05 Dec 2018


Espresso and IKAWA At Home

We know that loads of our At Home customers love espresso. In fact many of our Professional customers love using IKAWA to roast their espresso coffee – we were super proud that finalists in the World Barista Championships used IKAWA not only to select their Championship Coffees, but also to roast it using their Pro Sample Roasters.

We’ve written before about roasting for espresso and Geoff made this video about it too.

Last month we teamed up with La Marzocco to run a small session in our London workshop all about espresso. We focused on the roasting side, and the guys from La Marzocco set up a few Linea Minis and ran a masterclass on espresso – covering solubility, grind, dose, ratios, milk and ‘the pour’ which went down a storm.

In this post we wanted to extend the event to those who couldn’t make it; including roast profiles, and ideas to help you create roasts (and espresso) you will love.

New Espresso Roast Profiles  

If you’re new to IKAWA At Home and curious about what a roast profile actually is, have a read of this summary.

The profiles work well with a range of origins, particularly our washed Guatemala and Colombia, honey processed Honduras, and pulped natural Brazil – but have a play with other coffees too – or you can blend them if you’d rather. These espresso profiles achieve a range of roast degrees. We’ve written this post about roast degrees which explains a lot of the nuance. 

First up, these profiles below create a relatively ‘third wave’ espresso, and suit the natural Brazilian coffee especially.

Both these curves follow a similar shape applying heat at similar times with just under 2 minutes of development time after first crack. The roast ending at 258 degrees Celsius input temperature will lead to a more developed coffee. The espressos we pulled from these two roasts were delightful when using our Andino Especial washed Colombian coffee. They maintained a great brightness, and the activity very balanced and not overpowering.

If you’re into more traditional espresso, have a play with these two profiles below.

Compared to the other profiles, there is a lot more heat applied earlier in the roast.

You will see this makes the colour change start to happen earlier in the roast, and had over two and a half minutes of development time after the first crack.

For those who like a dark espresso – or if you’re curious to see what happens – try the Full City Second Crack profile above. You’ll notice its similar shape of curve a as the 9:56m, 258 degree C profile, but then after first crack applies more heat which takes the coffee right through.

Roasting dark isn’t easy to get right, but if you’re going to do it, extracting as an espresso is probably the best way to bring out the dark chocolatey, caramelised flavours. Too often a dark roast can taste ashy, roasty or even like burnt rubber, so it’s worth getting right.

We choose these profiles to share as they represent a range of different roast curve shapes, roast durations and also roast degrees. They’re a great start point for you to experiment with.

But how should you experiment?

One simple rule is that to make a roast ‘darker’ you can extend the time, and increase the end temperature of the roast. But that feels like a blunt approach given the remarkable control you have with the IKAWA At Home system.

As you roast, and want to have a better sense of how to benchmark and edit your roasts, pay attention to the ‘key moments’ in the roast (which you can read about here). Specifically, the time you reach ‘yellowing’, time of first crack, and the development time after first crack. This will give a framework to compare roasts to each other, and will give you a sense of how it will affect flavour development.

If you decide to shoot for second crack, experiment with the pace you take it to optimise caramel, chocolatey notes and minimise the negative roasty flavours. For example you could allow a plateau after first crack, then ramp it up again – and experiment with this duration (probably no longer than 3 mins or so), or perhaps go ‘straight up’. If you’ve never heard second crack, you should check it out – it tends to happen in a more concentrated way, almost like rain falling on a tin roof!

Enjoy getting stuck in to these profiles – and let us know how you get on over in the Hot Air Community.

author-img By Alex Georgiou