Wilkinson's of Norwich coffees are now on grocery store shelves! Southern Family Markets (aka Piggly Wiggly) are now carrying our Brewton Brew, Wilkinson's House Blend, and Costa Rica Tarrazu coffees. We are currently stocked in both the Brewton, Alabama and Atmore, Alabama locations, and hope to expand into more as word gets out about our attention to fresh coffees.
Today I convinced our coffee roaster JohnJuan to let me try my hand at a dark roast all by myself, and short of nearly starting our first roaster fire, I didn't do so bad! I started with 15 pounds of Guatemala Huehuetenango, a SHB (strictly hard bean) known for adapting well to dark roasts. I followed all the rules, charting and profiling the bean probe temperature, monitoring the bean color through the drum's view window, and listening for "first crack" (cool sound). I pulled bean samples every 2 minutes during the roast (note that the photos attached are from my 2nd roast). Unfortunately it seems I kept the roaster flame cranked too high (something about regulating the heat? sheesh!), so those beautiful Guatemala Huehuetenango beans quickly went from green to good to garbage. It's like broiling toast – beautiful, brown, and aromatic one second, charcoal the next! Well, I smoked up the factory and most of the countryside, and totally stomped on the Maillard Reaction in my first roast (I wound up pouring it on the burn pile – oiliest beans I've ever seen).
But I was determined, and reloaded the Probat with another 15 pounds of green beans. I lowered the starting temp and maintained a slower bake, and pulled a second roast that was not too light, not too dark, but one that was just right. The Guatemala Huehuetenango dark roast stands wonderfully by itself, but since I've been experimenting with developing a different type of dark roast blend I chose a more lightly roasted Central American bean and voila! We now have a Dark Roast Melange which has passed several taste tests from "those who like it dark!" Try it if you dare…come on over to the dark side!
I'm happy with the results…not bad for a first attempt. But I'm thinking in the future, I'll leave the roasting to JohnJuan. I like cupping instead.
Keep it fresh!