GUEST BLOG—By the staff of Late For the Train Coffe Flagstaff, AZ.
COFFEE ROASTING--Every year significant advancements within the coffee trade are being made. Quality is increasing as farmers use new cleaning and drying methods as well as experimenting with cultivars, sustainable agricultural methods and biodiversity. The advances at the farm level have inspired us to look at our own practices. We decided that we could do better.
So we began to look. The first improvement we made was in our equipment. Afterall, this is where the magic transformation of flavor takes place. We invested in a state of the art roaster with profiling capabilities so that the more we learned about specific coffees, the more specific we could get to roast the best flavor possible...time after time.
After investigating the latest research in packaging we decided to make a huge shift from using flexible packaging to canning in retro-steel. The difference from cans of yore is the easy peel lid with one-way degassing valves. This keeps coffee fresh the best.
We call it our "Mountain Fresh" project.
We now pack our coffee immediately after roasting so the coffee will de-gas naturally inside the can, pushing out staling effects of oxygen. Preserving the peak flavor of your coffee as well as the environment--that's our packaging mission.
The environment? Yes. All of our cans are made of recycled material. And if you choose to recycle it again, unbeknownst to many, steel is endlessly recyclable with no wasted by-products. Plastic, poly corn-based, or metalized packaging cannot make this claim. Besides their recycling advantage, we are even more excited to see the myriad of re-uses people come up with for our cans. Art supplies, coins, pens & pencils, nuts & bolts, edible nuts, you name it we are beginning to hear about it.
We are very excited; new packaging and new roasting technology will better enable us to bring you quality that makes a difference.
CHOOSING COFFEE BY ROAST STYLE
Roast style is the first place you want to start when selecting a fresh roasted coffee. The differences in the degree of roast has a profound effect on the final taste and aroma. Read below, get some coffee, experiment, and have fun! Whatever your favorite style; Light, Medium, and Dark, at Late For The Train we select coffee specifically for the roast.
A light roast is produced by removing coffee from the roaster at a lower temperature than a darker roast. The main attribute of this roast is the presence of a clean, aromatic profile. Aromas are bright and intense. Acidity is also more likely to be pronounced. (Remember, “acidity” as a coffee tasting term is akin to what dryness is in wine).
At Late For The Train our preference is to take nearly every coffee beyond what most roasters consider a light roast. We hold the opinion that a light cinnamon colored roast develops an undeveloped flavor profile. We aim for more breadth and depth by roasting into a deeper tone. One exception is our Portofino Blend which is designed specifically for making espresso shots. To make our shots intensely flavored, super-smooth and sweet without competing roast notes requires a fairly light roast. Otherwise, we go hotter.
Many nuances exist within this class of roast. This roast style develops a broader, deeper complexity than a lighter roast. Higher temperatures and longer roasting times create a cup with more fully caramelize sugars, a smoother tactile sensation of body and a slightly muted acidity. A medium roast (into the second crack) expands the bean and brings its oils closer to the surface. The “roast” becomes more pronounced (imagine roasted vs. raw nuts) and a slight bittersweet character begins to develop.
There is no standard in claiming what is 'dark'. Some would consider some of our medium roasts to be technically 'dark'. Sometimes a name such as Viennese, French, Italian, or Spanish roast are used. But even here there is no standard. The rule here is; get to know your roaster.
As heat in the roaster goes beyond 455F to 475F the beans continue to darken, expand and lose mass as aromatic compounds, oils, and soluble solids continue to develop. With increased temperatures, the roast character becomes more pronounced and the brew becomes tactilely thinner. The essence of sweetness inherent in the chosen coffee rolls from a white sugary sensation to a deepening molasses-like smoothness.
By carefully selecting coffees for roasting dark we avoid having bitter tasting dark roasts. It's one of our hallmarks at Late For The Train. Our dark roasts are very popular. Try adding cream to our North Rim after brewing it and you may never brew a different coffee again!