Velvet Espresso, why the new recipe?
by Mark Hayward | June 11, 2022
The previous version of Velvet Espresso had 2 coffees in it, roasted together.
The reason behind that was the two coffees were almost the same. Having almost exactly the same density, moisture content, and average bean size.
They worked well when roasted together.
That was about 2 years ago, and a lot has changed. Unfortunately our source for the Burundi coffee has had a big setback. Leading to them not being able to source any coffee for us this year.
The new Velvet Espresso is a blend of 3 coffees roasted apart. Then blended together after roasting. We found a sweet spot for each coffee that required a different roasting approach for each.
Including the batch size, length of roast, and the final temperature we drop them out of the roaster. All different. Thus, separate roasting.
Espresso Bean Blending
Blending is more of an art than a science. I like to call coffee roasting, blending and tasting a sensory science. Yet, the science leaves us high and dry when it comes to tasting.
Tasting has to be the expression of what the creator envisions, enjoys, and wants to share. That’s the aspect in which it’s an art form.
With this coffee, I want to explore with a vivid colour pallette, make a coffee that is bright, complex, and clean. Yet there is a tension between that and the satisfying textural part of espresso.
I find a strong appeal in having a viscous, syrupy mouth feel for espresso. That’s not something I strive for in drip coffee. A finishing touch is the aftertaste. This lingers so beautifully, it’s something to note when trying it.
The Source of the Beans
I’ve introduced one of my favourite washed coffees into the mix, Guatemala.
Since being a home roaster many years ago, I still remember some of the best cups of coffee I ever had. They were single farm coffees from Guatemala, roasted at home on an air roaster over the stove.
This Guat is from Huehuetanango, a remote department in the north of the country, close to Mexico. These Huehuetenango coffees are like diamonds in the rough.
It’s such a remote area, its not easy to get there! We’re talking about an 8 hour drive over switchback roads going from Guatemala City.
As a straight espresso, the coffee is so bright is a bit much for most coffee drinkers. In a blend, it adds structure and complexity.
I’ve always used Brazilian coffee to anchor an espresso blend, and this is not exception.
I’ve dropped the percentage down in this case. That’ll allow room for the other coffees to assert themselves. Brazil using natural process for the most part creates a coffee that works well for espresso.
It has gobs of thick crema, and adds texture, body and fullness. Our Paubrasil has gained a loyal following as a single origin coffee in the last few years. It’s currently our best selling single origin.
The final touch in this iteration of velvet espresso is the addition of Costa Rica. This is a honey process, and in this espresso blend, a little has gone a long way into the transformation.
The impact it has on adding sweetness is quite remarkable. It’s like someone switched on the light.
On that note, my final comments about dialing in espresso. I’ve recently started talking to barista trainees about this.
When you are adjusting, tweaking to find good balance on your espresso. It’s something to strive for.
As a general rule, if you look for a dial in recipe that maximizes sweetness, you are heading in the right direction.
I know dialing in espresso is a challenge and sometime a frustrating experience. Both in cafes as it is for home espresso drinkers.
As I sit here writing this. I’m finishing up a flat white and it’s incredibly sweet.
It’s hard to believe. I’ve been working on a new type of espresso brewing recipe for a few months now. In dialing in this new blend, it’s been fun exploring.
I hope you’ll come in soon and give it a try. I’d be happy to share details with any of you that are interested.