DON'T LOOK BACK IN ANGER
It's an understatement to say that the last 2 years flew right by us. And by us, we mean the WHOLE WORLD. We were thrust into an incredibly unfamiliar as well as uncomfortable landscape when Covid-19 hit in 2020, entire industries were shaken to re-organize & re-strategize. Almost 2 years later, we're still clawing through to uncover that tease of a light at the eventual end of the tunnel. Are we closer? Time will ultimately tell, but the clawing & the trudging cannot stop. We are no longer in unfamiliar territory nor should we still be uncomfortable. Hospitality has had to evolve beyond brick & mortar & there's no looking back.
We personally are not in the habit of looking back either. We are not fully confident of this vehicle we are controlling to turn our head around while our foot is on the pedal. It's prudent for sure to keep an eye on the rear view mirror, but it matters less to us who's behind as compared to who's in front. Enjoy the view & the journey too, they say.
This proverbial race is self-declared, by the way. We've come to appreciate the diversity & variety that's available in our city. We're also absolutely thankful for pioneers who've paved the way, grateful for fellow professionals who are on the same journey & excited for the new businesses who may choose to tread the less travelled paths.
LITTLE BY LITTLE
In August 2021, we began our renewed roasting journey with our new (tiny!) roastery. This has been a monumental landmark in our journey that we've set from beginning & to arrive at it has been surreal. Yet we had no time to bask in excitement nor idle in anxiety; we had to hit the ground running to keep up with the needs of our OG coffee bar at Far East Plaza as well as a couple of businesses we had began to help roasting for. We had a small window for us to acclimatize to our new machine albeit it being a similar model to what we have been roasting on since 2019. Updated temperature probe placements meant new data for us to interpret, leading to updated curve shapes & end targets. To help us along, we employed 2 roast objectives to "match" profiles; weight loss (measured in %) as well as roast colour (measured with a Lighttells Color reader). To achieve a similar tasting coffee between 2 different machines, we aimed to use the exact amount of coffee (weighed in KG) & roast it for a similar duration to achieve the same weight loss & roast colour.
The RED CURVE represents the profile from the previous Roasting Machine while the BLUE CURVE represents the profile from our new Roasting Machine. The biggest difference between the 2 machines was the position of the Bean Temperature probe; the previous machine (RED CURVE) had the probe placed slightly higher on the drum's face plate. This meant the probe's reading was aggregated with the beans mass as well as the inner ambient temperature, hence suggesting a higher overall temperature. The new machine (BLUE CURVE) had the probe placed closed to the exit door of the machine, which is right in the midst of the bean mass. This means the probe's temperature reading was a closer average of the bean mass, with was lower overall due to lesser interference from the hotter ambient temperature.
These 2 roasts had very similar results i.e. RED CURVE had a 12.25% weight loss & roast colour of 100.o points while the BLUE CURVE had a 12.3% weight loss & roast colour of 99.5.
We followed up with an in-depth cupping of both roasts, looking for differences in TASTE BALANCE, MOUTHFEEL, TEXTURE & QUALITY OF FLAVOURS. We were pretty happy with how the new roast turned out, so from that point it was a focus in tuning the finer details such as use of Airflow & Drum Speed to improve the quality of each aspect of the taste experience.
LET THERE BE LOVE
One of our goals for our roastery was also to play a supporting role in businesses who wanted to take control of their coffee programs & explore serving coffees they have curated themselves, rather than the traditional wholesale model. We also opened our roastery doors to good friends who are on a similar journey with us who wish to roast & serve their own coffees to a similar degree of quality. We truly believe that the industry can improve leaps & bounds with kindness, generosity as well as transparency! If you are own business & want to serve better coffee but don't know where to start, feel free to swing by any of our coffee bars to have a chat, or just drop us an email here.
We will continue with Part 2 soon, where we will share our goals for our coffee program for the years to come :)