When Bedhatu’s coffee landed on the cupping table, my first thought as I dove into the cup, was it was akin to being slapped in the face by a technicolor rainbow! Ethiopian coffees are, year on year, the gift that keeps on giving, and this example from Banko Gotiti is no exception. A full, bright, luxurious coffee such as this deserves to be tasted, in all of its many iterations. I had to give Bedhatu’s coffee the comparative roast treatment, if only to do justice to my greedy mind, and mouth! Taking into account the sizable bouquet of floral and fruit notes, my first roast was to eke out as much from these flavors as possible. I chose to achieve this by starting my 400g charge at the maximum gas output I use on the Probatino at The Crown, and step gently down on the gas to the minimum gas output used here. In layman’s terms, I started at 3 and incrementally went down to 2!
Diving right in, I started the first roast 10 degrees F higher than the second. I knew that I wanted to force as many of the enzymatic reactions I could to take place during the second half of the first stage of the roast, right up to the coloring stage – about 1 min 30 seconds after the turning point. I believe that I marked the color stage slightly later (by 10 seconds) than first seeing it, so it seems as though I turned the gas down immediately, but in truth it was about 15 seconds later that I decided to ease back on the gas, and watch how the coffee proceeded through the maillard stage of the roast. Well, this coffee likes the heat, because, much like a quarterback with a football, it took its chance, and ran right up the field! Not my proudest moment to have a coffee crack at 5 minutes in the drum, but managing to turn the ‘flame’ (vs the ‘number’) dial down half way, I was able to eek out a respectable 19% PCD.
As ever, the cup decides whether or not a roast failed, and cupping this coffee indicated that this faster, less than ‘perfect’ roast was a winner! Multiple cuppers noted clear flavors of peach, apricot and jasmine honeysuckle, as well as, grape, hints of raspberry, rose and tropical fruit, I’d say I had achieved what I set out to do. The cup also gave up delicious butter cookie, vanilla, maple syrup, rooibos, nougat and chocolate flavors. Complex, clean, bright citrus acidity crammed its way into the cup too. The more the merrier! This roast would definitely excel as a pour over, but I can imagine it being equally delicious as a batch brew also. A delicate & flavorful afternoon pick me up, if you will.
And as a compliment to your afternoon filter, I’m sure the second roast of this coffee would provide an excellent base for a morning espresso or luxurious latte. After all, one of the taste notes recorded by our cuppers was ‘lush’! Starting slow and steady, I charged the drum at 368 degrees F with 400g again, using a minimum amount of heat with the gas at 2. The coffee spent a little longer, around 20 seconds, in the dehydrating and enzymatic phase (or stage one) of the roast. But, as I had started from a reduced heat input, even though I turned the gas up to 3 at first sight of the color change, I was able to extend the Maillard phase for an additional 45 seconds. The coffee cracked at about the same temperature (396 degrees F), but did so a full minute later than the first roast. After turning the heat down to 2, immediately upon hearing first crack rolling, the coffee threatened to stall, but didn’t and achieved a post crack development ratio of 15% (just over a minute). Because of the time spent in the preceding stages of the roast, both coffees had a PCD of about 1 minute, but the ratio was 19% PCD for the first roast, as I had spent exactly the same percentage of time (4%) less in stage 2 during that roast.
That simple gas change recipe, accompanied by the lower charge temperature (both of the roasts finished at about 403 degrees F) delivered dividends indeed. The florality of jasmine and honeysuckle remained, but was now joined by lavender, hibiscus, and lemongrass. With fruit notes of apricot, plum, blackberry jam, mandarin orange, white peach, and raspberry, in addition to the sparkling acidity of lemon and lime our cups runneth over! The coffee was notably more viscous and jammy but still cooled as a structured and balanced cup. I hope to see and taste different roasts of this coffee around the Bay Area and beyond – it’s a delight, and has so much to give, that I can imagine the same satisfaction from multiple roast profiles. I’m excited for you to see what you may bring to this gorgeous coffee too.