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Six Bean Challenge

This is a discussion on Six Bean Challenge within the Coffee Roasters forums, part of the Coffee Industry category; If you were starting up a roastery on limited funds (don't we all) and you know now what you didn't know then, what six beans ...

  1. #1
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    Six Bean Challenge

    If you were starting up a roastery on limited funds (don't we all) and you know now what you didn't know then, what six beans would you choose to roast that would give you the most bang for your buck? For instance we started with five beans. In broad terms:
    • Colombian Bucaramanga
    • Sumatra Lintong
    • Kenya Acacia AA
    • Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
    • Indian Cherry Robusta
    We make an all day blend: Colombia + Kenya + Ethiopia; a Mocha-Java: Sumatra + Ethiopia; a single origin Ethiopia; an espresso: Sumatra + Indian Robusta; and a single origin Colombia. We also make a seasonal naturally flavoured cinnamon coffee with the Colombian as the base. We make a S.O. Kenya for our consumption at home but feel it is too expensive for our market, but maybe not. We'll have to test it. So from 5 beans we produce 6 coffees -- 3 S.O.s and 3 blends -- and then if you want to throw in the cinnamon flavoured coffee that brings you to 7 coffees.

    So two (multi-part) questions:
    1) As stated at the outset, if you had to start with different 6 beans, what would they be? Why would you choose those? And how wide a range of coffees would that let you provide?

    2) If you were us and were trying to decide what bean #6 was going to be, what bean would you choose and why?
    Last edited by expat; 11-20-2012 at 07:16 PM.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

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  3. #2
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    Interesting question. Especially since I'm in the process of setting up another bean purchase as we speak.

    We started with:

    Brazilian Faz Colina
    Ethiopian Yirgacheffe
    Ethiopian Sidamo
    Guatemalan Quiche
    Nicaraguan Segovia
    Mexican Robusta
    Honduran Marcala decaf.

    We're looking at:

    Brazilian
    Ethiopian Harrar
    Costa Rican
    Mexican Altura
    Peruvian

  4. #3
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    Eldub,

    Thanks for the reply but I'm looking for more than an inventory--I want to learn some coffee roaster strategy from you and the other folks who, hopefully, post to this thread. There are several pro roasters on this forum and they all started somewhere. They may now have the luxury of having 20 or more varieties of beans but What was the genesis? What was the evolution of that first bean order? And why?

    From your two bean lists I'm looking for more context. I'm wondering why you started with the first list and then on the second list, are those replacement beans because you're not continuing on with the first list, or is it in addition to? Or, if you're keeping some and jettisoning others from the first list what is driving your choices between what you're keeping and dropping?

    What was your thinking behind the first list and now the second? And are you blending or just roasting S.O.?

    For instance, after looking at our market we knew we wanted to roast a Mocha-Java so that drove the purchase of the Sumatra and Ethiopia. Then a roaster aquaintance in New Zealand suggested his all day blend as a winner. That drove the purchase of the Brazil and Kenya to which we also added the Ethiopia. We bought the Robusta, not because of any grand plan but because it fit in our budget and someone told me to "season" our new roaster with a couple of really dark roasts of beans we could throw away (interesting the reason why people decide things, isn't it!?!).

    The MJ has been a great seller. The all day blend did well but wasn't nearly as popular as the MJ until we tweaked the recipe and dropped the Brazil in favor of the much more flavorful Colombian. Now it too is a favorite. The robusta just sat there till I came across an espresso recipe that I liked and toyed around with until Buzz Bomb was born and it is doing quite well. The Ethiopian just happens to be the The Lovely and Talented Roast Mistress' favorite, so that became our first S.O. And, because the Colombian is so good (The L&TRM roasts multiple roasts, each to a different level, each roast bringing out a different flavour profile in the bean) that it is going onto store shelves as an S.O.

    And as to bean #6 we're thinking of a Limited Edition, "when it is gone it is gone" bean that we change regularly based on what is really unique and flavour packed and most important available from the importer. Our first #6 was an El Salvador Santa Barbara Bourbon that was absolute joy in the cup but when the importer only got a few bags, and everyone wanted it . . . Since then we've cupped a lot of what we were hoping would prove to be bean #6 but so far none have been outstanding enough to meet our "Limited Edition" criteria. But we're having fun continuing to evaluate new crops.

    So I hope that gives you an idea of what I'm hoping to see--reasons why. Selfishly I want to know so I can learn and gain insights and hopefully others can too.
    Last edited by expat; 11-21-2012 at 03:22 AM.
    Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been -- Jimmy Buffett (via Mark Twain)

  5. #4
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    expat: I'll be back when I have more time to provide the information you were originally seeking.

  6. #5
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    you can try Vietnamese Arabica and Mokka, every year Vietnam exports just a small quantity of these, their scent is good, specially the Mokka. The rest quantity that make Vietnam the world 2nd country exporting coffee is Robusta.

 

 

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