Sourcing and Roasting Philosophy
We leave the green coffee sourcing to a handful of trusted importers that specialize in doing only this. We always strive to buy coffees with as much traceability as possible - sometimes this can be difficult due to certain countries' (particularly Ethiopia) exporting systems. However, the vast majority of our coffees come from a single farm, from a single producer (whose name goes on our bag) or small group of producers. The quality of the coffees that we buy results in the producer being paid far more than the average coffee farmer gets paid, and usually far more than any coffee that is certified as Fair Trade.
We endlessly receive samples from our importers and roast them on our Ikawa Pro Sample Roaster, then cup them blindly to evaluate quality.
We roast on a Loring S15 Falcon. This is a fluid bed roaster, not a traditional drum roaster. It gives us far better consistency than the 50+ year old technology that drum roasters rely on, so there are no surprises about how hot the coffee gets or how much air is flowing. This means that you can expect each batch of a given coffee to taste exactly the same as any other batch. Combined with our meticulous selection of coffees, information that we get about a coffee's responsiveness to heating from an array of 50g sample roasts, and our years of experience roasting and brewing coffee, this means that we are confident that you will love our coffee.
Our goal is to roast coffee so that it tastes balanced. Balance means that there is sweetness, acidity, bitterness (we try to minimize this, but coffee is of course inherently quite bitter), and body. We recognize that each of you has your own idea of what balance is. Some prefer the balance to lean towards more bitterness, others towards more sweetness, etc. We try to maximize sweetness and acidity as these characteristics are what taste best to us, as well as distinguish one coffee from another. The end result depends on the green coffee itself. For example, a high quality washed Ethiopia Guji might have bright grapefruit acidity, with meyer lemon sweetness, and flavor notes of blueberry and jasmine. On the other hand, a high quality washed Colombia Narino might have soft clementine acidity, with brown sugar sweetness and a flavor note of herbal tea. Neither should taste sour nor bitter, but the balance is slightly different because the origin and processing affects the flavor compounds that we have to work with. Both delicious, but very different.