With scores of roasters huddling together to taste hundreds of coffees at the recent Golden Bean roasting competition in Portland, DCN seized the golden opportunity to ask a few questions — pulling the trier, as it were, from a drum full of thoughts and perspectives from professional coffee roasters.
We asked the same five questions of six different roasters representing four different corners of the USA and one from Australia, of experience levels from relatively new to seasoned, award-winning industry veterans. They are:
Adrian Capra of Art of Espresso, based in New South Wales, Australia
- Roasting experience spans 15 years
- Currently roasts on a Diedrich IR24 (transitioning to an IR30)
Brandon Bir of Crimson Cup Coffee, based in Columbus, Ohio
- Roasting experience spans 5 years
- Currently roasts on two Probat L12’s, one 60-pound-capacity machine made in Spain, and a two-barrel Probat sample roaster.
Emily Smith of World Cup Coffee, based in Portland, Oregon
- Roasting experience spans 6 months on a production-size machine and several years of sample roasting
- Currently roasts on a Diedrich IR-12
Deaton Pigot of Tectonic Coffee, based in Los Angeles, California
- Roasting experience spans 13 years
- Currently roasts on a 12-kilo Joper and an Ikawa sample roaster.
Calvin Patching of Five Rivers Coffee Roasters, based in Tillamook, Oregon
- Roasting experience spans 1.5 years
- Currently roasts on a 25-kilo Toper
Scotty Angelo of Oceana Coffee, based in Tequesta, Florida
- Roasting experience spans 9 years
- Currently roasts on a Giesen W15
We started off by asking each roaster what their most challenging bean has been; we followed that by inquiring about favorite pieces of technology used in the roasting craft. Our third question, given the ever-expanding market share of coffee consumed cold these days, was:
What is your favorite cold coffee drink?
Scotty Angelo: Not to sound arrogant, but my cold brew is my favorite cold coffee drink. We do a two-bean blend, pre-roast. We do a 16-hour refrigerated full immersion. We do a flash brew on it. Three o’clock in the afternoon, just one of those will get you wired.
Calvin Patching: Probably a nitro coffee. We have a blend that we use that’s about 20 percent French and 80 percent medium Full City roast. It’s kind of unique. It’s got a lot of variety in it. I definitely enjoy the nitro cold coffee.
Adrian Capra: I’m going to be very purist Italian here: I love affogato, especially if you can get yourself some really good vanilla bean handmade ice cream. The colors, the smell, the mouthfeel, the contrast of hot and cold, I have to say affogato. You can add a bit of Frangelico to it, too, and really go to another level.
Deaton Pigot: I don’t drink a lot of cold coffee. We had a blend that’s 70 percent Colombia, 30 percent Ethiopian, Guji, and that’s absolutely delightful as a cold brew, but that’s a self-plug. There’s a cafe called RVCC Intersect, downtown, that has a really good nitro coffee cold brew.
Emily Smith: I’m not much of a cold coffee person, like, at all. If this counts, I will say my favorite cold coffee drink is an affogato. If I’m going to have cold coffee, I’m going to have it with a large amount of gelato and fat and sugar and all of that good stuff. That’s where I’m at. If you’ve ever been up to Spotted Cow, up by Everett in Washington, Maxwell Mooney used to run the coffee program there before he opened Narrative. I had gone up to do coffee stuff with him when I lived in Seattle, and their house-made gelato with Maxwell’s extracted espresso shot is still one of the best things I’ve ever consumed in my life.
Brandon Bir: I’ve had so many good ones. I don’t hate on cold coffee. I think that if you taste something that’s really really good and it’s hot — super. If you taste something that’s really really good and it’s cold — fantastic. The whole idea behind serving a quality beverages to represent the hard work that the farmer put into the product. So if you do that cold, then who gives a shit if it’s cold or if it’s hot?
I think that there’s a lot of haters in our industry on cold coffee, and I don’t know what that’s founded upon. I understand soluble yield and I understand extraction principles, but as long as the consumer really, really enjoys it and understands that there’s nuance in the cup and can taste that and can understand the quality in that and the hard work that went in, then what does it matter?
So I would say — after that a long explanation of justification — I’d say one of my favorite coffees that we’ve done cold as a Biftu Gudina, Ethiopian washed coffee, tastes like earl grey black tea. Last year at the Culinary Institute Roots conference, we did one there with a sparkling lemon water and it was almost like an Arnold Palmer. It had this crazy coffee flavor, and these chefs had no idea that coffee could taste like this. We also put an edible flower on top that tastes like Bergamot, which was pretty neat.