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Tag Archives: Coffee Roasting

  • The Future of Specialty Coffee

    Posted on September 8, 2013 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Each year at the SCAA Symposium Ric Rhinehart presents some hard realities about the world-wide coffee industry (Last year he presented on the narrowing band of genetic diversity within the commercial coffee plants we reap the fruit from each morning). This year Ric examines export data from the major coffee growing countries to predict the coming volumes of quality washed specialty coffees.  Global production trends should not only give us pause, but push us to work collaboratively a specialty roasters to define the future market.


    This post was posted in News, Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee Roasting, SCAA Symposium

  • Probat L12 Coffee Roaster Restoration Project | Part 3

    Posted on July 8, 2013 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    OK, We have been busy, busy, busy around here and I haven't gotten around to an update on the our Probat L12 Coffee Roaster restoration project. Thanks for all the interest in the project, we are sorry to keep you waiting!

    Tear-down has been a bit slower than I had hoped, but the need to document the process so re-assembly will happen smoothly is important. I really don't want to finish putting the roaster back together only to have that proverbial extra mystery part in hand leaving scratching our heads...more to come on that.

    Drum removal had me a bit nervous as I didn't really know exactly how heavy it was going to be. The good folks a Probat Burns said it was s 2-3 person job. Turns out it was a bit easier than anticipated. Whew!


    Drum Removed


    Up to now, we have run into 5 bolts and screws that would not break loose easily. One has required a tap and die set to remove, others broke loose with plenty of PB Blaster and patience, while two snapped off entirely.

    One of the broken bolts was one of the tie-rods that hold the front and rear plates of the roaster together. After nearly 30 minutes of trying to coax the nut loose with everything at my disposal, I busted out the air-ratchet. Within 5 seconds the end of the tie-rod snapped off. Doh! Not sure if these are replaceable but something I think we can easily fabricate on the lathe using some rod stock.


    Tie Rod holding drum together.  Tie Rod holding drum together.

    Broken Tie Rod Broken Tie Rod


    The other breakage occurred from the threaded rod that holds the heat shield in place that protects the drum from direct flame contact from the burners. Three of the four came right off, but the fourth wouldn't budge. Knowing this was an easy rod to replace I intentionally gave the socket wrench a full 1 1/2 turns before the snapped in half.


    Heat shield. Heat shield.

    L12 Disassembly_20130706_0410 Hole where the burner assembly resides.

    Doh! Doh!


    Turns out the rear bearing on the drum is the same used on KTM 450 4-stroke motorcycles...who knew?


    L12 Disassembly_20130706_0400

    Rear drum bearing & assembly.  Rear drum bearing & assembly.  It looks like at some point the roaster was operated without the bearing in place as there is a significant amount of wear where there should be no contact with the drum shaft.  Perplexing.


    My day ended a bit short when I realized that a special tool would be required to disassemble the rear cooling tray agitator bearing.


    Cooling try agitator rear bearing. Cooling try agitator rear bearing.

    Thinking a special tool that we don't have is needed to remove... Thinking a special tool that we don't have is needed to remove...


    Once the rest of the roaster is stripped down we will start the sand blasting process in preparation of powder-coating.


    Calling it a day. Calling it a day.


    On clean-up, I discovered this little piece.  I currently have no clue where it came from.  could it be the proverbial extra part?

    The proverbial extra part. The proverbial extra part.



    This post was posted in News and was tagged with Coffee Roasting, Coffee Roaster, Probat, Probat L12 Rebuild

  • Probat L12 Project | Part 2

    Posted on June 5, 2013 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Quick update:

    The Probat L12 arrived this morning to our secret lair where she will live during the restoration. Lost a few heartbeats bringing her down off the truck, but it went really smooth, all things considered.




    The driver didn't know what it was. His response when I told him was, "I was thinking it might be a still of some sort". I might be wishing it myself come a few weeks.




    Can't hardly wait to give her a thorough inspection and figure out exactly what needs to be done, but that will have to wait a few days unfortunately.


    This post was posted in Coffee Roasting and was tagged with Coffee Roasting, Coffee Roaster, Probat, Probat L12 Rebuild

  • Coffee Q&A | Espresso, Bean Density, and Crema

    Posted on April 17, 2013 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Q: I like to experiment with what coffee I use in my espresso maker.  I notice some coffees work really well, producing lots of crema, well while others are hard to grind (using my hand grinder), taste sour, and produce a thin espresso.  What is happening?


    A: Experimenting with different coffees when making an espresso is a lot of fun.  I still remember the first time I tried a Brazil based espresso blend side-by-side with a natural processed Ethiopian Harrar.  It was a wow moment in my life when I realized how deliciously different coffees from around the world can be.

    For understanding, espresso is a preparation method and roasters roast coffee specifically for the espresso preparation method. Say a roaster has a single origin lot of Ethiopia Harrar, for example.  A typical roast profile for a pourover (drip) will be lighter than one for espresso.  Using the lighter roast profile in an espresso will produce a very bright (sometimes sour / sometimes pleasant) and lemony cup, lacking the caramels, chocolate, toffee and body compared to the same bean roasted a bit darker for espresso.

    Some coffee beans are more difficult to grind because of density.  Bean density is impacted by multiple factors, most common are plant variety (compare a Pacamara's soft bean structure to a Typica), growing altitude (generally higher is denser), and bean ripeness when harvested.  Processing, as far as I know, does not have a substantial effect on density (natural, washed, semi washed, etc...).




    When roasting coffee, several things happen that affect bean density: the loss of water and the expansion of the woody structure of the bean.  Much of the expansion happens at the onset of first crack and continues through second.  Most palatable lighter roasts can end as early as the end of first crack where the beans are still relatively dense, while espresso roasts tend towards the onset of 2nd crack or beyond (of course it is a subjective choice).

    As for crema production on an espresso extraction, again, many things affect this including those things mentioned above (variety, process, and roast degree).  Anecdotal-y, it seems natural and honey process coffees tend to have more crema than washed, but I could also point out hundreds of exceptions to that observation. Elapsed time after roast has a big impact on roast degree.  A huge decrease in crema is seen after around 14 days after roast.  A tasting attribute we call "body" increases through the roast spectrum until around 2nd crack and then it drops off.  I would speculate that there is a correlation between a coffee's body and the amount of crema produced in espresso, although I don't remember seeing any studies on this topic.


    If you have a coffee question you want answered, send us an email and we will try to give you an answer.

    This post was posted in Coffee Education and was tagged with Coffee, Coffee Roasting, Ethiopia, Ethiopian Coffee, Natural Processed Coffee, Washed Coffee, Espresso, Q&A, Coffee Density, Crema, Dark Vs. Light Roast

  • New Coffee Offering | Ethiopia Sidamo Ardi

    Posted on August 22, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We continually search and scour for exceptional coffee lots that are worthy of the Venia Coffee name and it is with great pride that we formally announce the release of our newest offering from Ethiopia.




    Because of Ethiopian politics, few coffees being exported are traceable. This wonderful Ardi lot, from Sidamo, is an exception and comes from a family run farm near the town of Michicha. Each coffee cherry is selectively picked from heirloom plants and carefully dried inside the fruit on raised African beds. Meticulous attention is payed during this process assuring an exceptionally clean cup.




    We roast this light, stopping the roast as first crack is finishing up. Fragrant berries explode out of the bag. In the cup, lightly sweet, lemon, peach, fresh cedar, and a tangy ferment. Bright fruit-like acidity leads into a chocolatey medium body. A real treat.

    More information about this coffee & purchase here.

    Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Coffee Review, News and was tagged with Coffee, Coffee Roasting, New Product, Ethiopia, Ethiopia Sidamo Ardi, Ethiopian Coffee, Ethiopian Ardi, Natural Processed Coffee

  • New Coffee Offering | Rwanda Fair Trade Dukunde Kawa

    Posted on August 1, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We are proud to announce the release of our Rwanda Fair Trade from the famed Dukunde Kawa Cooperative near Musasa.




    Medium bodied, complex, with notes of raisins, cinnamon, port wine, plum and apple.


    Continue Reading

    This post was posted in What We are Drinking Now, News and was tagged with Coffee, Coffee Roasting, New Product, Rwanda, Dukunde Kawa, Fair Trade Coffee

  • New Coffee Offering :: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Adulina

    Posted on February 15, 2012 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    We are excited to announce the availability an exceptional East African coffee from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia.


    From the birthplace of coffee, we are in love with this outstanding Yirgacheffe offering. From the first time we cupped a sample, we were in love.

    Many Ethiopian coffees are dried in the sun after picking with the fruity flesh of the coffee cherry still attached (called natural coffee). Natural processing can impart intense wild fruit and earthy flavors.

    In this Ethiopian lot, however, the fruit was removed early in the process by using water (called a washed coffee) which resulted in a medium bodied coffee that is beautifully sweet and clean with lively citrus, distinct spiciness, and subtle berry notes that delightfully linger on the palate.  Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Coffee Review, What We are Drinking Now, News and was tagged with Coffee, Coffee Roasting, Ethiopia, Africa, Yirgacheffe, Whole Bean Coffee, Single Origin Coffee

  • One Step Closer - Labels

    Posted on December 1, 2011 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Yesterday I got a to tour the local company that will be printing our bag labels for us, Advanced Labels Northwest.  Not sure what it was about the place, but it made my inner-geek squeal with joy getting to know the process and looking at the amazing Flexo printing presses and their new digital press that was probably 30 feet long.  Anyway, more to come on this, but here is a photo to wet your appetite.

    Advanced Labels Northwest

    We have some truly amazing initial coffee offerings to come, and it is hard to say which one excites me more...but I am currently sipping a very complex Honduras from Mezcla that is blowing my mind!  A very sweet and lively cup with citrus and grapefruit finishing with a wonderful smokiness lingering on the palate.  It also pulled as an espresso remarkably well.  Good times in the Venia Lab! Continue Reading

    This post was posted in What We are Drinking Now, News and was tagged with Coffee, Coffee Roasting, Advanced Labels Northwest

  • A New Icon

    Posted on September 19, 2011 by Venia Coffee Roasters | Keith

    Seattle SpaceNeedle Venia Coffee Roasters

    Spent a bit of time this weekend reflecting on the past few years of our lives and the wild and joyful ride it has been.  If you asked me several years ago if I would be starting a new coffee company in Seattle I would have laughed in your face and called you looney...I mean, wouldn't doing that be as silly as starting a new dot com 10 years ago?  Can you say "bust?"  Yet here we are, defying my inner critic, and moving forward with a dream that has so much more to it than me.

    From the first time I ordered a mocha my freshman year in college to get me through a sleepless night of studying, I was in love with coffee.  Nearly two decades later my love continues (albeit with a much more refined palate), and the quest for the perfect cup has become much more than a hobby.  It is now my career!  This makes me happy.

    We founded Venia Coffee on this love, and our backbone is one of deep commitment of quality and excellence.  We have built our business model in such a way as we are willing to pay more for green coffee that is responsibly sourced.  We pledge to never knowingly sell coffee that is the product of humanitarian exploitation.  We pledge to import coffee that provides fair wages to the farmers.  We also pledge to give a portion of our profits to organizations that advocate and care for some of the 146 million orphans in our world today.  We are dreaming Continue Reading

    This post was posted in Venia Gives Back, Orphan Care & Advocacy, News and was tagged with About, A New Icon, Seattle, Coffee, Coffee Roasting

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