New Year, new you… Wait, no, new crop!
2021 was a great year of practicing flexibility, love, and constant learning. Amid all this learning, we were able to wrap up this coffee season with a harvest of 12,168 pounds of cherry pre our 800 trees, not too bad for having a hard time finding pickers and the introduction of coffee leaf rust. Our record harvest was somewhere North of 14,000 pounds. With the end of the picking season, we can wind down in certain aspects of coffee labor and wind up in other maintenance areas, infrastructure design, produce planting, create soil inputs, value-added agricultural goods, and future planning.
My big project right now is turning this new crop into our latest products. Since there wasn't a need to alter our roast profile at Pacific Coffee Research (PCR), we are sticking with the same roast profiles for the medium and the dark. However, I will be changing the name of the dark to medium-dark because to many people labeling our dark in that manner is somewhat misleading. Please know that even though the name is different, the medium-dark is as, if not even more delicious than last year's dark.
It is tricky because the idea of a dark roast for much of the population is a product roasted past the second crack (think of popcorn popping), where our dark is just past the initial cracking... So, if you are lost right now, do not worry! You can learn all about roasting processes at PCR. On the other hand, if a dark roast past the second crack is the kind of roast you enjoy, you'll love our 456 Dark! We have worked with Holualoa Kona Coffee Company for over 25 years producing our 456 dark. In all honesty, while transferring to these newer-age roast profiles, I had some resistance from my long-time customers since they preferred that old-school dark. Alas, I had no choice but to keep it in the product portfolio.
In my research of coffee roasting, I've come to understand that the nature of roasting is heating the seed to release, or make available, aromatic organic compounds that we perceive as smells and flavors. The diminishing returns curve for aromatics within roasting is typically just before or after the second crack. Normally, in actual dark roasts, aromatics are destroyed, that's why dark roasts do not usually pack an array of subtle flavors and smells, but the roast does provide that caffeine kick and associated overall coffee flavor. Some dark roasts out there carry a variety of aromatics, but this is uncommon.
I believe that dark roasts became popular before the Starbucks era because large canned coffee brands were covering up deficiencies in their green coffee. Just as you can burn aromatics out of coffee in the roasting process, you can burn out deficiencies because they are, well, aromatics. So, people from that era missed exposure to the array of aromatics that always existed and grew used to those burnt flavors, which is neither right nor wrong, just personal preference.
In wrapping up this tangent and bringing it back to my projects, right now (1/25/2022), Coffee Review (CR) is blind assessing my medium and medium-dark roasts (here are the previous crops reviews for the medium and dark). Next, I will compile the aromatic and cupping notes from PCR and CR to create a design with Derek Dozbaba, my label and bags graphic designer, for an updated front placard sticker and others.
I do this all for us. The more I learn and grow in this process, the clearer I can present information for you to purchase and create great coffee. I am taking suggestions for coffee blog topics that spark your curiosity.