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How to Cup Coffee at Home

Ever wonder how your favorite coffee shop decided to buy and roast the particular bean you drank this morning, over the thousands of other coffees out there? In short, they cupped it. Cupping is the coffee industry’s standardized way for tasting coffee. But don’t let the profession’s strict, formal process for evaluating and scoring coffee (or the slurping and spitting) intimidate you...or gross you out. At its core, cupping is simply an apples-to-apples taste test. Here’s how you can cup coffee at home: The Short Answer (for The Long Answer, click here) Choose two coffees to compare  Keep everything the same except the beans you’re tasting. The 3 most important things to hold constant are: Water temperature (~200 F /...

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The Home Coffee Roasting Journey

You know that kaleidoscope poster at your local coffee shop that describes every flavor from “pomegranate” to “phenolic”? It’s a gorgeous - and in experienced hands, a very useful - tool. But it can also intimidate coffee drinkers contemplating an experiment with home roasting.  At Slack Bag, we not only provide you with the finest green coffee in the world, we also demystify the art of roasting coffee at home. We aim to convert the merely curious into novices, and to shepherd experienced home roasters on their quest for the perfect cup. The Four Stages of the Home Coffee Roasting Journey Future blog posts will expand on each of these stages in turn, but we’ll start with an overview. We...

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Hot Air Gun - Flour Sifter

Here at Slack Bag Coffee we're always looking for ways to make Home Roasting as accessible as possible.  Sure you can spend $100's or even $1000's on kit and get really nerdy, but we think that doesn't make it very approachable. We ran across using a Hot Air Gun and a Flour Sifter on the internet, and thought we'd give it a try! First off, this was an interesting setup, because opposed to our other methods we've tried here on the Slack Bag blog, cast iron pan, and wok, this method only uses hot air for heating the coffee, rather than surface contact.  So we're approaching roasting in a completely different way from a heat transfer perspective. One thing about roasting with...

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Wok vs Cast Iron: Pros - Cons

If you've ever read many boutique roasters websites you probably see them talk a lot about their roasting machines.  Why?  Because how we apply heat to the coffee while roasting changes the chemical reactions that happen, and ultimately the flavor. Avoiding going into a long soliloquy about grilling meat or other cooking analogies, let's dive into some difference between the two roasting apparatus that we've posted about so far, and demonstrate how you may alter your practices at home, or choose what is right for you. We've been roasting in a cast-iron pan, and a carbon steel wok.  If you haven't read our introductory how-to's, and you are new to roasting you can do that in these links: Cast Iron...

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Home Roasting in a Wok

In the second installment of our series on how to roast coffee at home we are going to use a wok for roasting.  If you missed our first installment, you can find that here.  However you will find everything you need to get started in this article.  We'll have fresh roasted coffee in less than 20 minutes after we follow these directions. Here are a list of the items we'll need in order to get started: Wok Stove Burner Stirring Utensil, we used a bamboo spatula Unroasted or Green Coffee Beans, we used our Colombia Timana Excelso Mesh Sieve or Colander Container for Roasted Coffee (about 2 cups in volume) First, weigh out your green coffee beans.  For our test...

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