Anne Cooper of Equilibrium Master Roasters explains the value of her new educational tasting packs, Explorations in Roasting, for novice and expert roasters alike.
According to Anne Cooper, also known as Roastress Coops, there’s a “minefield” of misinformation about how to roast coffee, most commonly that people believe the brand of roasting machine will create specific types of flavours for them.
To help remedy this misconception, Anne of Equilibrium Master Roasters in collaboration with fellow Australian roaster Ecre, has created four specially curated Educational Tasting Packs, each exploring a specific roasting approach.
“The first tasting pack is based on how to recognise and manage roast defects. Without the appropriate roasting approach, coffee can come out overdeveloped, underdeveloped, scorched, or baked. These can all ruin the flavour of entire batches of coffee. Known as ‘roast defects’, these mistakes typically occur when the roasting machine is setup incorrectly or when roasters lack information on what’s going on during key points of the roast. This is a great starting point before we move onto the next tasting packs,” says Anne.
“The following two boxes focus on roast profiles. The aim is to explore, define and show how flavours are impacted, or not, by focusing on the wrong or right data points and various changes to specific phases in the roast profile. These packs will show you how to create specific flavour profile nuances in terms of making coffee taste bright or sweet, and controlling whether the coffee has a big body or a slightly lighter body with more acidity.
“The final pack concerns roasting systems. A big myth in roasting is that a machine will give coffee a certain flavour, when in fact, it’s the profile that influences flavour, not the machine. This pack will bust this myth and show roasters how to achieve the same flavour when matching the same profile and coffee on two different machines.”
Training is something Anne Cooper has always been passionate about throughout her 30 years of experience in the coffee industry. Initially honing her skills training baristas, for the past seven years, Anne has since coached roasters globally of all levels through her Melbourne-based business.
Anne says it’s always been a big dream of hers to create tasting packs to encourage more consistent roasting standards in the industry, and now it’s been made a reality.
“The standards that are involved with brewing and cupping are universal and it would be great if roasting was the same where there’s a suggested baseline approach to start with. Now
in the first roast profile pack, there’s a suggested approach on how to roast a light, medium and dark roast. It’s a clear guide and backbone to uplift those standards. You don’t have to like the taste, but at least you know how it was created, which is the key. And it doesn’t really matter what machine you’re on, that roast profile can be translated to any machine,” Anne says.
Roasters can scan the QR code on each pack for access to all the roasting information as well as instructions on setting up cupping, or a suggested brew recipe for the steeped bag.
“Sydney-based Ecre managed the manufacturing of the packaging. The coffee is placed in steeped bags with two samples of each profile iteration in each pack. Roasters can either brew the coffee by steeping the bag and drinking it or break open the bag and do a cupping with the grind. We understand roasters enjoy tasting the different sensations of brewed or cupped coffee, so it’s been specifically designed to make preparation and analysis easy,” says Anne.
The packs are nitrogen flushed to keep the samples fresh, and the steeped bags are 100 per cent biodegradable.
“The tangible nature of the packs is beneficial as I also have many roasters that I work with internationally. With these samples, I can send them abroad and still conduct an online session with them after they’ve had a chance to taste the samples. It also works around a roasters busy schedule and allows them to explore the packs at their leisure,” Anne says.
All samples are prepared using the same washed Colombia coffee variety from the Association of Women Agricultural Producers of Cauca (AMACA), a group of women producers located in El Tambo, Cauca, Colombia.
“It was really important for me to use a women’s coffee as I’m passionate about elevating women producers. I really like working with Colombian coffees as well because they’re great to experiment with given the great range of fruity and acidic flavours, but also great body and sweetness,” Anne says.
She says this opens the door for possible future developments of the four tasting packs, given her hunch that many users will question how the packs fair with natural or experimental processed coffees.
“I’m eager to see where I take these packs in the future, and whether I create iterations with different coffees, using different machines and profiles. It’s really exciting, the possibilities are endless,” she says.
When creating the educational tasting packs, Anne drew inspiration from common queries she received throughout her consulting and training sessions.
“I started to see a common theme that people were always asking, ‘how do I know I’m doing the right thing?’ Many roasters are comparing themselves to other roasters and want their own point of difference, so hopefully this helps them be more decisive. These tasting packs allow roasters to find something that they really like, or recognise what’s happening in their roasting. It might then also give them an opportunity to fix their mistake or even pat themselves on the back,” she says.
“Sometimes all a roaster wants to know is if they’re on the right track and having someone neutral, like myself, to give good, solid advice that is practical and industry-relevant is really helpful.”
Anne says the tasting packs are suitable for both experienced and beginner roasters.
“Now more than ever we’re seeing a lot of people approach roasting, so I think this is a great way to better support them. My focus is to give my clients a clear idea of what’s involved in roasting and explain a lot of the ‘whys’ behind the process, from novices who have never had formal training to experienced roasters who don’t mind checking in to make sure they’re on the right track or want to try something different. It can really help satisfy all levels in the industry,” she says.
“The biggest message to take away is that with these packs and suggested baseline profiles, I’m in no way saying that I’m right. These educational tasting packs are a way to help show roasters how they can better analyse their own roast profiles and be more decisive about their own roasting, and flavours,” says Anne.
For more information and to access the Explorations in Roasting Educational Tasting Packs, visit www.eqmr.com.au.
This article appears in the October 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.