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Training Log by Joseph Fisher - Sweetness and Balance

Posted by Patrik Rolf Karlsson on


A date has been set, and now registration has been made. It’s now time to unpack the necessary preparations and to find a training schedule and format that will cover all areas of the scoresheet at hand. I’ve taken account of the highest priorities and it’s great to begin putting practice sessions together to reflect this.

The most immediate priority was to begin roasting smaller batch sizes using the 15kg rated Loring Kestral that I would otherwise use to roast 12kg production batches with. Modifying the batch size brings along with it a number of challenges. How much conductive energy should the machine be carrying into a 3kg batch? How does the bean probe react to a smaller mass inside of the drum? Is the probe reading at this batch size really indicative of bean temperature?

To begin answering these questions I have been roasting 3kg batches using differing charge temperatures, time in between protocols, starting temps for inlet/stack temperatures as well as vastly different burner applications. The more I can practise how to best create efficient and reliable energy transfer at this batch size before competition day, the better. It’s clear that the roast plan will be highly dependant on the green coffee at hand, but these preparations will be the foundation of how I put the roast plan together on competition day.

Alongside this, I have begun to unpack the scoresheet format that the judges will use to evaluate the sensory attributes of my roasts. As this doesn’t fit the same format as our internal QC at April, it’s worth taking the time to cup different coffee using the competition ratio and scoring the cups using their system. This score sheet has X2 multipliers for both Sweetness and Balance, which makes both attributes very important to focus on. When evaluating the test batches that I have roasted so far, it’s my intuition to elevate the scores of the cleaner or most vibrant flavour distinct cups as this is my preference, however when using the judges scoresheet these cups would not necessarily score well if deemed to have insufficient sweetness or a poor flavour structure.

Reflecting this scoring system I’m now beginning to experiment, tasting the same green coffee samples roasted using differing Ikawa profiles and scoring to specification. I’ll be exploring this process more in my next post, however for now I can tell you one thing. If you’re going to sample roast in your bedroom, remember to open a window.

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