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El Paraiso

Posted by brett struwe

January 22, 2010 15:28 PM

Our 2009 coffee offering from Guatemala, El Paraiso, is coming to its depletion. The roasters have roasted their last beloved batch of this coffee, which we began featuring in May. Caribou committed to sourcing and roasting this coffee, despite the fact we knew there wasn’t enough to last until the next crop cycle – and that’s fine by us! You see, coffee is best when it’s fresh – this you know – but did you also know that fresh green (raw) coffee just tastes better also? It’s true. But the trick for roasting is that as coffee resides in our inventory our craftspeople need to continually refine the roasting approach for timing and heat and airflow in order to best coax the flavors unique to each origin. So when one of our skilled technicians, like Anton for instance, approaches a batch roast of El Paraiso on his roasting machine, he has already mapped out a fresh and revised roast profile (a set of directions for machine settings and roast timing) that is perfect for that time in the coffee’s life cycle. For us at Caribou it wouldn’t be acceptable to simply treat this coffee in December that way it was roasted in September. And then that batch is cup tested so we can refine that roast profile again as need be. So enjoy your last chance at this unique offering from Guatemala, take the time to learn more about when the next best Guatemala coffees will be harvested, and savor the fact that Caribou’s roasters are relentless in their pursuit of perfect roasting. Happy Holidays! ~B

brett struwe

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Minus Below

Posted by brett struwe

January 08, 2010 16:46 PM

It's so cold in this part of the country this time of year that when a colleague of mine living in California asked what the temperature was, I could only respond, "It's like minus below." It's awfully good coffee drinking climate, as most would surmise, but the average coffee drinker wouldn't stop to think about what affect different kinds of weather has on roasting. The answer is, quite a lot! Aspects such as barometric pressure, humidity, and even outdoor temperature drastically change the desired settings for roasting coffee optimally. And one of the most important settings that our roasters adjust daily is what we call loosely, air flow. Air flow is velocity and pressure and volume all rolled up into one notion. But what a coffee connoisseur unknowingly cares about is that being able to adjust air flow in a roaster is the difference between coffee that is just roasted, versus coffee that is roasted to perfection - with nuance and delicacy combined with punch and vigor. Imagine something as simple as toast. You can adjust the toaster time, and sometimes the heat, but that's about it. Most roasters are serving you coffee that is kind of like toast that is made under these restrictive circumstances. Although they can adjust certain settings in their roaster, many cannot adjust air flow, and few try. Caribou's roaster technicians change air flow on a daily basis in order to have a machine that is set up just right and can change the operations of their convection fan with the turn of a switch or touch of a screen pad. And when you're roasting coffee at -20F while 6 months later it's 90F and July humidity, these things matter. And when you're a roaster in Minnesota, there is the added benefit working in one of the toastier places around. ~B

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Brett Struwe

Caribou Roastmaster since 1995
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