Tuesday, October 23, 2007

About Chazzano Coffee

About 5 years ago, my mother-in-law asked me what I wanted to for my birthday. I had been searching about coffee on the web and I spotted a Fresh Roast home coffee roaster and a few pounds of beans for $65. I was used to ordering through Starbucks Encore program several pounds of coffee every month. After the first roast using the Fresh Roast roaster, I was hooked. Up to that point, that was the best cup of coffee that I had ever tasted. Throughout the years, I used the Fresh Roast Plus, Fresh Roast Plus 8, Cafe Rosta, Nesco (formerly Zach & Dani's) and then the I-Roast and I-Roast 2 with great success. After several years of roasting for myself, I needed a larger roaster so that I could share my passion for specialty coffee with my friends.
I began to use the AeroRost which roasts about 2 lbs of beans. When I was working in Chicago for two years, about 30 people came over to my house to drink my coffee. It became an incredible time to spend quality time with friends, an easy cupping party and a way to experiment with different blends. During my first year in Chicago, a great friend, Eric Diamond, designed the Chazzano logo for me as a present. The logo and graphics were so clever and connected to my personality. That was when Chazzano Coffee LLC was born. (The "ch" in Chazzano is pronounced like the "ch" in "Bach" or "Loch.") The logo provided the impetus for me to found Chazzano Coffee (tm). I invested in a 4lb roaster from cafecoffees.com called the MicroTosta Cafe and then the 8lb Tosta Caffe. I have over 300 lbs of green coffee from different countries throughout the world. I am enjoying the adventure in the world of coffee roasting and specialty coffee.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I can't believe it's not Caffeinated!

I am ashamed to admit that my new Decaf Blend is delicious and full of chocolate and berry notes. I have finally found decaffeinated green beans from my favorite broker, http://www.freshcoffeebeans.com/, that rival many caffeinated specialty beans. I have been drinking this coffee for the last two weeks because I still don't believe that it is really decaffeinated.
I quote freshcoffeebeans.com, "We find the Royal Select (Mountain Water) Process to retain significantly more flavor than other water processed coffees. There may be a number of reasons for this - most likely the freshness and qualilty of the beans that are being decaffed, and the fact that RS decaf is not polished after decaffing."
This is the first time that decaffing has not also removed the flavor.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

French Press/ Press Pot Continued

I must remind you if you use a coffee press pot/ french press that it is important to use the proper amount of coffee. For a 32 oz. press pot use 5 somewhat heaping coffee scoops. For a 48oz press pot, use 8 somewhat heaping coffee scoops. Please don't brew specialty coffee that is roasted with care in a drip coffee maker and G-d forbid in a coffee urn. I have the same reaction to coffee urn coffee as Harry Potter's friends have to Lord Voldemort. My main fear is that I will die and go to the world-to-come and find out that they only serve over cooked coffee.

The Art and Science of Roasting Coffee

For the past two years, I have been roasting with the Micro TostaCaffe from cafecoffees.com. I can roast up to 4lbs. with excellent results. It comes with a puffer module that blows the smoke away from the beans and away from the house. A thermometer is easily used to determine the temperature of the beans. I purchased a Data Acquisition Module that Don Hudson of Cafecoffees developed that allows me to collect data about the roast on my laptop computer with either spreadsheet or graph capabilities. This last piece of equipment has allowed me to repeat favorite roasts more accurately. I prefer this roaster to other excellent roasters on the market because of the large capacity of the drum. It is easy to see the development of the roast both by hearing the cracks (1st and 2nd crack), by the color, and by the smell. Before I attempt to duplicate a favorite roast, I examine my meticulous notes.

Coffee roasting combines both science and art. Each roasting batch has different flavor potentials depending on the temperature- the speed at which it reaches that temperature and the duration of roast at that temperature. If the beans are roasted light, I am sometimes surprised at the complexity of the cup. If the beans are roasted towards full city, the beans now have a different flavor profile. The length of time that the beans degas (release CO2) changes the bouquet (smell of freshly roasted beans) and the aroma (the smell of the brewed coffee). Sometimes coffee beans are best if consumed within 3 days. Sometimes, I forget about a roast and let it sit in vacuum sealed bags for 1 week and I am surprised at how mature the coffee smells. By mature, I mean that the coffee has begun to develop new interesting flavor characteristics. Like wine, coffee can remind you of flavors as diverse as tobacco, flowers, fruit, leather, chocolate, caramel, medicinal (bad), or herbs. In fact, coffee has double the amount of flavor characteristics as wine: 1500 to 750.
There are a plethora of steps to an outstanding cup of coffee. 1. The science of planting the coffee trees with the optimal levels of nutrients in the soil. 2. The care by which the pickers choose the best batch of beans and separate the defects(moldy, insects, debris, unripe, etc.) from the rest of the batch. 3. Shipping the green beans quickly to the coffee roaster. 4. The art of the coffee roaster that brings the freshest and most interesting flavor profile to the coffee. 5. The science of brewing the coffee at 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit with the proper amount of coffee to make sure that the coffee is neither over or under- extracted. 6. Serving the coffee quickly after brewing. There are over 100 steps from the coffee plant to the coffee cup.
Blending different coffees is also an art form. Coffee roasters (people) need to cup their single origin coffees at different degree of roasts to determine what are the characteristics of the particular bean. Beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Brazil, Panama, India, Rwanda, Hawaii, Kenya, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Sumatra, Indonesia, etc. all have different potential. From one year to the next the quality of the beans from a particular region can increase or decrease. Roasters (people) know what to expect from each of their different beans but there is still a great deal of guesswork and experimentation involved to create an interesting and delicious blend.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A French Press or Press Pot

There cannot be a simpler way to make excellent coffee consistently. Here is one model of a press pot. I just purchased a 32 oz. stainless steel press pot from Starbucks that will come with me for vacations or business trips.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Highlander and the Golden Cup of Coffee

The TV show "Highlander" was one of my favorite shows ever. The main character would say after a battle to the death (of his foe) and after he cut off the other highlander's head, "There can only be one!" That is how I feel about the French Press method of brewing coffee. For me, there is only one way to brew coffee. The French Press is ideal because you can control the temperature of the water carefully. There is no paper filter basket that causes the flavor oils to remain in the basket. With the French Press, one has complete control over the brewing time.

Here is the simple formula for making excellent coffee.
1. First, use fresh and expertly roasted specialty coffee.
2. Grind the coffee in a burr grinder a few minutes before you need it (if possible), not too coarse, not too powdery. Coarse grinds will be under-extracted and powdery grounds (espresso) will be over-extracted and will produce gritty tasting coffee.
3. Measure 5 somewhat heaping scoops of freshly ground coffee into the 32 oz. French press.
4. Pour water that is between 195-202 degrees Fahrenheit into the press.
5. Let it steep for 1.5 minutes

Monday, March 12, 2007

A Decent Decaf? Maybe...

I just roasted 2 lbs of decaf Panama. It is not bad- a bit smoky and a bit sweet but not very interesting. There are no flavors that are comforting or intriguing. I will continue to experiment until I can roast and brew a decaf that is worth drinking. Life is too short to drink mediocre coffee.

Cupping and Blending- The Best Blend, so far...

At the Chicago CoffeeFest, I learned how to cup coffee. Cupping is just advanced tasting. The goal is to carefully document the flavor, aftertaste, and defects of each single origin coffee. Cupping is very similar to wine tasting. In fact, coffee has twice the amount of flavors and chemicals than wine has. Coffee is actually more interesting to cup or to taste than wine. Great coffee should be interesting to drink. One should be able to taste different flavors without adding milk, sugar, or artificial flavors.
I have finally developed a blend of Central American coffees with some African coffees that is creamy and sweet and has an incredible floral aroma. I have been told that blending more than a few coffees is not recommended. However, I added a few scoops of another coffee to my Giggles Blend which includes 5 different coffees and I truly found the best coffee that I have ever had. I have read that blending should be done after each individual coffee is roasted. Again, I roast them all together. The new "Rock the House" blend will help you give up adding milk- I hope.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Decent Decaf Coffee?

I have roasted some of the most interesting single origin or blends with notes of chocolate, sometimes berry, sometimes with hints of nuts, sometimes just a smooth full bodied elixir. I have never tasted a good decaf coffee. The hunt is on for a decaf coffee that one can compare to a complex and intriguing glass of wine. Will I succeed? Stay tuned.