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Date: 19 Apr 2007 07:47:02
From: shane
Subject: defining specialty coffee
Yesterday I found myself in a discussion about coffee. A new
restraunt has opened in my community and they are actually trying to
serve what I would consider to be true Italian style espresso based
coffee. I ordered a latte and got two shots of espresso and milk in
an 8oz cup, the barista even had an apple or heart shaped bit of latte
art on top. I don't recall even seeing any bottle of flavor syrup in
sight.
This is in contrast to the Strabuck style espresso beverage, which
is served in a 12oz or larger cup, often with only one shot of
espresso and possibley some flavored syrup added to the drink.
So, I was talking enthusiastically about the new place and I was
asked the question, "How is it better that Starbucks?" I tried to
explain coffee quality, roasting style, care in preparation, drink
preportions, but the person I was talking with had no idea what I was
talking about.
It seems that a large number of people view Starbucks as the end
all in coffee and do not seem to comprehend that there is better
coffee out there.
How does one define the concept of specialty coffee to someone who
know nothing about coffee?

Shane





 
Date: 25 Apr 2007 21:10:48
From: Felix
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Ed Needham (homeroaster.com) writes:
> But I still buy homeroaster-sized quantities as well
> as whole bags because even if I like the coffee I'm
> roasting a lot of (whole bag), I still want variety for
> me.

I think you (and Craig) are assuming that coffee enthusiasts drink a
lot of coffee. I'm down to 10-15 roasted pounds per year, but that's
not a reflection of my interest level. I still own a lot of equipment,
and still buy beans with an eye toward improving my understanding of
the market. For example, I just bought Peruvian beans from three
different roasters to (a) get a better idea of what the roasters try
to accomplish with this region, and (b) determine if I should be more
interested in a coffee that I've never really liked. Those were full
pounds, so I committed about 20-30% of a year's worth of coffee to
beans I didn't expect to like. Regional tendencies change, and my
taste changes. It would be a mistake for me to not periodically retry
things I didn't like before.

In addition to what's left of these three, my freezer contains some
"mocha java" blend, Yrg, and Guat. So I certainly appreciate your need
for variety. I need it too. With such a low rate of consumption, does
it make sense to take the time to discover how to roast each new bean
that interests me?

> Building your own roaster can be as simple as mounting
> a glass chimney on top of a popcorn popper, or it can
> be very complex.

When someone asks me to recommend a local coffee, a question that
actually can be answered if you live in Chicago, it's nice to be able
to supply a recommendation that doesn't include a hardware acquisition
and/or modification.

Earlier, I observed that our priorities were different before. They
still are. I'm not trying to drink the best, freshest, most
interesting coffee as often as possible, or even once a week. I am
trying to discover who's selling what, what I like, why I prefer some
things instead of others, and how to predict what other people will
like.

> It should not be that daunting. Just roast it.

Enthusiasm has different forms. It would be a mistake to assume that
homeroasting is something all coffee enthusiasts should do, or that I
find it daunting. In Chicago, the alternative is quite palatable.

There's a new coffee shop down the street, not open yet ... last time
I peeked through the window, I saw a Bunn G-series grinder, and a
three-group LM. No espresso grinder yet and I'm not hoping for shots
as good as the one I had at Pick a Cup, but it sure would be nice ...


Felix



 
Date: 24 Apr 2007 06:04:10
From: shane
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Exactly, the consistency of a good master roaster, who can source good
beans, tweak particular beans, etc.
I have roasted some amazing coffee.. other times, not.

I still wish I knew what that green coffee I picked up one time in
Nogales was.. It made a good espesso, loads of crema, a sort of raw
nutty flavor, different from the usual espresso, but quite good.

Shane

On Apr 23, 4:33 pm, "Ed Needham" <e...@NOSPAMhomeroaster.com > wrote:
> There's a lot more to being a commercial roaster than turning beans brown.
> A quality roaster knows where to buy greens, cup samples, arrange
> inventories and shipments, develops relationships with growers and other
> sources, understands business, consistency, and putting a product out there
> that his customers will buy. He also knows how to tweak the most out of a
> particular bean and do it consistently. A homeroaster can roast beans that
> are as good or better than a master roaster, but can't (or doesn't have to)
> do it twice.
> ::::grin::::
>
> "shane" <shane.ol...@juno.com> wrote in message
>
> news:1177349220.835175.10410@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...
> I was describing home roasting to someone and he replied sounds like
> it is similar to homebrewing beer.
> Seems to make sense. I can do better with home roasting that a lot
> of the coffee out there, is my roasting better than a master roaster,
> who has been roasting coffee professionally for many years, probably
> not.
>
> Shane




 
Date: 23 Apr 2007 19:02:26
From: Felix
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Ed Needham (homeroaster.com) responds:
> Homeroasting is not for everyone, but to say
> you don't do it because you can't get consistent
> quality greens just doesn't sound right to me.

Then I'm glad I didn't say it.

> I've never had anything but the best of the
> best from one greens dealer.

I've never met anyone who was that good at anything.

> I mostly buy whole bags now from various sources,
> so I get to decide if I like the beans or not. If the
> beans are not incredible, I don't buy them.

Right ... you've spent years learning how to build roasters, how to
use them, and now you roast enough volume to qualify for samples.
There's no point in comparing us with each other.

We had different priorities. I plan to roast someday, because I think
it's an important part of the process, more important than learning
how to control the temperature or pressure of an espresso machine. But
I have some unfinished business, and hope to start roasting later.


Felix



  
Date: 24 Apr 2007 00:34:10
From: Ed Needham
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

Ed said...
>> I mostly buy whole bags now from various sources,
>> so I get to decide if I like the beans or not. If the
>> beans are not incredible, I don't buy them.
>
Then Felix said...
> Right ... you've spent years learning how to build roasters, how to
> use them, and now you roast enough volume to qualify for samples.
> There's no point in comparing us with each other.
<SNIP >

But I still buy homeroaster-sized quantities as well as whole bags because
even if I like the coffee I'm roasting a lot of (whole bag), I still want
variety for me. Getting into homeroasting is not that expensive or
complicated and can easily yield high quality roasts with minimal expertise.
Building your own roaster can be as simple as mounting a glass chimney on
top of a popcorn popper, or it can be very complex.

It should not be that daunting. Just roast it.

--
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"
http://www.homeroaster.com
(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************




  
Date: 23 Apr 2007 23:37:31
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

"Felix" <felixyen@hotmail.com > wrote in message
news:1177380146.601404.134970@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...
> Ed Needham (homeroaster.com) responds:
>> Homeroasting is not for everyone, but to say
>> you don't do it because you can't get consistent
>> quality greens just doesn't sound right to me.
>
> Then I'm glad I didn't say it.
>
>> I've never had anything but the best of the
>> best from one greens dealer.
>
> I've never met anyone who was that good at anything.
>
>> I mostly buy whole bags now from various sources,
>> so I get to decide if I like the beans or not. If the
>> beans are not incredible, I don't buy them.
>
> Right ... you've spent years learning how to build roasters, how to
> use them, and now you roast enough volume to qualify for samples.
> There's no point in comparing us with each other.


It's callled an Spot offering sheet/list from the green bean broker/s
that I deal with. I don't have to buy even ONE BAG (60, 70 kgs) from my
broker. If I show an interest in 1 5, 10 or more different green
coffees., I can get 1 or ALL the samples if I want them.
Any & all samples are sent on request, that's how a green coffee
broker/importer works.
Cheers,
Craig.


>
> We had different priorities. I plan to roast someday, because I think
> it's an important part of the process, more important than learning
> how to control the temperature or pressure of an espresso machine. But
> I have some unfinished business, and hope to start roasting later.
>
>
> Felix
>



   
Date: 24 Apr 2007 17:30:29
From: Brent
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
> It's callled an Spot offering sheet/list from the green bean broker/s that
> I deal with. I don't have to buy even ONE BAG (60, 70 kgs) from my broker.
> If I show an interest in 1 5, 10 or more different green coffees., I can
> get 1 or ALL the samples if I want them.
> Any & all samples are sent on request, that's how a green coffee
> broker/importer works.
> Cheers,
> Craig.
>

I got frustrated with those iddy biddy samples, so now I call a sample a
single sack to mess around with... lots of beans to play with when you do it
that way...

(got a couple of samples headed my way now...)

Brent




    
Date: 24 Apr 2007 01:36:05
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

"Brent" <me@privacy.net > wrote in message
news:595ivqF2icn99U1@mid.individual.net...
>> It's callled an Spot offering sheet/list from the green bean broker/s
>> that I deal with. I don't have to buy even ONE BAG (60, 70 kgs) from
>> my broker. If I show an interest in 1 5, 10 or more different green
>> coffees., I can get 1 or ALL the samples if I want them.
>> Any & all samples are sent on request, that's how a green coffee
>> broker/importer works.
>> Cheers,
>> Craig.
>>
>
> I got frustrated with those iddy biddy samples, so now I call a sample
> a single sack to mess around with... lots of beans to play with when
> you do it that way...
>
> (got a couple of samples headed my way now...)
>
> Brent
>

Hi Brent, how big or small were your samples? Mine were/are from 200 -
300 grams, more than enough to roast up in my Hearthware Precision to
cup with..
Craig.



     
Date: 26 Apr 2007 13:20:23
From: Brent
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Hi Craig,

The samples I have received previously have been around 250 grams.

Now I just order sacks to try (but not to many)...

Brent

>>> It's callled an Spot offering sheet/list from the green bean broker/s
>>> that I deal with. I don't have to buy even ONE BAG (60, 70 kgs) from my
>>> broker. If I show an interest in 1 5, 10 or more different green
>>> coffees., I can get 1 or ALL the samples if I want them.
>>> Any & all samples are sent on request, that's how a green coffee
>>> broker/importer works.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Craig.
>>>
>>
>> I got frustrated with those iddy biddy samples, so now I call a sample a
>> single sack to mess around with... lots of beans to play with when you do
>> it that way...
>>
>> (got a couple of samples headed my way now...)
>>
>> Brent
>>
>
> Hi Brent, how big or small were your samples? Mine were/are from 200 - 300
> grams, more than enough to roast up in my Hearthware Precision to cup
> with..
> Craig.




      
Date: 25 Apr 2007 21:33:38
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

"Brent" <me@privacy.net > wrote in message
news:59ad2oF2js2f6U1@mid.individual.net...
> Hi Craig,
>
> The samples I have received previously have been around 250 grams.
>
> Now I just order sacks to try (but not to many)...
>
> Brent
>

WoW, Hmmm., of course that's the whole idea of the samples.., I
certainly can't afford to commit to 2, 5, 8 sacks of coffee, & CERTAINLY
not anyhoo., without 1st getting samples from the different varietals &
lot/chop identifier #'s..
Craig.



       
Date: 26 Apr 2007 17:38:26
From: Brent
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
>> Hi Craig,
>>
>> The samples I have received previously have been around 250 grams.
>>
>> Now I just order sacks to try (but not to many)...
>>
>> Brent
>>
>
> WoW, Hmmm., of course that's the whole idea of the samples.., I certainly
> can't afford to commit to 2, 5, 8 sacks of coffee, & CERTAINLY not
> anyhoo., without 1st getting samples from the different varietals &
> lot/chop identifier #'s..
> Craig.

yes, but it costs me not a lot more to bring in a sack than a sample...

and then if we like it, well we have plenty!

Brent

(OK so quite a bit more, but when you are shipping internationally the
freight is where the killer cost is, so the price for a sack is nominalish
when you are adding it to a pallet that is already heading to you)




        
Date: 26 Apr 2007 10:39:39
From: Craig Andrews
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

"Brent" <me@privacy.net > wrote in message
news:59as6kF2j60r7U1@mid.individual.net...
>>> Hi Craig,
>>>
>>> The samples I have received previously have been around 250 grams.
>>>
>>> Now I just order sacks to try (but not to many)...
>>>
>>> Brent
>>>
>>
>> WoW, Hmmm., of course that's the whole idea of the samples.., I
>> certainly can't afford to commit to 2, 5, 8 sacks of coffee, &
>> CERTAINLY not anyhoo., without 1st getting samples from the different
>> varietals & lot/chop identifier #'s..
>> Craig.
>
> yes, but it costs me not a lot more to bring in a sack than a
> sample...


Green bean samples from a broker, mine anyway., are sent out FREE of
charge..
Craig.


>
> and then if we like it, well we have plenty!
>
> Brent
>
> (OK so quite a bit more, but when you are shipping internationally the
> freight is where the killer cost is, so the price for a sack is
> nominalish when you are adding it to a pallet that is already heading
> to you)
>



         
Date: 26 Apr 2007 21:04:34
From: Ed Needham
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee

"Craig Andrews" <alt.coffee@deletethis.rogers.com > wrote in message
news:59brt8F2jrml6U1@mid.individual.net...
> Green bean samples from a broker, mine anyway., are sent out FREE of
> charge..
> Craig.


There's a local roaster in Louisville and I sometimes buy 10 pounds or so of
their greens to 'sample' It's immediate, and I can look and smell the
greens, as well as get their comments on it. If I like it, I buy a bag from
a broker. Sometimes other homeroasters or coffee lovers send me samples of
stuff they really like. I buy more if I like it.
Occasionally, I'll ask for samples from Royal New York to see what is above
average in their warehouse. I don't do that too often since I am a small
potatoes kind of roaster and I really don't want to take advantage of their
business that way. They pretty much cater to larger commercial roasters,
and I respect that. There's a little importer in Miami where I get some
kickin Colombian coffee. They are consistently good and they sell half bags
which can be shipped UPS to my home. I like that. It's a little more
expensive to buy the half bags but not much.
--
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"
http://www.homeroaster.com
(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************




         
Date: 27 Apr 2007 12:57:50
From: Brent
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
>
> Green bean samples from a broker, mine anyway., are sent out FREE of
> charge..
> Craig.
>
>
abosultely, but the problem is for me, freight on those little bags is
prohibitive.

I received advice that a sample had arrived, and that I had to pay a
considerable amount to get it released.

So, given that is not much different to a sack, when I am buying stuff in,
relatively, a sack costs similar to a sample...

Ok it's pretty thin, but it works.

And yes we get samples on the pallets at no charge when we ask for them...

Brent




 
Date: 23 Apr 2007 10:27:00
From: shane
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
I was describing home roasting to someone and he replied sounds like
it is similar to homebrewing beer.
Seems to make sense. I can do better with home roasting that a lot
of the coffee out there, is my roasting better than a master roaster,
who has been roasting coffee professionally for many years, probably
not.

Shane

On Apr 22, 10:31 pm, "Ed Needham" <e...@NOSPAMhomeroaster.com > wrote:
> Homeroasting is not for everyone, but to say you don't do it because you
> can't get consistent quality greens just doesn't sound right to me. I can
> think of a lot of reasons someone might not want to homeroast, mostly
> pertaining to personal temperament, lack of roasting space, not enough ti=
me,
> etc. If you don't want to fuss with roasting, or you don't want the mess
> and clutter of roasting equipment, then by all means, get quality beans
> roasted locally. If you enjoy the creative process, want incredible
> freshness and variety that most roasters won't come close to matching, t=
hen
> homeroasting is the way to go.
>
> There are greens suppliers for homeroasters that are meticulous in cupping
> and selecting greens to sell. I've never had anything but the best of the
> best from one greens dealer.
> I mostly buy whole bags now from various sources, so I get to decide if I
> like the beans or not. If the beans are not incredible, I don't buy them.
>
> If I lived across the street from Intelligentsia or Barry's new digs, I'd
> still homeroast.
>
> But that's just me.
>
> --
> *********************
> Ed Needham=AE
> "to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com
> (include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
> *********************
>
> "Felix" <felix...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>
> news:1177275820.974396.297330@y5g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...
>
>
>
> > Marshall hates spam and writes:
> >> r...@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D. Ross) wrote:
> >> >Last year, on a whim, we got some PNG from a variety
> >> >of specialty roasters (all favorites of people on this and
> >> >other coffee forums), and tasted them against each other.
> >> >What a difference! Two were standouts (Barry J., and
> >> >Supreme Bean), the rest (whom I won't mention) were
> >> >leagues behind. Not even close.
>
> >> >A very instructive exercise, and -- to be honest -- a little
> >> >surprising (no offense, Barry!)
>
> >> >- David R.
>
> >> Why I gave up home roasting.
>
> > Why I never started ... I had a similar experience with PNG about two
> > years ago while evaluating a local roaster because it seemed like an
> > appropriate supplier for an Evanston restaurant. They were using Illy
> > and Intelligentsia was the obvious alternative, but I thought their
> > customers might enjoy seeing a different name for a change. PNG had
> > been extremely reliable for me, until then. The pound I got was
> > unusually acidic. Intelligentsia's distributor got the account.
>
> > Barry sold an excellent PNG not long ago. I haven't tried the Madan
> > he's selling now.
>
> > To me, the phrase "relationship coffee" refers to the relationships
> > consumers have with their roasters, and the ones roasters have with
> > their suppliers. Dealing with the right people is so much easier than
> > deciphering verbose descriptions that often seem to be written in an
> > alien tongue.
>
> > Felix- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -




  
Date: 23 Apr 2007 17:33:16
From: Ed Needham
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
There's a lot more to being a commercial roaster than turning beans brown.
A quality roaster knows where to buy greens, cup samples, arrange
inventories and shipments, develops relationships with growers and other
sources, understands business, consistency, and putting a product out there
that his customers will buy. He also knows how to tweak the most out of a
particular bean and do it consistently. A homeroaster can roast beans that
are as good or better than a master roaster, but can't (or doesn't have to)
do it twice.
::::grin::::


"shane" <shane.olson@juno.com > wrote in message
news:1177349220.835175.10410@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...
I was describing home roasting to someone and he replied sounds like
it is similar to homebrewing beer.
Seems to make sense. I can do better with home roasting that a lot
of the coffee out there, is my roasting better than a master roaster,
who has been roasting coffee professionally for many years, probably
not.

Shane




   
Date: 23 Apr 2007 23:35:59
From: The Other Funk
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Finding the keyboard operational
Ed Needham entered:

> There's a lot more to being a commercial roaster than turning beans
> brown. A quality roaster knows where to buy greens, cup samples,
> arrange inventories and shipments, develops relationships with
> growers and other sources, understands business, consistency, and
> putting a product out there that his customers will buy. He also
> knows how to tweak the most out of a particular bean and do it
> consistently. A homeroaster can roast beans that are as good or
> better than a master roaster, but can't (or doesn't have to) do it
> twice.
>>>>> grin::::
>
>
> "shane" <shane.olson@juno.com> wrote in message
> news:1177349220.835175.10410@n59g2000hsh.googlegroups.com...
> I was describing home roasting to someone and he replied sounds like
> it is similar to homebrewing beer.
> Seems to make sense. I can do better with home roasting that a lot
> of the coffee out there, is my roasting better than a master roaster,
> who has been roasting coffee professionally for many years, probably
> not.
>
> Shane

One ting to keep in mind is that due to the scale. is that a home roaster
has a better chance to control things that a commercial roaster can't.
Measuring out your half or quarter pound of green, you can pull things out
that aren't beans and beans that don't look right. I look while I am
measuring out 20 pounds but things still get through. I am planning to start
a rock garden of bean sized rocks.
You also don't have to deal with the thermal flywheel effect of a large mass
of beans. The other side of the coin is that if things go bad you are likely
to lose the whole batch in a blink.
Another upside is that you can experiment with 5 pounds of beans and get a
whole range of roasts. Experimenting at 15 pounds a roast goes through a 150
sack and may not yield a lot usable product.
Damn now you got me missing my I-Roast and I have a couple of hundred pounds
to do by Friday .
Bob

--
--
Coffee worth staying up for - NY Times
www.moondoggiecoffee.com



 
Date: 22 Apr 2007 14:03:41
From: Felix
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Marshall hates spam and writes:
> r...@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D. Ross) wrote:
> >Last year, on a whim, we got some PNG from a variety
> >of specialty roasters (all favorites of people on this and
> >other coffee forums), and tasted them against each other.
> >What a difference! Two were standouts (Barry J., and
> >Supreme Bean), the rest (whom I won't mention) were
> >leagues behind. Not even close.
>
> >A very instructive exercise, and -- to be honest -- a little
> >surprising (no offense, Barry!)
>
> >- David R.
>
> Why I gave up home roasting.

Why I never started ... I had a similar experience with PNG about two
years ago while evaluating a local roaster because it seemed like an
appropriate supplier for an Evanston restaurant. They were using Illy
and Intelligentsia was the obvious alternative, but I thought their
customers might enjoy seeing a different name for a change. PNG had
been extremely reliable for me, until then. The pound I got was
unusually acidic. Intelligentsia's distributor got the account.

Barry sold an excellent PNG not long ago. I haven't tried the Madan
he's selling now.

To me, the phrase "relationship coffee" refers to the relationships
consumers have with their roasters, and the ones roasters have with
their suppliers. Dealing with the right people is so much easier than
deciphering verbose descriptions that often seem to be written in an
alien tongue.


Felix



  
Date: 22 Apr 2007 23:31:42
From: Ed Needham
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
Homeroasting is not for everyone, but to say you don't do it because you
can't get consistent quality greens just doesn't sound right to me. I can
think of a lot of reasons someone might not want to homeroast, mostly
pertaining to personal temperament, lack of roasting space, not enough time,
etc. If you don't want to fuss with roasting, or you don't want the mess
and clutter of roasting equipment, then by all means, get quality beans
roasted locally. If you enjoy the creative process, want incredible
freshness and variety that most roasters won't come close to matching, then
homeroasting is the way to go.

There are greens suppliers for homeroasters that are meticulous in cupping
and selecting greens to sell. I've never had anything but the best of the
best from one greens dealer.
I mostly buy whole bags now from various sources, so I get to decide if I
like the beans or not. If the beans are not incredible, I don't buy them.

If I lived across the street from Intelligentsia or Barry's new digs, I'd
still homeroast.

But that's just me.

--
*********************
Ed Needham®
"to absurdity and beyond!"
http://www.homeroaster.com
(include [FRIEND] in subject line to get through my SPAM filters)
*********************




"Felix" <felixyen@hotmail.com > wrote in message
news:1177275820.974396.297330@y5g2000hsa.googlegroups.com...
> Marshall hates spam and writes:
>> r...@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D. Ross) wrote:
>> >Last year, on a whim, we got some PNG from a variety
>> >of specialty roasters (all favorites of people on this and
>> >other coffee forums), and tasted them against each other.
>> >What a difference! Two were standouts (Barry J., and
>> >Supreme Bean), the rest (whom I won't mention) were
>> >leagues behind. Not even close.
>>
>> >A very instructive exercise, and -- to be honest -- a little
>> >surprising (no offense, Barry!)
>>
>> >- David R.
>>
>> Why I gave up home roasting.
>
> Why I never started ... I had a similar experience with PNG about two
> years ago while evaluating a local roaster because it seemed like an
> appropriate supplier for an Evanston restaurant. They were using Illy
> and Intelligentsia was the obvious alternative, but I thought their
> customers might enjoy seeing a different name for a change. PNG had
> been extremely reliable for me, until then. The pound I got was
> unusually acidic. Intelligentsia's distributor got the account.
>
> Barry sold an excellent PNG not long ago. I haven't tried the Madan
> he's selling now.
>
> To me, the phrase "relationship coffee" refers to the relationships
> consumers have with their roasters, and the ones roasters have with
> their suppliers. Dealing with the right people is so much easier than
> deciphering verbose descriptions that often seem to be written in an
> alien tongue.
>
>
> Felix
>




 
Date: 20 Apr 2007 21:12:20
From: Felix
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
jim schulman writes:
> To put this more bluntly: there is a definition of specialty
> green coffee. From that point on you can destroy it in
> any way you like and still call it specialty.

SCAA's web site mentions "exceptional beans grown only in ideal coffee-
producing climates" while also alluding to terroir ("distinctive
flavors, which are shaped by the unique characteristics of the soil
that produces them" and "special microclimates"). When Knutsen coined
the phrase in 1974, the superior quality of this coffee justified its
higher price. Now it seems that the category includes any coffee
product sold at a premium price, i.e. price defines the category.

Digressing slightly, I think the problem with consumer membership in
the SCAA isn't its identity as a trade association, but the
undermining of its raison d'etre. If the category includes relatively
mundane versions (precursors?) of the signature drinks served at
barista competitions, maybe it's time to define its subcategories.


Felix



 
Date: 20 Apr 2007 09:11:30
From: Joe
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 20, 10:19 am, shane <shane.ol...@juno.com > wrote:
> On Apr 20, 3:31 am, r...@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D. Ross) wrote:
>
> > shane <shane.ol...@juno.com> wrote:
>
> >


 
Date: 20 Apr 2007 07:19:09
From: shane
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 20, 3:31 am, r...@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D. Ross) wrote:
> shane <shane.ol...@juno.com> wrote:
>
>


  
Date: 21 Apr 2007 23:18:14
From: Barry Jarrett
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On 20 Apr 2007 07:19:09 -0700, shane <shane.olson@juno.com > wrote:

>Grandma's is still around,

we stopped there for lunch on the way home from the roasters' guild
retreat in grand rapids. maddie stuck her feet in superior, and we
watched the lift bridge a few times.


the way to demonstrate the difference in coffee is to taste the
coffees side by side. i did this last night for some of my staff... i
was cupping my roast samples, and i also had a sample of a honduran
that another local roaster gets and, i assume/hope, uses for the
frac-pac c-store coffee supplier that he services. holy cow, was
that stuff not good. it wasn't the worst i've ever had, but it was
certainly not a pleasant cup, very grainy with some rubbery
undertones.

one demonstration that i do is to get starbies colombian, folgers
colombian, 8 o'clock colombian, and my colombian, and taste them side
by side. while some of the others are quite acceptable cups, they
lack the flavor quality and intensity that a top-notch colombian
offers. sort of how dominos might be an acceptable pizza, but no
where near as good as a hand-crafted "specialty" pizza.

--barry "pickles & pepperoni, please"


   
Date: 22 Apr 2007 03:13:02
From: D. Ross
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee


    
Date: 22 Apr 2007 05:50:07
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Sun, 22 Apr 2007 03:13:02 GMT, ross@math.hawaii.NOSPAM.edu (D.
Ross) wrote:

>Last year, on a whim, we got some PNG from a variety of specialty roasters
>(all favorites of people on this and other coffee forums), and tasted them
>against each other. What a difference! Two were standouts (Barry J., and
>Supreme Bean), the rest (whom I won't mention) were leagues behind. Not
>even close.
>
>A very instructive exercise, and -- to be honest -- a little surprising (no
>offense, Barry!)
>
>- David R.

Why I gave up home roasting.

Marshall "15 minutes from S.B."


 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 13:26:21
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 19, 2:03 pm, shane <shane.ol...@juno.com > wrote:
>
> Tasting the difference is the key, but how to convince someone that
> ther even is a difference to taste, is the issue.
>
> I am not sure how to define the restraunt, it is a burrito place
> called "Buritto Union", in Soviet styled type. The most prominet
> feature is a large bar in the middle of the space, with the espresso
> machine at one end.
>
> Shane

Appears to be an ongoing debate - the definitive taste of fine
espresso. Some grant that to be within a subjective allowance.
Although objectivity is as well within an approach (the Specialty
Coffee Association of America), following clarity given an assemblage
of roasters and cafe owners motivated by interests perceived as
warrantable demand. Once applied to qualities, a glossary of coffee
tastes iterates, (over some 780 chemical components within a coffee
bean), there seems reasonable expectation to further objectify the
quintessential espresso sampling. And, of course, a bone fide taster
qualified to make suble distinctions. Once diluted and extracted,
subjectivity should be shown for reducible, in as much for nothing
less than a consensus for the most agreeable to a sampling and effect
produced.

Not exactly what the Burito Union may be selling, but if the ambience
is nice, a genuine espresso machine ought not be so far different.
Since he asked, take in a handful of freshly roasted beans for him to
sample. My latest were pulled prior to the second crack at under six
minutes. A sour aspect to darker roasts, as an example - comparison
and direct interest. Might not convince him there is any sole
definition, apart from significance in differences as a start.



 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 11:03:36
From: shane
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 19, 12:55 pm, Flasherly <gjerr...@ij.net > wrote:
> On Apr 19, 10:47 am, shane <shane.ol...@juno.com> wrote:
>
>
>
>
>
> > Yesterday I found myself in a discussion about coffee. A new
> > restraunt has opened in my community and they are actually trying to
> > serve what I would consider to be true Italian style espresso based
> > coffee. I ordered a latte and got two shots of espresso and milk in
> > an 8oz cup, the barista even had an apple or heart shaped bit of latte
> > art on top. I don't recall even seeing any bottle of flavor syrup in
> > sight.
> > This is in contrast to the Strabuck style espresso beverage, which
> > is served in a 12oz or larger cup, often with only one shot of
> > espresso and possibley some flavored syrup added to the drink.
> > So, I was talking enthusiastically about the new place and I was
> > asked the question, "How is it better that Starbucks?" I tried to
> > explain coffee quality, roasting style, care in preparation, drink
> > preportions, but the person I was talking with had no idea what I was
> > talking about.
> > It seems that a large number of people view Starbucks as the end
> > all in coffee and do not seem to comprehend that there is better
> > coffee out there.
> > How does one define the concept of specialty coffee to someone who
> > know nothing about coffee?
>
> > Shane
>
> Two shots, as in extracted from an espresso machine. Presumably ground
> fresh, or from a quality source of beans. Even if not, the milk
> aspect of a latte is still going to be flavorful -- needn't have the
> best, good enough beans will probably do. Flavoring is stretching
> it. Would stand out like a hammered thumb in an espresso -- very hard
> not to notice added raspberry, hazelnut, or chocolate and vanilla
> syrups. Milk, most people wouldn't notice, though for others it's
> altogether a bunged-up taste with flavorings aside from coffee.
>
> Oh. And then there's the minority, whose distinction for coffee is
> pure and fine, but whose resources aren't readily available without
> given some effort to find them. Not everybody hangs out on a boatdock
> to select only the best arriving beans. Same with coffee, unless they
> are aware ahead what to expect -- the distinction between fine coffee
> and a reasonably good cup -- what's left is an order of magnitude one
> cultivates as acceptable taste. For a few a narrow distintion, for
> many, not so.
>
> Sounds that the restraunt owner knew enough to be proficient with an
> espresso machine, orders and keeps inventory fresh -- result is a good
> enough cup by his and your standards. Green beans and a roaster,
> exceptional grinders, and a barista, all may be somewhat encompassing
> for what's on the menu. . . Caviar=E9, will that be the Sterlet or
> Beluga this evening?- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Tasting the difference is the key, but how to convince someone that
ther even is a difference to taste, is the issue.

I am not sure how to define the restraunt, it is a burrito place
called "Buritto Union", in Soviet styled type. The most prominet
feature is a large bar in the middle of the space, with the espresso
machine at one end.

Shane



  
Date: 20 Apr 2007 08:31:20
From: D. Ross
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
shane <shane.olson@juno.com > wrote:



 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 10:55:15
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 19, 10:47 am, shane <shane.ol...@juno.com > wrote:
> Yesterday I found myself in a discussion about coffee. A new
> restraunt has opened in my community and they are actually trying to
> serve what I would consider to be true Italian style espresso based
> coffee. I ordered a latte and got two shots of espresso and milk in
> an 8oz cup, the barista even had an apple or heart shaped bit of latte
> art on top. I don't recall even seeing any bottle of flavor syrup in
> sight.
> This is in contrast to the Strabuck style espresso beverage, which
> is served in a 12oz or larger cup, often with only one shot of
> espresso and possibley some flavored syrup added to the drink.
> So, I was talking enthusiastically about the new place and I was
> asked the question, "How is it better that Starbucks?" I tried to
> explain coffee quality, roasting style, care in preparation, drink
> preportions, but the person I was talking with had no idea what I was
> talking about.
> It seems that a large number of people view Starbucks as the end
> all in coffee and do not seem to comprehend that there is better
> coffee out there.
> How does one define the concept of specialty coffee to someone who
> know nothing about coffee?
>
> Shane


Two shots, as in extracted from an espresso machine. Presumably ground
fresh, or from a quality source of beans. Even if not, the milk
aspect of a latte is still going to be flavorful -- needn't have the
best, good enough beans will probably do. Flavoring is stretching
it. Would stand out like a hammered thumb in an espresso -- very hard
not to notice added raspberry, hazelnut, or chocolate and vanilla
syrups. Milk, most people wouldn't notice, though for others it's
altogether a bunged-up taste with flavorings aside from coffee.

Oh. And then there's the minority, whose distinction for coffee is
pure and fine, but whose resources aren't readily available without
given some effort to find them. Not everybody hangs out on a boatdock
to select only the best arriving beans. Same with coffee, unless they
are aware ahead what to expect -- the distinction between fine coffee
and a reasonably good cup -- what's left is an order of magnitude one
cultivates as acceptable taste. For a few a narrow distintion, for
many, not so.

Sounds that the restraunt owner knew enough to be proficient with an
espresso machine, orders and keeps inventory fresh -- result is a good
enough cup by his and your standards. Green beans and a roaster,
exceptional grinders, and a barista, all may be somewhat encompassing
for what's on the menu. . . Caviar=E9, will that be the Sterlet or
Beluga this evening?



 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 10:23:03
From:
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
I would just have your friend try a latte from this shop. The foam and
steamed milk blended perfectly with the espresso should give him an
idea of what a real coffee experience is all about...or maybe not.
Some people like McDonalds...what can you do :)

Joe




 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 16:13:13
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On 19 Apr 2007 07:47:02 -0700, shane <shane.olson@juno.com > wrote:

>Yesterday I found myself in a discussion about coffee. A new
>restraunt has opened in my community and they are actually trying to
>serve what I would consider to be true Italian style espresso based
>coffee. I ordered a latte and got two shots of espresso and milk in
>an 8oz cup, the barista even had an apple or heart shaped bit of latte
>art on top. I don't recall even seeing any bottle of flavor syrup in
>sight.
> This is in contrast to the Strabuck style espresso beverage, which
>is served in a 12oz or larger cup, often with only one shot of
>espresso and possibley some flavored syrup added to the drink.
> So, I was talking enthusiastically about the new place and I was
>asked the question, "How is it better that Starbucks?" I tried to
>explain coffee quality, roasting style, care in preparation, drink
>preportions, but the person I was talking with had no idea what I was
>talking about.
> It seems that a large number of people view Starbucks as the end
>all in coffee and do not seem to comprehend that there is better
>coffee out there.
> How does one define the concept of specialty coffee to someone who
>know nothing about coffee?
>
>Shane

It starts with SCAA's definition of specialty coffee in the green
stage: no defects and having a distinctive flavor in the cup. Most
professionals go on to say it must be roasted and brewed with care to
preserve and enhance that distinctiveness.

But many consumers (and shop owners) would define it as any coffee
with a lot of milk foam and some flavoring.

Marshall


  
Date: 19 Apr 2007 13:05:47
From: jim schulman
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:13:13 GMT, Marshall
<mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:

>It starts with SCAA's definition of specialty coffee in the green
>stage: no defects and having a distinctive flavor in the cup. Most
>professionals go on to say it must be roasted and brewed with care to
>preserve and enhance that distinctiveness.
>
>But many consumers (and shop owners) would define it as any coffee
>with a lot of milk foam and some flavoring.

To put this more bluntly: there is a definition of specialty green
coffee. From that point on you can destroy it in any way you like and
still call it specialty.

Ted Lingle, the former head of the SCAA, was a big advocate of
creating standards "from bean to cup" (the expression is a specialty
coffee cliche). However, none of the proposed roasting, freshness,
brewing/shot making, or beverage holding standards ever took off in a
big way.

The SCAA includes mainly roasters and cafe owners, but not too many
growers. It's a lot easier and more sensible to set standards for your
suppliers than for yourself. If there were to be real standards for
roasting, freshness, and preparation, they would have to be set by an
association of coffee consumers.


   
Date: 22 Apr 2007 12:43:41
From: bernie
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
jim schulman wrote:
> On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:13:13 GMT, Marshall
> <mrfuss@ihatespamearthlink.net> wrote:
>
>
>>It starts with SCAA's definition of specialty coffee in the green
>>stage: no defects and having a distinctive flavor in the cup. Most
>>professionals go on to say it must be roasted and brewed with care to
>>preserve and enhance that distinctiveness.
>>
>>But many consumers (and shop owners) would define it as any coffee
>>with a lot of milk foam and some flavoring.
>
>
> To put this more bluntly: there is a definition of specialty green
> coffee. From that point on you can destroy it in any way you like and
> still call it specialty.
>
> Ted Lingle, the former head of the SCAA, was a big advocate of
> creating standards "from bean to cup" (the expression is a specialty
> coffee cliche). However, none of the proposed roasting, freshness,
> brewing/shot making, or beverage holding standards ever took off in a
> big way.
>
> The SCAA includes mainly roasters and cafe owners, but not too many
> growers. It's a lot easier and more sensible to set standards for your
> suppliers than for yourself. If there were to be real standards for
> roasting, freshness, and preparation, they would have to be set by an
> association of coffee consumers.

Jim, this is a dead horse I've flogged for years on the RG bulletin
board and elsewhere. A freshness standard could be set easily by the
SCAA or RG. Like any standard it would not cover every single instance,
but would be a great start. Something like "The SCAA standard for a
coffee to be considered fresh is that it be date marked as to the day it
was roasted and that it not be sold or available for sale more than XX
number of days post-roast." And, of course, the howling begins with
those who cannot meet the standard and maintain their logistics or
profitability on selling months-old coffee. But we allow them to exist
under the "specialty coffee" moniker. So the horse continues to be whipped.
Bernie


 
Date: 19 Apr 2007 08:54:57
From: John S.
Subject: Re: defining specialty coffee
On Apr 19, 10:47 am, shane <shane.ol...@juno.com > wrote:
> Yesterday I found myself in a discussion about coffee. A new
> restraunt has opened in my community and they are actually trying to
> serve what I would consider to be true Italian style espresso based
> coffee. I ordered a latte and got two shots of espresso and milk in
> an 8oz cup, the barista even had an apple or heart shaped bit of latte
> art on top. I don't recall even seeing any bottle of flavor syrup in
> sight.
> This is in contrast to the Strabuck style espresso beverage, which
> is served in a 12oz or larger cup, often with only one shot of
> espresso and possibley some flavored syrup added to the drink.
> So, I was talking enthusiastically about the new place and I was
> asked the question, "How is it better that Starbucks?" I tried to
> explain coffee quality, roasting style, care in preparation, drink
> preportions, but the person I was talking with had no idea what I was
> talking about.
> It seems that a large number of people view Starbucks as the end
> all in coffee and do not seem to comprehend that there is better
> coffee out there.
> How does one define the concept of specialty coffee to someone who
> know nothing about coffee?
>
> Shane

Well, for me the end result is all important - I like to talk about
the taste, aroma and how it looks in the cup. And enjoying specialty
coffee is all about comparing too - how do the flavors come through.
A small tasting might help convince your friends. Compare a Starbucks
blend to something from Intelligentsia.

Once they experience a really good coffee then the details about bean
origin, roasting, grinding, etc., might become of interest. I would
start with the basics and work from there.