The Ethiopian Experiment was fun. I experimented with five different Ethiopian beans; Lekempti, Yigacheffe, Kaffa Forest, Harrar and Djimmah. The Lekempti was the favourite. Not to suggest this bean was better than the others though, as I only experimented with limited roasts of each.
Focusing on the results of that first effort, I ordered ten more pounds of the Lekempti. Each pound was roasted differently. I only tried them in a French Press as recommended. A medium roast (approximately 2.5 minutes after first crack) was my preferred one.
I had an epiphany during this experiment. An important one. I considered creating a roasting company based on the positive results from my efforts. My roasts were in demand. I have since decided against it. I will still roast my own beans and continue to learn, but if roasting is something I pursue as a revenue stream, it will be a part of the coffeehouse and not a standalone effort. It is a different craft than the one I want to pursue.
So why then? What was the epiphany?
I realized roasting was a great learning platform, but it is not my true passion. My passion is the later stages of coffee, the brewing and presentation. The barista craft, the interaction with people, the shared experience and story. I am not properly set up for roasting. Sure, I can make it work in the summer and shoulder months, but the winter was going to be a serious challenge. I am not willing (right now) to sink money into setting this up and become distracted from establishing my coffeehouse. Incorporating roasting into the coffeehouse remains a possibility. I am interested, just not passionately; right now anyway.
The effort was not in vain though. I learned much about beans, the process, the flavour profiles and nuances in drawing them out from the green beans. There is a science to it for certain.
So what next then?
A refined focus on the barista craft.
Armed with a better understanding of the roasting process, my focus will now be on nailing that perfect espresso. Getting the milk right – consistently. There are many styles of coffees and different ways I have seen them served. Finding my way is now the task. The latte art will come, and I will continue to practice and explore the creative aspects of this art, but it is a parallel effort to the primary goal of getting the espresso, milk, ratios and consistency right.
I am enjoying the challenge of nailing what I hope will be my signature latte art, the moustache (the featured picture is one of those attempts). Instagram has proven a good place to showcase these works – and of course you can find these on my website’s Gallery.