My first salvo at cracking the Kenyan Peaberry has begun.
I did some academic type research on the known issues before, There is an interesting paper here which describes roasting the peaberry in a device logically identical to the IKAWA.
They suggested that 5 minutes at 250 centigrade is optimum.
I noticed on my first attempt that the relative high density was resulting in poor movement of the beans, and so increased this quite a bit for the following roasts.
I stuck around the 250-260 range as this was working well, and found I could hit first crack with a nice gentle ramping up at about 5 minutes. Then I would typically hold for five minutes.
On the middle sample, I increased the time duration to about 8 minutes, and due to the angle, it’s not that clear, but the volume was significantly increased in the middle sample. All roasts use exactly 50g +/- 0.2g
I haven’t done a brew with any of them, as I leave for 7 days. However, based upon my crunch and chew tests and knowing what good beans tend to taste and feel like in the mouth, I think it’s one of the latter 3 roasts that will win out. DW, DS1, DS2 and DS3 will form a tasting panel next weekend. See here for what those acronyms mean, but at the moment, DD1 is away, DD2 only drinks coffee with confectionary on top and stirred in, and DS4 is ambivalent , hence that’s my tasting panel.
My research into these beans led me to discover that PEABERRIES also have 13% more caffeine in them which also has an impact on the sex life of mice (see here). There is some weird stuff you learn when you go researching. In a past life, I developed and launched the UK’s first caffeinated vodka (search for Alice Extraordinary Vodka - there are many traces left like this review), and that’s where I learned a lot about caffeine and its effect on taste - and oddly enough, some other ingredients that have linkages to the libido. I was then taught a very hard lesson about the costs of launching and developing a spirits brand (mostly due to the costs of duty payable when giving away samples and the oligopoly markets you have to pay to sell your products through).
If this caffeine level thing is also the case, I will look to reduce the water temperature in my espresso by a degree or two, and use slightly finer grind to create a bit more back pressure and maybe a slightly smaller does. The lower temperature tends to result in less bitterness coming through.
For those interested, I sourced the beans here. The description from the seller is:
Origin: Kenya PB
Estate: Kisii Estate
Varietal: Heirloom Typica, SL28
Harvest Year: 2018/19
Processing: Wet Processed
Tasting Notes: Great floral aroma, strong notes of prominant stone fruit, cane sugar and molasses.
Roasting Notes: Will darken quickly, but follow it through to just past first crack. This gives it time to round off a great bodied coffee.
An update next week then. Regards, Cliff.