. . . and at the Scuola di, he is turning from the E 61, shot in hand: "You have an example of another variation, which will point out yet another surprising twist of blending. Remember the epiphany of Gimme's French Roast and an addition of Rwanda Bufcafe Epiphanie, a marvel of balance, depth, strength, and character. But, first, try this", says il Professore, as I stand in the sun-bathed lab of the Scuola. Lake Cuomo, out of the window, today is azure blue, calm, the temp outside is beehive warm, the air is dripping with volatiles--almond blossoms. I'm ready for anything. . . .
The shot is creamy and glossy to look at with a fair amount of butter-burnt wood aroma. But the taste is blah bland-bland, little dimension, like being left in the parking lot by your buddies, to walk home alone.
"In this case", continues the Professore, the variation is an example of a weakened outcome, one in which the best of the blending art is masked, probably by incompatibles or because one element overcomes and subdues. I chose strong components that stand very well alone, and this is the result--a washout. One was the stunning by itself, Bolivian, D'Montana
, and then mis-coupled with the ultra-blend you just cupped last, French
. Now a mis-chance; it is a lesson to remember, yes"
The Professore then proposed another trial: assuming the better of the blends above, then at which temperature are the shots the best? "For instance Scott Rao, in 'The Professional Barista's Handbook', confirms that the range must be within 185 to 204 degrees F. I am finding that dark roasts prefer to come out at the top end, say even 205 degrees", il Professore states, offering that I do the test myself.
We go for it; results came out like this:
We're using a clever two boiler, PID, machine, small capacity, with easy setting and reasonably quick response-to-temp change, E 61 head design, supported by a fresh Mazzer Robur grinder.
195: start with temp set at 195 degrees. Scace designed portafilter, both temp and pressure in the handle gauges, read 196 degrees and psi of 152.
The shot: lacked some darkening in color from the very start, taste was broad, mild, without syrupy feel, some sharpness and overall watery.
200: next at 200 degrees. Scace read 200.3, psi again at 152.
The shot: striped and good mottle on top, nice, thicker flow down the side of the cup and throughout the volume, perfect 30 sec, 30 mil, having dimension, chocolate, nice bittering, strength throughout and residuals after.
205: finally, at 205 degrees. Scace was 205.8 degrees, psi still 152.
The shot: slower start out of the gate, more color difference throughout the pour, and a very broad stream, viscous, the cup perhaps even richer, more texture, more, more intense aftertaste.
205 wins. The venerable Professore scores again.
So he concludes, as he pulls one at the proven 205: "Someone should test it going the opposite direction, with a light roast and three temps, right?'
I say that I like the idea, Professore, not so complex to grasp as the chemistry thing he threw out last time. He replies: "It is all basically fundamental to the point I am reaching that there is a right regime for sweetness based on that chemistry, and evident in the shot, which we will pull over my concluding Part III of 'Pulling Shots Through the Roaster', next time."
Okay Professore, until the conclusion next time, ciao.