weekend blend

July 5, 2005 – 11:31 pm

used to be, target’s “dollar spot” had some real buys. die-cast tools. incense sticks of the same fragrance ilk as aftershave and hair spritz. martini glasses. now? there’s nothing but low-grade sparklers in glammed up boxes boldly (and falsely) proclaiming “TNT” on the cover. sparkly flip-flops, and the like. to which i say: feh. fine. BE like wal-mart. i suppose when they threw in a charbucks at the new location it was a more foreboding and metonymous sign that i would have liked to admit…

the blending didn’t go so well. mostly because the components in question were all roasted too dark, to my astonishment. despite the promising full-city-plus finishes and light bean colors, the ash was rampant and acrid. ‘twould appear to have been a function of a tweak to the roast profile — i lowered the final stage temp to 455 from 460, in order to stretch the time lag between first and second cracks, ostensibly to better mimic the longer, more precise roast finishes on drum machines. this is, indeed, supposed to be a perk of the iroast, no? apparently, though, you drag out the final stage too long and you get an overheated bean interior with a deceptively light-looking outside finish. which begs the Larger Point: are there philosophical differences to hot-air roasting i haven’t yet considered? is there a point at which a hot-air roast will get worse the longer it takes? is it necessarily a drawback to do a quicker roast if, indeed, the heat is conducted through the beans evenly and consistently enough (via circulating air instead of a stationary heating element)? why not?

the issue, then, seems to be at what equilibrium you measure the final cracks and stages of a good roast. roast too fast, and you get outer charring and inner grassiness. roast too slow, the new hypothesis goes, and you get overheated interiors and surprisingly ashy brew. note: i’m not sure of all this. but it’s a working hypothesis.

the one problem question in my mind is, would not the beans crack appropriately to indicate inner bean temperature if indeed the roast was overheating them at the core? maybe. but not if the roast was so slow that the cracks were weak, extremely gradual and barely noticeable! which i think was the case…