You hear a lot of people mentioning how much they love Dark roast. What about medium and light roast coffees? What makes a light, medium and dark roast unique and different?
Coffee Roasting Profiles
Quick outline before we dive into light, medium and dark roast coffees. Each coffee roasted at Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters is roasted to bring out the intended flavors or each origin, altitude, processing method and more. A high altitude wet processed coffee from Kenya will have a different roast profile than a lower altitude natural pulped coffee from Brazil. The below info is an outline of the general principles and differences between each light, medium and dark roasted coffees.
Light Roast Coffee
Light roast coffees commonly called City and City+ roast are roast levels on the lighter spectrum or the scale. Generally you will be able to pick up more distinct flavors and the origin of the coffee when it is a lighter roast. The cups are brighter and more acidic and will have more of a pop than a traditional French roast. This leads to a lively cup of coffee and highlights fruitier and floral notes. The specialty coffee industry tends to be on the lighter side highlighting the coffee’s origin and processing methods. Light roast are not for everyone, but it is a good way to challenge your perception of the traditional cup of coffee.
Medium Roast Coffee
Medium Roast fall in the Full City to Full City+ spectrum on the roast scale. Full City roast tend to reduce the acidity levels in the cup the longer you roast the beans. This results in a more balanced and refined cup overall. Depending on origin and processing methods, medium roast tend to be on the smoother and sweeter side. You will still pick up hints of origin and some lighter notes in medium roast, but it is not as prominent as light roast coffees. Medium roast tend to be a very popular roast for most coffees as this profile will highlight its origin and processing method, but result in a more balanced, less polarizing cup.
Dark Roast Coffee
Dark Roast coffee has the least amount of caffeine compared to lighter roasted coffees. There seems to be an understanding that dark roast has the most caffeine since it is a bold, bitter, big bodied cup of coffee. The longer you roast a coffee you are burning sugars and as a result caffeine from the coffee. Dark roast do have their place and can complement coffees profiles. However, the longer you roast a coffee you are losing its origin flavors and picking up ‘roast’ flavors. As coffee continues to roast it releases carbon dioxide within the bean resulting in ‘second crack’ (more on this in a later post), resulting in French/Vienna roast profiles. The darker the roast, the more you will notice oil on the beans. This oil can be a sign of old coffee if you purchase prepackaged coffee at a store.
So which roast profiles do you like? At Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters we encourage you to explore and try different roast profiles to expand your coffee knowledge and explore more origins. Feel free to reach out with any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn how to brew a café quality cup of coffee at home this weekend! Below are a few pointers in help improve your home brewing!
This one might seem obvious, but fresh coffee is critical to producing a good cup of coffee. When you buy coffee from your local roaster (Aveley Farms) or café ask when the coffee was roasted. Quality coffee should have a ‘roasted on’ date instead of an ‘Expires on’ date printed on the bag.
Coffee is best when consumed in the first two weeks after roasting. Please buy coffee whole bean if possible as coffee is best when freshly ground. Studies show coffee starts to lose its flavor four minutes after being ground. As far as coffee profiles go, this is up to personal taste and preference. Some people like big bodied, chocolate, nutty coffees while other prefer brighter and fruity coffees. No matter how you prefer your coffee, remember that fresh coffee is a must!
Keep in mind that how you choose to brew your coffee, grind size and other factors will determine how each cup turns out.
Grind size is next in line of importance when it comes to brewing a good cup at home. Depending on the brew method you decide to use, this will dictate how you should grind your coffee.
As mentioned above, freshly ground coffee is ideal for the best cup of coffee! We recommend Burr grinders over blade grinders as you can get a more consistent grind size. Burr grinders are more expensive, but worth the investment to ensure a perfect grind each time. The finer you grind your coffee, the more extraction will take place. Pour over and drip coffees require a finer grind size (table salt) than a French Press (courser grinds). If you are fortunate enough to have an espresso machine at home you will have to grind extremely fine as espresso machines require pressure to extract the coffee…more on Espresso in a later post.
Grind size can and will have a huge impact on the extraction of your coffee. Having the correct grind size for your brew method of choice is a must.
There are countless ways to brew coffee. Pour over, Drip, French Press, Chemex, Espresso, Aeropress, Mako Pot and so many more! The method you choose is not as important, but rather what flavor profiles you are looking for.
Pour over and filter coffees such as Hario V60, Chemex and others will produce more extraction and result in a cleaner, lighter cup. One thing to remember with filter coffees is to pre-wet the filter to ensure the paper taste is washed out before you being your brew. Coffee Percolators such as French Press and Aeropress, which cycle the coffee grounds in a heated chamber, will generally result in bigger bodied cups. At Aveley Farms, we use a gooseneck kettle to help with pour speed and consistency in all our brew methods.
Remember the type of brewing method you select will determine the grind size required. The water temperature you use in combination with the amount of ground coffee you use for your brew will determine the pace of extraction as well.
Refer to our ‘Brew Methods’ section to get details on different brew methods.
Experiment & Have Fun
Part of the coffee experience is experimenting with new brew equipment, messing with grind size, tying different pouring speeds, water temperatures and all the other variables into pouring a perfect cup! The above guidelines are a good starting place and will help you improve your home brewing methods. Remember, it always starts with high quality, freshly roasted coffee. After this, it comes down to personal preference, how you like your coffee, and trying new methods.
Feel free to send an email with any questions you have on coffees, brew equipment, grinders, filters or any other questions to email@example.com.
Washed, Dry, Natural, Honey, Pulped Natural, what do these mean? These all appear on Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters 12oz bags, so what are they?
These are processing methods in which the coffee you drink everyday is processed from cherry to bean. The method the coffee is processed ultimately has a big impact on the way your coffee taste. Let’s find out what each processing method is and which is your favorite!
Washed/Wet Processed Coffee
Washed or wet processed coffee is when the green coffee bean is separated from the cherry and soaked in a water tank before being laid on the drying beds.
Farmers have equipment called pulpers that allow them to strip the cherry skin and fruit away from the green coffee bean. After the cherries are depulped, the green coffee goes into the water tank for a controlled amount of time. This allows the fermentation process to start. The length of time each coffee remains in the water tanks varies depending on altitude, temperate and other factors. After this, the green coffee is washed and separated from any remaining mucilage on the coffee been. The green coffee is then laid out on drying beds until the desired moisture levels are met and then prepared for milling.
Washed Coffee is the most common processing method in the Specialty coffee industry today. It allows farmers to highlight single origin coffee profiles and desired cupping notes. One downside to the washed method is that it requires a lot of water. In some coffee growing countries where water is scare this is not an option, and other processes are used.
Natural/Dry Processed Coffees
Natural or Dry Processed coffee is when the coffee bean is left in the coffee cherry and laid out to dry on patios or drying beds.
Natural processed coffee is the original processing method founded in Ethiopia and is still practiced in regions with lesser water access. Dry processed coffees require less investment and resources than wet processed coffees, but do require more attention to the coffee cherries. If the coffee cherries are not tended to frequently it can result in under ripe and overripe cherries being mixed in with ripe coffee cherries, resulting in undesired cupping notes.
With this said, Dry Processed Coffees do have the potential to deliver some of the best tasting coffees in the world. If a dry processed coffee is tended to correctly, it can offer amazing fruit flavors and cupping notes. On top of this, natural processed coffees are more eco-friendly using less water and resources than washed coffees.
Honey Processed/Natural Pulped Coffees
Honey Processed or Pulped Natural coffees are a mixture between natural and washed coffees. Honey processed coffees are depulped of the cherry skin and a percentage of the fruit, but still leave some fruit and mucilage on the coffee bean. After this it is sent to dry on the drying beds.
Honey processed coffee was born from an experiment to produce high quality coffee with less water required than wet processed coffees. Farmers have come a long way since this experiment and now purposefully manipulate certain coffees to develop desired cupping profiles. There are several kinds of honey processed coffees including; red, yellow, white and black honey processed coffees. These coffees that started out as an experiment are now a mainstream in specialty coffee. Honey coffees tend to have an increased sweetness and body that offer complex cups.
Which Coffee Processing Method is Best?
Now that you have an understanding of coffee processing methods, it is up to you to decide what profiles you like best! I encourage you to seek clarification and ask questions to your Baristas and Roasters regarding the coffees they are serving. Done correctly, all methods offer world-class coffees. Farmers and roasters continue to work together on Micro Lots each harvest, and continue to push the boundaries of what coffee profiles can be developed!
Today there are countless certifications of what coffee is and isn’t, it is hard to keep track of. You see certifications on every coffee bag in every coffee shop around the world. So what do all these certifications mean? What is Direct Trade coffee and how is it different from other certifications? Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters is proud to partner with importers who have established Direct Trade relationships with coffee growers around the world! We are looking forward to a sourcing trip to origin later this year and establishing our own relationships with coffee farmers!
What is Direct Trade Coffee? In short, Direct Trade Coffee is a coffee buying model where the green coffee is purchased directly from the coffee farmer. This ensures fair prices are paid (well above the C-Market prices), strong relationships are formed to ensure sustainability, and feedback is given to ensure quality and improvements for future coffee lots. Direct Trade coffee is sometimes referred to as Relationship coffee and this could not be more accurate.
Direct Trade coffee is about long running relationships built between coffee roasters and coffee growers to establish transparency in the coffee chain. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that fails if one side does not honor its commitment. The coffee roaster provides feedback to the farmer on the quality of the coffee produced with the ideal of producing better and better coffee each year. The roaster pays a premium directly to the farmer for the quality of the coffee. This eliminates the middlemen and ensures more money and resources are being paid directly to the farmer and their workers.
The farmer on the other hand puts processes in place that ensure better quality control and ultimately better coffee each year. This is afforded by the premium the coffee roaster pays to allow the workers a better quality of life, new water tanks, drying beds, pulping machines, etc. There is also the incentive to produce higher scoring coffee, which will result in higher premiums year after year. Once a direct trade relationship is established, the coffee growers and roasters will often work on micro lots within their farms. This is a controlled lot carefully maintained to produce desired cupping profiles specifically for that coffee roaster. These coffees can often times score extremely high resulting in notoriety for the farmer as well as the roaster.
Now that you have an understanding of Direct Trade Coffee, How is Direct Trade Coffee different from Fair Trade Coffee? Rainforest Alliance Coffee? Organic Coffee?
The most well known certification of these is Fair Trade Certified. Fair trade coffee is run by a non-profit organization that started with a good idea, but can be misleading to the public. Fair Trade’s idea is to set a minimum price per pound above the C-market that coffee must be purchased for. Coffee farmers must adhere to certain standards to be certified Fair Trade. The problem with this is farmers will spend money to meet standards, but not recoup the money spent in order to be Fair Trade certified. The other problem is, even if Fair Trade standards are met it is hard to trace the amount of money the farmer receives. Direct Trade relationships are much more sustainable, traceable, and allow more resources and feedback directly to the farmer.
Rainforest Alliance certification is a sustainable agricultural standard that includes environmental, social and economic factors. Again, farmers must meet certain standards set forth by the Rainforest Alliance group in order to receive this certification. Rainforest Alliance relates back to sustainable farming, conservation efforts, improved quality of life for workers, improved farming practices, equipment and more.
Certified Organic Coffee is certified and monitored by the USDA. Organic coffee must be grown under strict practices that include no pesticides, fertilizers or synthetic processes. It does not specify any improved working conditions for the workers and cost more to be certified organic. Organic coffee can fetch higher premiums, but it does not necessarily dictate a better tasting coffee. Organic coffee does have its place in the industry and it is up to the farmer to decide if this is the right certification for their coffee!
Overall Direct Trade Coffee is the most transparent and sustainable coffee practice. It ensures farmers are paid fairly (well above Fair Trade Certified) high quality coffee is produced, and sustainable practices are used. At Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters we strive to partner with Direct Trade importers and farmers at origin to deliver the highest quality coffee to you!
You can view more details on certifications and visit the organizations through: https://www.freshcup.com/coffee-certifications/
Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters started 3 years ago with a cup of Single Origin Guatemalan Coffee. I ordered a 12oz drip coffee and proceeded to sit down and take a sip. My senses exploded. I had to take another sip to confirm what I tasted. My mouth was alive with flavors. Bright fruit and citrus flavors radiating with every sip that followed. This cup changed the way I view, taste and think about coffee. I was hooked and had to find out more!
After discovering this new coffee culture, I began researching and reading everything I could get my hands on. I was instantly drawn towards High Quality, Sustainable and Direct Trade Coffee. In 2016 I bought a Home Roaster, 5lbs of green coffee, and started roasting in my apartment kitchen. I started roasting ¼lbs at a time to get a feel for the roasting process and to explore the machine. I would grind the coffee the following morning and use my French Press to see how it tasted. As you can imagine, this was not always a pleasant experience.
As time passed, I wanted to develop and fine-tune my skills. I continued to research, learn, experiment, cup, fail and keep going. As I continued to experiment and become more consumed with the coffee world, I started thinking of names for this new hobby. A few weeks later Aveley Farms came up in conversation with my brother and Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters was born.
Aveley Farms started long before I can remember. It started with visiting my Grandparent’s house in Saint Michaels, Maryland each summer. Throughout the years countless family and friends have visited for long weekends with more memories than one can count. The house has been a place of welcoming, happiness, and friendships, a place of community and of people coming together. Aveley Farms Coffee Roasters is a nod to the house and what it stands for. It is the exact experience we hope to deliver to Baltimore.
Our mission is to deliver high quality, sustainable, and direct trade coffee to the Baltimore Community. It is our goal to grow the coffee scene in Baltimore through continued education on all things coffee from processing methods, extraction, public cuppings and more. Baltimore is an amazing city with rich culture and we are excited to plant roots and become part of that culture.
We launched in September of 2017 and sold out of green coffee in the first week. Currently, we are working with importers and sourcing coffees for our upcoming Fall 2017 Coffee Offerings. Each week we will be writing blogs on a wide variety of topics from sustainable coffee practices, brewing methods, problems the coffee industry faces and more. Our goal is to challenge the way you view, taste and think about coffee. We are excited to move back and plant roots in Baltimore in 2018 and look forward to becoming part of the community that makes Baltimore great!