met so many people who are in different phases of their coffee journey, like the gentleman from St. Louis who was visiting his daughter and who roasts ...

What Is Specialty Coffee

The philosophical answer is that specialty coffee is the responsibility of everyone involved in the chain of custody of a coffee and that includes the consumer.

Coffee Gear: Able Brewing System

The Brewing System is also clean and elegant-looking in white ceramic. This is something that will look nice at a the table when you are entertaining guests.

Brewing Methods And Coffee Filters

Coffee body is one of the key elements to how much you enjoy the coffee and the primary way you can control body is through the filter.

Anatomy Of A Roast

Different roasters will have different names for them and not everyone follows the same theories, so if you talk to someone and they tell you the drying phas...

Why Use A Burr Grinder

Burr grinders are preferred over blade grinders for a couple of reasons. The most important reason is that a burr grinder crushes the beans between two burrs.

Why Lighter Roasts Are Sweeter

I focus on light roasts because the light roast brings out the specific flavors and aromas of the individual coffee varietal, whereas darker roasts tend to m...

What Is Natural Processing

Natural or dry coffee processing is one of the oldest methods of processing coffees.  Once the cherries are picked from the tress, they're cleaned then sprea...

Brewing By Weight

When I brew coffee I always brew by weight instead of by volume. This is a more accurate and consistent way to measure your water-to-coffee ratio, which I li...

Coffee Brewing Tips

Making great coffee is easy, as long as you follow a few basic rules.  These rules apply to any method you use, but I prefer hand methods, such as a Chemex, ...

Coffee Brew Ratio

One of the first concepts to understand if you want to make consistently-good coffee at home is the coffee-to-water ratio, or brew ratio. According to the re...

Summer Favorites: Iced Coffee

I'm a bit late to this post, but last week I received my new Hario Fretta pour-over iced coffee maker and I'm really happy with it. It's very easy to use.  T...

How To: Clean The HotTop Exhaust Fan

Byproducts of the roasting process present in the smoke — namely tars such as creosote — collect on the fan as the smoke is ventilated from the drum. Therefo...

How To: Install HotTop ET & BT Probes

This step-by-step, illustrated guide shows you how to cleanly and permanently install two thermocouples in your HotTop to collect meaningful, useful roast data.

How To: Install ET & BT Probes The Easy Way

One of the primary advantages of using a thermocouple is that you can get it into the bean mass and get temperature readings from the outsides of the beans. ...