A Preliminary Tale of Roasting in Parchment
When roasting Kenya AA at work, I often notice within a 20 lb batch in the cooling bin that there are 4 or 5 beans still in parchment. Pulling those out, rolling them between thumb and forefinger to remove the parchment, and popping them into my mouth, I discovered flavors much more winey, fruity, and intense than the normal Kenyan beans. MMmmmM! Oh, yeah, this is great snack food!
What if there is some "secret" improvement obtainable by roasting in parchment? Is this phenomenon representative of a wider, more universal truth about coffee roasting... or is it just something specific to this bean under these particular circumstances?
Dialog along these lines took place on alt.coffee, but nobody really seemed to know much about roasting in parchment, so after meeting Bob (and Cea) at the SCAA Conference, and rehashing it with Bob, he offered to send me some beans in parchment. Since I'd already bought some normally processed beans from them, that made for an ideal comparison...
Normally processed Smithfarms Kona, and Smithfarms Kona still in parchment, roasted together.
To make the test as similar to the Impetus as practical, yet still somewhat easy to conduct, I decided on a mixed load of 150 grams of normal with 50 grams of parchment. I roasted it in the HotTop to just before 2nd crack.
It is a bit of a bother to mess with all this...
During cupping, the first thing I noticed was that there was more bloom on the normal, and that the bloom seemed to be a bit darker. As cupping progressed, it also became apparent that it was more persistent.
As with the Kenya, there was a bit more winey flavor to the beans roasted in parchment... however, there was also less body, and the flavor bordered on underdeveloped. The parchment may not have prevented the roast color from developing, but it certainly did prevent the beans within from roasting as fully as the naked ones.
Maybe I should take it a bit darker next time...
... Yes, I took it darker, and before doing any of the sorting and removal of parchment, I decided to just try a shot of the mix thrown straight into the grinder. 25/75 parchment to clean. This is the last second of a 30 second shot.
And from above about 30 seconds later... not as sweet as the blend I usually use, but still... it was good!