overcoming, accidentally

December 5, 2005 – 8:41 pm



you didn’t want this sulawesi, all muddy and dusty like the falloff from a wall of poorly mixed bricks — the kind that used to make up the crumbling exterior of the church basement of my childhood. used to dig my fingers in the stuff and think i was Super Extra Strong.

anyway, i was mystified — and still am — enough that this makes the second self-effacing blog post this week. seriously. who’s going to read if i’m always dawdling around with unanswered questions hung out on the innerneck like so much soiled linen? still: my suspicion is that the roast finish had something to do with this. namely, the attributes of the roasted sulawesi were light, dry and — hey! — brick-like, even though the total roast length and temperature profile was the same as other, darker-looking roasts, and, more importantly the duration was the same, as measured by the second crack on my 125 grams. my further suspicion is that local voltage is to blame. the supply of electric current, in other words, tends to fluctuate through the back porch outlet and adjoining hom extension cord (imagine that), thus unevenly affecting what might otherwise seem like comparable roasts. bring on the hideously priced variac voltage regulator, then, and companion t-shirt featuring obscure roaster-geek imagery! truth be told, i wanted one of those shirts anyway and an accompanying excuse to hail the might variac depicted thereon. pitiful.

the problem reminds me that i need to finish what i started on the roast curve project, where i posited that ambient temperature is clearly a larger factor in roast times and the ability to “control” a finish than previously thought. duly noted.

after suffering through the masonry macchiatos, another batch — heartily dark, with just a touch of oil after five days’ rest — offered a respite. a deeply spicy, somewhat nutmeg-laced respite. under-dosed. brewed cool (197 F, maybe). you wouldn’t care about this anecdotal delight except that, as illustrated again here, there are a still greater number of frustrating factors to be managed by a home barista intent on sublimity: roast fickleness, grinder limitations, temp flushing, etc. it all makes the GS3 and its stunning “transparency” look more enticing than ever. but this blog is going to france in february, so how could it afford la marzocco’s quasi-home machine of the minutely programmable PID temp control and sand-blasted side panels? dispatches from the country that produced faure’ and 9,000 charred renault carcasses will follow, though. if it’s any consolation.