Sunday, March 11, 2012

Frank, do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?

Last week, during a meeting at Chazzano Coffee Roasters, someone asked me, "Frank, do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?" Funny that they asked at that time, because I had forgotten that I was roasting coffee, the Nicaragua Jinotega specifically! I cooled down the beans at 473 degrees Fahrenheit, a true Italian Roast. There are some roasters that roast all of their coffees to a light, City or Cinnamon roast. The City Roast brings out everything that the bean offers, the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are other roasters who roast everything very dark to a French or Italian Roast because they either want to bring out the rich pungency of dark roasts or murder any of the taints that come from specialty or cheap commercial coffee. I tend to roast somewhere in between the two. For Kenya, a light roast brings out the apricot and apple notes. For Sumatra Mandheling, a dark Vienna/ French Roast brings out the earthy and chocolaty notes, while a medium Full City roasts brings out the floral, jasmine and lavender notes. I love roasting most of our coffees to a Full City roast where the fruit and chocolate join to produce a full bodied balanced flavor profile.

However, I never roast coffee to an Italian Roast on purpose. Let's review roast profiles. A City Roast is a light roast. Full City is a medium roast. Vienna is a dark roast without any oil (the flavor oils) on top of the beans. A French Roast is darker than Vienna and you'll see a lot of the flavor oils on the bean. Finally, an Italian Roast is roasted so dark that the oils have evaporated. So, how did the Italian Roast of the Nicaragua Jinotega Las Camelia taste? It depends. As a French Press, I wouldn't dare try it- it'll taste carbony, burnt, and the black licorice will kill you with its boldness. On the other hand, as a straight espresso shot or a macchiato- this roast should be on your bucket list. The black licorice melts into a caramelly sweetness- this will put hair on your chest- whether it's desirable or not. As a macchiato (stained with a dollop of cream) the licorice and caramel will just remind you of your favorite dessert. So the answer to "Do you ever roast to an Italian Roast?" is: "Why, yes I do, but only accidentally..."

Plum Market and Whole Foods Troy

Did you know that we give away our unsold coffee to homeless shelters 2.5 weeks after roasting? Truly, it is still great coffee compared to the outrageously old coffee on the shelves in many big box stores. However, the aroma begins to disappear after 3-4 weeks after roasting and life can be too short. You deserve fresh roasted coffee. That is why I was always hesitant to sell Chazzano Coffee in any market. Our first entrance in the specialty food market was Whole Foods Market in Troy. I haven't lost any sleep because it has sold quite well!  Now, our coffee is available on the shelves of Plum Market in West Bloomfield and Bloomfield Hills. Chazzano Coffee will be available in the Ann Arbor Plum Market very soon. If you shop in those specialty food markets, pick up a bag of fresh roasted Chazzano Coffee.

At Whole Foods Market in Troy, the following fresh roasted Chazzano Coffees are sold in 12oz. bags:
1. Ethiopia Harrar
2. Sumatra Mandheling FTO
3. Papua New Guinea FTO
4. Mexico Chiapas FTO

In Plum Market, in addition to the four listed above, the following Chazzano coffee is available in 8oz. bags:
5. Nicaragua Jinotega Las Camelia
6. Decaf Peru FTO SWP
7. Decaf Honduras FTO SWP
8. Peru FTO

All of Chazzano Coffee is Kosher and Kosher for Passover. If you or your family shops for Passover, pick up a bag after you stroll the Kosher for Passover aisle.

Almond Milk is Kosher for Passover- But I'm not impressed

Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates and celebrates our Exodus from Egypt, is arriving during the first week of April 2012. On Friday, April 6, Jews around the world will celebrate with the first Seder- a celebratory meal where we sing with joy and recount the story of when we escaped Egyptian slavery and became a free people. Although this is a joyous time, it complicates the coffee business. There are some foods that are not Kosher for the week of Passover, but are Kosher throughout the year. Soy beans and rice are not Kosher for Passover. For people who cannot properly digest dairy or have ethical problems with consuming dairy, what are the choices for non-dairy cappuccino/latte/macchiato drinkers during Passover? So, we are experimenting with the one and only solution- Almond Milk. Almond Milk is Kosher and Kosher for Passover, but how does it hold up? We completed several tests. 

Although it is true that if you put cream or sugar in Chazzano Coffee, G-d cries and an angel loses its wings, I know that some of our customers appreciate a bit of milk in their coffee. We tried the almond milk with fresh brewed French pressed Peru FTO. We were not impressed. It imparted a metallic taste- almondy but not a pleasant addition to the coffee.

We then steamed the milk for a latte or cappuccino with Ethiopia Sidamo. Again, it tasted sharp and the almond milk really doesn't froth well. The consistency is airy and bubbly and the mouthfeel is like washing your mouth out with soap. Throughout the next few weeks, we'll try different brands of almond milk to find out if there are suitable alternatives to soy and rice milk. 

All of Chazzano Coffee is Kosher and Kosher for Passover. We are certified by the Council of Orthodox Rabbis of Greater Metro Detroit. We are open during Chol HaMoed Passover, Monday, April 9- Thursday April 12. We are the only Kosher establishment open during Chol HaMoed in the Metro Detroit area, and probably in all of Michigan.