Q&A About Coffee Roasting

 Roasting Ethiopia

Roasting Ethiopia

Well today I just finished boxing up bags of coffee for shipping. Earlier I headed to Phoenix & Scottsdale to drop off coffee for local delivery. Its great fun to see customers receiving their coffee and grabbing their bag(s) and taking in that fresh roasted coffee smell. There's nothing like it. 

I get a lot of questions about my coffee roasting. Questions like; Is it hard to do? Why do you roast this coffee to a certain color and another coffee a different color? Why don't you have really dark coffee beans? Why isn't your espresso really dark? Why isn't your coffee beans oily? What would your Mom and Dad say about you roasting coffee?

All great questions AND depending on the roasted you talk to...some of the answers may vary slightly. I thought I would take some time and provide you my answers...so here we go! 

For me...roasting coffee is like cooking, roasting or grilling. You read a lot of recipes and learn terms of the trade and you get a lot of advice from others who have been successful doing it. That's how I started. Let's be clear here....When we moved to TX/NM it was NOT my intention to run a coffee shop let alone learn about coffee. This was Johnny's idea. He's the one that said "Hey, let's run a coffee shop and sell coffee, talk to bicyclist and hang out with the locals. I looked at it as an attachment to a brick & mortar building which wasn't me. However, that all changed and I L❤️VE roasting coffee. 

 Fresh roasted beans.  

Fresh roasted beans.  

I roast our coffee to varying degrees of roast. From where the bean originated to how it was processed will determine how dark I will roast that bean. Coffee beans that come from Kenya, Java, Hawaii and some others are usually roasted lighter so their "trademark" characteristics and flavors will come out of the roast. 

As you continue to roast the coffee bean will get darker. The sugars are beginning to caramelize. The more the sugar caramelizes the less sweetness, however the more you roast (and this is where it can get a little touchy) the more you can break down the bitter tasting compounds and cook out of the bean. That is the delicate balance I find...not too much sweet and not too much of the bitterness. 

Of course where the bean is originated will also determine how dark you should roast. But I have an opinion on that and here it is. Super dark roast is terrible! Okay I said it. Your burnt, oily coffee is NOT the way to enjoy coffee. However, I do not blame most people as that is what has been imbedded in your brain to enjoy. Coffee roasted that much is done for a number of reasons. To hide inferior tasting coffee. All coffee pretty much tastes the same burnt. Whether its this "in-season" crop or one that has been sitting in a warehouse drying out, roasting it all super dark and oily tastes the same. Also roasting everything beyond the city plus roast brings continuity in taste. Yes, everything does taste the same...burnt! 

 Fresh roasted coffee ready to be shipped

Fresh roasted coffee ready to be shipped

Coffee is a plant...a living plant. Many of the farmers work countless hours and devote their time i carrying for their crop. They have to spend $$$ with processing facilities to prepare the cherries before it leaves the country. Your Arabica beans which are some of your best quality beans grows in very high altitudes only to be hand picked by the local and brought down the sides of mountains on their backs & heads and utilizing donkeys. How could I burn that precious coffee bean...I can't...I won't! 

I am not saying that a dark roast espresso is not good. I do roast a blend for espresso and at times, I do like a blend of beans the offer a fruitiness, some caramel and a little smokiness but NOT oily. That oil gets rancid in my opinion. 

So that is why I roast the coffee the way I do and why so many other roasters do as well. I really strive to get the origin flavors, enjoy some sweetness and remove the bitterness to have a well balanced cup. 

 And to the cup... 

And to the cup... 

There are so many micro roasters out there (and macro roasters too) that strive to provide you the best cup. What's even nicer is like me, you can have fresh roasted coffee delivered right to your door. When I roast I always add a card that lets you know the date I roasted your coffee. I typically roast on Mondays & Thursdays so on Tuesdays & Fridays I'm delivering it to your home or office fresh or shipped that next day to be at your door within 2-3 days. Feel free to order online, you can choose the local delivery option (if you reside in the Phoenix Metro Area) and I will deliver it to you or have it shipped and I will take great care in roasting and packaging quickly to get to your door. 

My final thought will be the last question I will answer...What would my Mom and dad say about me roasting coffee for a living. I think they would be proud. They would be proud because I love what I do and I try to perfect my craft each and every time I roast. I'm sure my parents would be expecting fresh roasted coffee weekly and letting me know their favorites. After all...they are the ones that got me started drinking coffee!

If you have any questions or have special needs for an event or gifts, you can always email me shawn@johnnylolitas.com 

Lolita 💋