When working with espresso I have heard a lot of different approaches to the blending and the roasting. I would love to hear what you all are doing. As of right now we are pre-roast blending and roasting it nice and slow. We take different blends to different roast levels. But they are all slower than our origin coffees.

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I have tried it both ways and I am as of today still preblending prior to roasting. I have a few ideas that will require post roast blending though.
What are your results ??
What kind of roaster do you use?
How long is "Slow" ?
Have you cupped your espresso using your single origin roast times against your espresso roast times?
When does smooth and buttery turn to flat and bready?

Questions! Questions!! Questions!!!
I mostly post blend. Rarely would the needed profiles align for a pre-roast blend. Sometimes I can roast some of the blend together. It depends on the characteristics of the bean and what I might be trying to accentuate and/or suppress. Each bean and profile has a purpose in the blend.
farm
So, I am not really wanting this to be a place where you all give me advice on roasting espresso. I am looking more for a place where we can all share how and why we roast espresso the way we do. I know that I was vague in my description of how I roast espresso, I was just trying to kick off some discussion. But, I'll gladly share what I do.

We have a few different espresso blends. we do both post-roast and pre-roast blending. Post roasting seems to create different levels of brittleness between each origin, thus an uneven grind for espresso, especially when stretch over multiple roasts and batches. However, the unique particulars in flavor profile seem to be maintained a bit better. I can distinguish each origin in the cup a bit more clearly in a post-roast blend. The benefits of a pre-roast blend I feel are that the grind is more uniform and consistent, and the espresso has a more consistent (all be it less interesting) flavor profile. The post-roast varries a bit more in flavor notes within the cup as well, deppending on the ammount of each origin coffee in each basket.

Now on to the roasting. (The fun part!!) So, at Kaldi's we have two roasters, both San Franciscans. One is 25lbs. and the other 75lbs. We do most of our espresso roasting on the 75 because, well, frankly we go through a ton. We take our espresso at least into the first part of second crack, and our darkest roast into the later part of second crack. Our lighter and flagship espresso is called "700". This is a 4 bean pre-roast blend. We take it to 434 degrees (usually) and this is at about 18:15ish. This is about 1:00 slower than most of the other roasts that we take to this temp. We go a bit slower because it allows some of the brightness that can cause a sourness in the cup to go to the back. We just feel this is a sweeter and more balanced shot.

I don't know how much more info. to provide here. I keep getting this feeling that roasters are inately tight-lipped about their practices. I feel that this is a shame. The baristas who serve our coffee are fluttering with information exchange and thus progressing rapidly. I feel we should open up and help each, thus helping our industry move forward more quickly. What do you all think about this?

Thanks for the discussion!!!
Joe Marrocco said:
So, I am not really wanting this to be a place where you all give me advice on roasting espresso. I am looking more for a place where we can all share how and why we roast espresso the way we do. I know that I was vague in my description of how I roast espresso, I was just trying to kick off some discussion. But, I'll gladly share what I do.

We have a few different espresso blends. we do both post-roast and pre-roast blending. Post roasting seems to create different levels of brittleness between each origin, thus an uneven grind for espresso, especially when stretch over multiple roasts and batches. However, the unique particulars in flavor profile seem to be maintained a bit better. I can distinguish each origin in the cup a bit more clearly in a post-roast blend. The benefits of a pre-roast blend I feel are that the grind is more uniform and consistent, and the espresso has a more consistent (all be it less interesting) flavor profile. The post-roast varries a bit more in flavor notes within the cup as well, deppending on the ammount of each origin coffee in each basket.

Now on to the roasting. (The fun part!!) So, at Kaldi's we have two roasters, both San Franciscans. One is 25lbs. and the other 75lbs. We do most of our espresso roasting on the 75 because, well, frankly we go through a ton. We take our espresso at least into the first part of second crack, and our darkest roast into the later part of second crack. Our lighter and flagship espresso is called "700". This is a 4 bean pre-roast blend. We take it to 434 degrees (usually) and this is at about 18:15ish. This is about 1:00 slower than most of the other roasts that we take to this temp. We go a bit slower because it allows some of the brightness that can cause a sourness in the cup to go to the back. We just feel this is a sweeter and more balanced shot.

I don't know how much more info. to provide here. I keep getting this feeling that roasters are inately tight-lipped about their practices. I feel that this is a shame. The baristas who serve our coffee are fluttering with information exchange and thus progressing rapidly. I feel we should open up and help each, thus helping our industry move forward more quickly. What do you all think about this?

Thanks for the discussion!!!
curious...where/when/how/who is the "be all" and "end all" of places to get instruction on roasting in north America!? Seattle in general has from my taste travels too dark roast on the whole.
Joe! Why are you so worried about espresso? I mean it's not like you are an award winning Barista or anything....oh wait.
In KC we're post blending all of our espressos. Some of the practical reasons are that it helps us to keep lower roasted coffee inventory on the floor, and it also jives with our daily quality control processes. Post roast blending also helps me to have greater flexability when adjusting blends. It's a heck of a lot easier to adjust component percentages when you are dealing with one pound rather than one roast batch. Ok, back to my game of battle ship....
Thanks Dave!! I apreciate the kudos and the info.

Joe

RoasterDave said:
Joe! Why are you so worried about espresso? I mean it's not like you are an award winning Barista or anything....oh wait.
In KC we're post blending all of our espressos. Some of the practical reasons are that it helps us to keep lower roasted coffee inventory on the floor, and it also jives with our daily quality control processes. Post roast blending also helps me to have greater flexability when adjusting blends. It's a heck of a lot easier to adjust component percentages when you are dealing with one pound rather than one roast batch. Ok, back to my game of battle ship....
I'm with you Joe, to get as far as I have with roasting required a lot of self education, a lot of closed doors and thanks to a volunteer business programme out of Australia, I was initially trained by a volunteer roaster with many years experience and thanks to Attillio Sciannamica I am still in business, also a young female roaster from Las Vegas gave me lots of encouragement, sorry I can’t remember your name.

This may sound scarry to some but I pre blend and double roast. As in cooking all the flavours should be sealed in. I take the beans to a roasted peanut colour, then dump and cool. Then reintroduce to heat and finish. Apparently this is a Sicilian method?

In my opinion, pre blending allows all the origins flavours to get together in the drum, making for a smoother consistent blend. Who knows what the mix of beans will be in a post blend roast, especially when mixing 4 origins?

Cheers
Joe Marrocco said:
So, I am not really wanting this to be a place where you all give me advice on roasting espresso. I am looking more for a place where we can all share how and why we roast espresso the way we do. I know that I was vague in my description of how I roast espresso, I was just trying to kick off some discussion. But, I'll gladly share what I do.

We have a few different espresso blends. we do both post-roast and pre-roast blending. Post roasting seems to create different levels of brittleness between each origin, thus an uneven grind for espresso, especially when stretch over multiple roasts and batches. However, the unique particulars in flavor profile seem to be maintained a bit better. I can distinguish each origin in the cup a bit more clearly in a post-roast blend. The benefits of a pre-roast blend I feel are that the grind is more uniform and consistent, and the espresso has a more consistent (all be it less interesting) flavor profile. The post-roast varries a bit more in flavor notes within the cup as well, deppending on the ammount of each origin coffee in each basket.

Now on to the roasting. (The fun part!!) So, at Kaldi's we have two roasters, both San Franciscans. One is 25lbs. and the other 75lbs. We do most of our espresso roasting on the 75 because, well, frankly we go through a ton. We take our espresso at least into the first part of second crack, and our darkest roast into the later part of second crack. Our lighter and flagship espresso is called "700". This is a 4 bean pre-roast blend. We take it to 434 degrees (usually) and this is at about 18:15ish. This is about 1:00 slower than most of the other roasts that we take to this temp. We go a bit slower because it allows some of the brightness that can cause a sourness in the cup to go to the back. We just feel this is a sweeter and more balanced shot.

I don't know how much more info. to provide here. I keep getting this feeling that roasters are inately tight-lipped about their practices. I feel that this is a shame. The baristas who serve our coffee are fluttering with information exchange and thus progressing rapidly. I feel we should open up and help each, thus helping our industry move forward more quickly. What do you all think about this?

Thanks for the discussion!!!
Thanks for your input, Neil. Your roasting method does not sound scary, different,... but not scary. I think that if we assume somethng does not work or should not work before we try it, we aren't going to progress as an industry very quickly. So, you dump at gold and then re-roast. What size roaster do you have? What roast level do you take your final roast to? How does the espresso taste... what notes do you find?

I guess my main question would be, what does this impart to the roast that roasting without this part of the process is impossible to achieve? Does this mute the origins to where they blend so much that they have a uniform taste, or do they still have flavor notes representing them?

I'm beginning to ramble here... Sorry...

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