A Busy Afternoon!

By Sarah Allen

(Before I begin this post, I’d like to add a clarification from George Howell about my write up on his lecture this morning:

My point about the silver skin is that if beans with 90+% silver skin are sorted out, the cup will be far cleaner and sweeter (as well as far more expensive).   One cannot remove silver skin on immature beans without polishing the beans and adding destructive heat.   Also the astringency and harshness are to be found in the beans themselves, not the silver skin – which are only a reflection of the beans’ immaturity.

Thanks for the clarification, George!)

So a lot ”a lot ”has happened since the last time I blogged. I can hardly wrap my head around it all. Paul Songer followed George’s lecture with a fascinating discussion of roast chemistry, covering how changes in flavor of coffee due to roasting occur, acids, types of simple carboxylic acids, chlorogenic acids, minerals, phosphoric, nitrogenous compaunds, lipids, carbohydrates, sugar browning, and on and on and on.

Paul Songer

Since I’m the farthest thing from a scientist you could get, I’ll leave the nitty gritty to Paul to explain ”just watch the vidoe of his lecture that Zachary will be posting soon. But bravo, Paul ”your lecture was truly heavy stuff and made for great discussion the rest of the day.

Soon after lunch, Zachary and I headed to the Nordic Barista Cup event space to see how things were moving along, and wow! The event space is terrific! It’s near the university, so there are tons of people strolling around, and the space itself has a great espresso bar in the first floor, and a great big lecture hall upstairs, which is big enough that the cuppings will take place in the same room. I can’t wait!

Andreas works out the kinks on site.

I also got a sneak peek at these beauties, speaking of cupping…

Volunteer power! Alex from Portland and Becca from Baltimore work their magic and help create a beautiful space for the NBC.

So finally, we tore ourselves away from the NBC space and headed back to Solberg and Hansen, as well as Kaffa, where sessions on the Loring Smart Roast were taking place. Mark Ludwig, who designed the Smart Roast, was on hand to talk about it with attendees, and pretty much everyone was excited to find out more about this roaster.

That's the Smart Roast behind Jay, but I was especially intrigued by the little cart he's standing in front of, which is where green coffee goes ”it's a scale. At the bottom is a big magnet which pulls stones and other metal crap away from the green (in the photo, Jay's holding the magnet). Then there's a tube which you plug into the tube on the roaster, and green coffee gets sucked up. It's pretty cool.

Participants had a cupping of various coffees roasted on a Probat, and then also on the Smart Roast, and compared notes about them.

These are the coffees they cupped.

The discussion that followed was pretty interesting. Some prefer coffee roasted on the Smart Roast, because they feel it’s cleaner. But others love the old Probat, claiming there is more body in the cup. It seemed subjective at the end of it all.

Georg from Mahlkoenig chats with Mr. Tim Wendelboe, discussing Smart Roast vs. Probat, of course.
Morten discussing the merits of the Smart Roast, which was installed here at S&H literally yesterday.
Here is Alejandro, who exported the Finca La Primavera coffee from Colombia, showing off the specially designed coffee bags ”surely one of the most wordy (and poetic) coffee bags in the world!
Mark discusses the Smart Roast with the group.

The discussion continued, but I snuck off to S&H’s beautiful cafe space to do a blog post, when who should I see but my dear friend Tone Liavaag! She took me and Zachary on a great tour of the facilities.

Tone in S&H's espresso lab, which they use to train customers.
Tone showing us around one of S&H's 2 giant green warehouses, which she called "The Bank."

And now, here we are back at Kaffa for an evening party to wrap up the Nordic Roaster and to celebrate the beginning of the Nordic Barista Cup! The menu for tonight: beer and hotdogs, yeah baby! Oh, but I also got a sneak peek, and yummy taste, of a special treat that the S&H guys have in store for us: Cascara beer, made with Aida’s Finca Las Alpes cascara. It was sooo good!

But I’m off to drink an Aass (no, tat’s not a typo) beer now, which is what’s on tonight’s menu ”and I’ll take it!

More to come!

About Sarah 932 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.