What is Hand-Roasted Reserve Coffee?
There are a lot of products marked as gourmet or handmade that are not gourmet or handmade. It can be misleading and difficult to know what is a handcrafted product and what is not a handcrafted product
When it comes to coffee things become even more challenging. The major coffee roasting companies now offer gourmet coffees and gourmet coffee blends that look like something you might find at a local coffee roaster. However, they are poor imitations of a truly handcrafted, gourmet coffee.
Coffee roasting is both an art form and a science. The art form is when you take a skill set that has been mastered over decades and combine it with the precision of a scientist. The science of coffee roasting is knowing the specific dynamics of the coffee roasting process, a particular nose, and the empirical data about the green coffee bean you are roasting, and of course, the type of coffee roaster you are using to roast the coffee.
How We Sample Roast Green Coffee Beans for our Reserve Coffee
WHAT IS HAND ROASTED COFFEE?
Hand roasted coffee is made in small batches with the direct intervention of a master coffee roaster. The master coffee roaster watches over the batch as it’s roasted to make sure it’s done to perfection.
Our mechanical coffee roaster is a 45 Kilo Probat. Our human Master Coffee Roaster controls the load size, the time the temperature and the airflow. Decisions are made on the spot, predicated on what coffee bean is in the roast and those decisions affect and create that unique flavor profile for each coffee blend or each single-origin coffee. This takes a wee bit of genius, decades of practice and a lot of hard work by a lot of people to support the entire process. Consistency is critical, it is what separates us from every other coffee company. Twelve years of consistency and quality in coffee production is a hard thing to do. (If you are reading this newsletter, you have been addicted to our coffee for a while, and we would like to take a moment to thank you for drinking our product because you truly appreciate the quality and consistency).
Large factory coffee roasting companies often turn to automation to manufacture their volume, however, the art and science of coffee roasting are lost in a large factory coffee roaster. There is no way to truly pull the full potential of the green coffee bean in a large factory roaster. Temperature control is automated and a fail-safe is generally set only a maximum on/off temperature. It is not a computer; it does not control the profile, and it is usually set at a high temperature. Data logging by computers track changes in temperature but do not do anything to create a roast profile. This is where the master coffee roaster steps in with their roasting profile system and to decide upon the load size, time, temperature and airflow.
Automation can be very convenient but does not allow the fine control that handcrafting coffee roasters aspire to achieve by literally standing at the machine and controlling the roast.
HAND ROASTED COFFEE VERSUS SMALL BATCH COFFEE
There is a slight difference between hand-roasted coffee and small-batch roasted coffee. While all hand-roasted coffees are small-batch, not all small-batch coffees are hand-roasted.
There are many automated large coffee roasters on the market. They use technology to guide the large roast. The issue is that there is as much art as science to the roasting of coffee. A master roaster understands that things like humidity, the differences in where the green coffee beans are grown, and even the ambient temperature of the room can make a difference.
If you think in terms of baking bread, it’s the difference between a bread machine and a master baker. Bread from a bread machine is adequate, but the master baker will bake bread that is life-changing.
WHAT IS RESERVE COFFEE?
Reserve is a phrase that has no set meaning except that set by the coffee roaster, the vineyard, or anyone else. The meaning is generally that the item is only available in a limited quantity and is being released at the perfect time to maximum flavor.
One of the world’s largest coffee roasters has released Reserve Coffee and spent a lot of money on a Reserve Roastery concept. While these might be limited quantities for them, they are likely selling more of a single coffee than many small artisan coffee roasters sell in a year.
Hand Roasting Legacy Blend Coffee on a Royal No.5
At Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, our reserve coffees are truly rare. These are beans we can only buy in very small quantities, usually from a single farm and in limited quantity.
WHY IS HAND ROASTED COFFEE BETTER?
The difference between industrial coffee roasting and hand roasting coffee is that hand-roasted coffee is nuanced and subtle.
A master roaster will help to bring the subtle hints of flavors, ranging from chocolate to fruits, by gently bringing the coffee beans to perfection. Again, like a baker, the influence of a master makes the coffee beans more than coffee. It makes them an experience.
HOW TO BREW HAND ROASTED COFFEE?
If you’re brewing a national coffee brand from a vacuum-sealed can from the grocery store, there is not a lot to do that will make the coffee taste delicious. It’s usually a few months old. While the major coffee companies do their best to send you fresh coffee, anything left in a can for a couple of months is, by definition, not fresh coffee.
When you receive your hand-roasted coffee from Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, it is super fresh.
Here’s how we recommend you brew your coffee:
- Choose your favorite brewing method. Don’t use an espresso machine unless you’re using an espresso grind. You can use almost anything else. Our preference is a French Press or a simple pour-over. That allows you to control the temperature and the length of time the coffee is in contact with the water.
- Heat fresh water. If you have access to true spring water, your coffee will be better. If you’re using municipal water, filter it first.
- If you’re using a pour-over method, heat the water to 195℉. If you’re using a French press, a lower temperature is great, about 185℉. Don’t use boiling water; it burns the coffee.
- If you’re pouring over, go slowly letting the water contact as much coffee as possible. If you’re using a cone, don’t just pour it. Just pour enough water to make the coffee float only slightly. Keep pouring slowly until the cup or carafe is full.
- If you’re using a French press, pour the water in. Then, using the plunger, gently stir the coffee in the press. Now let it stand for 4 minutes. Plunge, pour and enjoy.
Hand roasted coffee that has been brewed perfectly is like a fine wine. It will have small subtleties, like cedar, berries, cocoa, and more. Similar to a wine tasting, coffee can give you a variety of experiences based on the roast, the grind, the brewing method, and how it’s treated. Once you’ve developed a method that works for you, experiment with temperatures, timing, and more. Everything you do will make your coffee a slightly different experience.
The one thing that will make every cup of coffee an excellent experience is when you use fresh hand-roasted reserve coffee.
Master Roaster Hand-Roasting Coffee at Weaver's Coffee & Tea
The best way to compare factory roasted coffee to hand-roasted coffee would be to compare it to buying an apple pie at the grocery store or digging into Grandma’s fresh-baked apple pie.
Grandma’s kitchen is smaller, she works carefully and precisely handcrafting her delicious apple pie, similar to a Master Coffee Roaster working his magic on a smaller 45 Kilo Probat coffee roaster, handcrafting each roast to cup perfection.
What makes Peaberry Reserve Coffee so interesting is its anatomy.
First, we will start with a little coffee bean lesson. When coffee is picked off the tree it is referred to as a coffee cherry. The coffee cherry typically contains two seeds. In a typical coffee bean both sides are fertilized and two coffee beans grow to a fruit, flat against each other like halves of a peanut. (See image above.)
On a rare occasion, about 5% to 10% of the time, only one side of the coffee bean is fertilized and this is how you get a peaberry coffee bean. Basically, without the other coffee bean growing against it, the fertilized seed grows into a rounded bean (See image below.) These beans are referred to as peaberry coffee beans while the normal coffee beans are referred to as flat berry coffee beans.
Peaberry coffee is considered a natural mutation of the coffee bean inside its coffee cherry. The peaberry coffee beans are smaller, denser, and rounder than regular flat coffee beans, and they don’t have the flat side. Although you may hear that Peaberry Coffee Beans are found in certain geographical locations, the truth is, peaberry coffee beans are found in all regions, so the distinction is solely on anatomy. This variation can happen in both robusta coffee beans and Arabica coffee beans as well.
Image Above: Inside Peaberry Coffee Cherry
Why are some Peaberry Coffee Beans called a Reserve Coffee?
It is impossible to tell a coffee bean is a peaberry coffee bean until after picking and processing. Once coffee beans are picked and processed then these lovely round peaberry coffee beans need to be hand-sorted. Often coffee farmers will have a screen that is sized to filter out the larger flat berries out and maybe a few smaller flat berries will make their way through. This added time to sort out the peaberry coffee bean is one of the reasons they are considered a reserve coffee.
Peaberry coffee beans also tend to roast differently. They are smaller and rounder than a flat berry coffee bean and some say they roll in the roaster easier which affects roasting. The higher coffee bean density may improve heat transfer in the roasting process and it also requires a slower roast.
Because of this difference in coffee bean density and the slower roast, the Peaberry Reserve Coffee bean tastes different than the flat berry coffee bean from the same crop. Many peaberry coffee fans note that the Peaberry Reserve Coffee has a sweeter and more flavorful taste profile.
Share your experience of Weaver's Coffee & Tea Peaberry White Label Reserve Coffee on the product page.
What Is Reserve Coffee and What Makes It Special?
If you are watching the news or happen to type the words Reserve Coffee, into Google’s search engine you will find a large coffee company has recently decided to jump on the Reserve Coffee movement. Plenty of people would like to say, welcome to the party, it sure did take you long enough to realize people love to drink really good coffee. I guess the question is how do you make great coffee?
We have been roasting four Reserve Coffee’s: Papua New Guinea Peaberry Reserve Coffee, Kona Reserve Coffee, Jamaica Mountain Blue Reserve Coffee, and Peaberry Reserve Coffee for many years. We believe in providing you with quality and consistency because in the end, it is all about passion and commitment. Our first Reserve Coffee – Kona White Label Reserve was created back in 2009, and has continued to be a top seller.
Hand Roasting coffee is an art that has been cultivated by a master roaster who has stood at the machine for many decades, four decades in the case of John Weaver. The master roaster takes into account that each green coffee bean has a different size, shape, color, and density: thus each green coffee bean requires a different application of time, temperature and airflow throughout the roast. Only a roaster intimately familiar with the green coffee beans roasting characteristics can bring out the fullness and potential of that specific bean.
Creating a sense of scarcity and tagging on an exotic name may be the new idea of a reserve coffee, but we know it takes more than a slick marketing campaign to make a fabulous cup of reserve coffee. We create our Single Origin Coffee's, Coffee Blends and Reserve Coffee's, with incredible attention to detail thereby ensuring through our everyday intention, that we are providing "cup perfection".