Profiles Against Faded & Age Notes (PAFAN)

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Postby rojo » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:55 am

Hey Kids,

I'm curious if anyone has experience or has experimented with roast profiles, not limited to darker roasting, that are often effective at covering age as coffees begin to fade over time.

More specifically if folks find that stretching out the overall profile as opposed to shortening it is helpful, or vice versa. Conversely, if not the entire roast, maybe in the development phase post first crack... I want to assume there's a general approach that can draw some of that astringency or dryness off the back end and I would assume a longer development time might sweeten the finish, however the longer development can kinda mute acidity and dry the coffee out even more, so when it's aging, I don't know if that's the best approach.

Do Ladies and Gents have any constructive input on this conundrum?
Thanks and cheers.

Ryan
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Postby msm » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:35 pm

That's something to ponder. I think it can be somewhat sensitive too, as none of us really want to serve "old" coffee. I would add that I do not believe it would ever be our intention as proud craftsmen and women to serve any coffees that we would not be completely happy to drink ourselves, and truly believe in.

That being said, I have tasted some incredible coffees that would be considered by many to be outside the age range of acceptability. I'm reminded of a Natural Processed Java Type Nicaragua from a local roaster. It did not even really begin to open up until it had a year on it. I would dare say it tasted better with some age. Even a couple years out, it was juicy and fruity, definitely very strong in the cup and aromatic performance.

In one place I worked we had purchased 8 bags of a fresh crop giling basah Lintong Sumatra. It had been off the boat for about 2 months when we received it. 5 bags were in Grainpro and 3 were standard breathable burlap. I opened the grainpro first and over the course of a couple months had used 3 bags. Then I realized I probably should have used the burlap first, as it would age differently. So I switched and found that with the same profile, the coffee in burlap was more flat and less pungent grapefruit/ripe mango. Because it had dried a little more, I wound up decreasing the overall roasting time, and dropping it 10 degrees cooler. I also found more of the sweet, tangy acidity that we liked so much about this coffee with a post 1st crack development of about 3 minutes (5 minutes for the coffee in grainpro). Ultimately, I found that these coffees were able to maintain a pretty solid uniformity in cup qualities over the course of aging a few months.

Currently, I work with a Diedrich IR-3. We have a coffee that was harvested in 2009. However, it was vacuum sealed in foil pouches, and has been stored in a relatively stable environment. Is it fermented? Big time. Is it good? It's incredible! But in these situations, it comes down to subjective personal tastes. I have experimented a bit, first taking it a fairly slow 17 minutes with a post first crack development of close to 3 minutes, and significantly shy of 2nd crack. It is so soft and dry that I can't apply too much heat too rapidly. This delivered a mellow baked apple/pear quality, overall pretty flat though. Messing around a bit more, I found it opened up beautifully by arriving at first crack a little sooner, and essentially cutting heat, allowing the conductivity to carry it to finish, with a post 1st crack development of 1min. 30-45 seconds. It delivers raspberry/strawberry jam, a thick syrupy body, ripe pear and sweet malt. I don't know if it can yield anything more, but I'm probably going to continue messing around with it.

I would certainly say that some coffees by nature and process age more gracefully than others. I think that finding sweetness in an older Indian or Indonesian would be far easier than a fully washed, dense Latin American Typica no matter how you treated it. I would also think that your roasting gear would play a significant role. (When I was using an Ambex YM 15, I found it incredibly challenging to keep the drum from getting too hot, thereby really eliminating the possibility of roasting any larger batches quickly.) Along with that goes the intended goal or purpose for the particular coffee - blending, espresso, straight, etc. These factors would help me personally determine how I would treat a coffee over the course of its lifespan, and perhaps subsequently beyond.

Hope that can help a little.

Michael
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Postby rojo » Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:21 am

Thanks.

There's definitely some nuggets of wisdom in there that are ponderable..
I am thinking specifically of washed, shb or shg coffees. These ones tend to get a little baggy past the prime, if not baggy then lend a slight dry taste or astringency that increases the older it gets. Obviously at the first notice of it during QC you think to make adjustments to the roast and develop a threshold or something to qualify it for service as a single origin offering or what not.

I'm pondering really just the approach when age becomes present at the cupping table and you are bound to be working with the coffee for a certain time into that lifespan. I think most Roasters encounter coffees that start to age or fade from time to time because of storage issues or projections were off or whatever reason. I'm curious about when it comes time to roast that stuff, what is your strategy to make the most of it? Like I said, I'm prone to thinking I need to kick up the caramelization factor and try to use maxed out sweetness and slightly darker profile to cover the dryness up to a point when we say it's too old or run out before it is really too old. On the other hand I do fear a coffee slightly past crop or whatever is simply dryer and the stretching for that carmelization will add more dryness, so maybe fast and tight might make up in acidity on the front end to disguise a little baggedy action...

If anyone out there has the tools to experiment on this with a little roaster, or has experimented, I'd be interested in hearing about it. Cheers.
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Postby pbarter » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:40 am

I've found that older beans seem to come back to live to some degree with faster, hotter starts.
Patrick Barter
Gracenote Coffee Roasters
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