Monday, June 11, 2007

Blend Building ... the horror.

We score very high on our House Blend for the moment. Both with amateurs and professionals, at home or at competitions.

I wrote you guys about my struggling on blend building. We finally managed to come to a conclusion, but meanwhile i stayed alert and saw some weaker elements, some points to improve.
Definitely our meeting up with Manu Demets was very informative/ instructive. On the tiny black dots on some of our crema’s – depending on the cups we used or the shots we pulled !!! – he could screen, just like that, the percentage of our Brazil Santos. And the fact it was a tad too high. I admit I’m not such a Santos fan, but we do not have so many different beans to pick from and the Santos is always an easy one, in terms of availability, price, roasting and taste stability.
From some micro bubbles in the brown layers of our cappuccino he noticed the content of robusta, although it’s not more than 5 percent.
Again one of my strugglings: robusta or no robusta .....

So what’s to keep?
The Yirgacheffe and El Salvador Picacho are doing really well. All cuppings we did so far, the beans came out at the same high level. That’s 60% of our blend, good mouthfeel, acidity and fruit and a combo to keep. I heard the new Yirga crop is very bleu with small beans. Not the most positive signals, but no panic yet.

But what with the other 40%?
For the moment we did some valuable cupping with a Honduras. Mostly they are pretty boring, but this one called Sante Cristo Estate got some balls and minor defects. Of course you can’t replace that 20% dark roasted Java-Robusta-Latin part with some Honduras. But maybe for that part we can take on that great Old Brown Sumatra we cupped the other day.

What is our goal? (-;
Our goal is to get a roasting consistency between all different beans, something which is lacking right now. And a blend that’s good for either espressos or lungos, and of course as a base for cappuccino and iced coffees.

The next step is some more cupping, blending and also pulling salamis from all different parts of our blend. This way we can spot where the crema building stops and which beans go well together and which ones don’t. This is new to us, but we’re eager to start doing so, i guess from next week on.

You see, plenty of questions to ask and no clear answers for grabs. The art of blending ...

To be continued.

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