The October 2017 to January 2018 crop of Sumatra Mandheling was a failure and it was hard to purchase this strain, one of our best sellers and favoured by many customers. The last crop of Guatemala Antigua was seriously impacted by rust, a fungus that damages coffee. Now it is hard to find Guatemala Antigua. We are fortunate enough to have some Sumatra Mandheling. With good luck our supply of Guatemala Antigua will return. High end coffee grows in the tropics at altitudes of 3000 feet plus. We read warnings of the impact climate change will have on temperature sensitive coffee trees. With warmer temperatures coffee will have to go higher up in altitude where there is less land. We do not want to even think about that!
Nestled among three volcanos is the Antigua valley in Guatemala more than 1500 metres above sea level. High altitude and rich volcanic soil in the tropics make for ideal growing conditions. Our Guatemala Antigua specialty coffee is a favourite with the roaster. Breathe in floral and citrus aromas. Roast the coffee medium dark to the edge of second crack and it has chocolate and caramel flavours with a bright hint of lemon. The mouth feel is full and thick. So good and in demand is this coffee that growers and producers need to protect themselves from others smuggling in coffees from elsewhere and trying to pass them off as Guatemala Antigua.
Tomorrow’s forecast was hot and muggy. I made up cold brew and put it in the fridge to “brew” over night. The next morning I made my morning pour over from Guatemala Antigua roasted two days earlier. Wow! Rested two days: that is perfect. As the day grew hot and muggy I had a glass of cold brew made from Papua New Guinea Kimel AA also roasted two days ago. Wow! How the flavours came through. There is a debate as to whether roasted coffee should be rested one day or two days after roasting. I try for two days if I can last that long. Regardless treat roasted coffee like produce. The roast date (not the best before date!) needs to be on the bag of coffee you buy. Almost all coffee in stores is hopelessly stale. Buy only freshly roasted coffee beans.
SHaBean Coffee Roastery is growing and we have outgrown our original roaster. This spring (2018) SHaBean acquired the Artisan 9 coffee roaster from Coffee Crafters located in the American north west where the specialty coffee industry tends to be located. The Artisan 9 is a state of the art fluid bed roaster, roasting green beans in a column of hot air. The process is clean, producing chaff free evenly roasted coffee beans. Our roasting capacity is now increased at least by a factor of four. We are in control of more variables and are doing great roasts. Of course we are still roasting only high end single source beans.
When we first started our home roastery we found a broker to sell us insurance who insured us through Lloyds of London. We make jokes about SHaBean Coffee Roastery being so huge, Lloyds of London is needed to spread the risk through many insurance companies. As we learned the history of coffee we discovered that Edward Lloyd owned a coffee house in London in the late 1600’s. One of the things he did in his coffee house was post lists of ships with their cargos and schedules. Underwriters frequented Edward Lloyds selling insurance. Our insurance company, one of the largest in the world, began in a coffee house!
For almost two years SHaBean Coffee Roastery has been using a converted BBQ to roast green coffee beans. In those two years we have done 557 roasts and roasted over 2200 pounds of coffee. For ambitious amateur roasters RK Drums provides reliable conversion kits to turn gas BBQs into roasters. The price is modest compared with alternatives. The roaster does need to be outside. There are various sized drums for various sized gas BBQs depending on what quanity of beans one wants to roast. See the detailed write up for RK Drums roasters on shabeancoffeeroastery.ca
In the 1930s the colonial government of Kenya hired Scott Laboratories (still known for strains of wine yeast) to identify strains of coffee and recommend strains to grow. The highest recommendation was for the twenty-eighth strain Scott Laboratories numbered in sequence SL-28. SL-28 is now the famous strain known as Kenya AA. Kenya AA is so highly regarded that as green beans it draws a high price and holds its price when green coffee prices go down. Kenya AA is a bright fruity coffee with a winey finish: it is known as the cabernet of coffees.