Coffee above all else.
Literally. ink! Coffee beans start out at our proprietary roaster in Basalt, located right outside of Aspen, CO at an elevation of 6,610 feet above sea level—making us one of the highest-altitude roasters in the country. The elevation allows for slower roasting, so we can fully develop the unique and distinct flavors of each of our different blends. Our Roaster meticulously roasts every bean on a small batch roaster, by hand, five days a week. No computers, no graphs, no charts to tell us how a certain coffee should be roasted.
We feel it’s the human element, not just the elevation, that makes our coffee rise above all else. Smell, sight, sound, and even touch are all equally important aspects of what we do, day in and day out—starting with raw green coffee beans. An experienced roaster can use their senses to determine how to roast them. Are they deep green in color with a bluish hue telling us that it was a recent crop? Do they smell grassy, rubbery, dirty or musty? Is the bean extremely dense and hard, as a good Central American bean should be? All of these factors are crucial to our work before the beans are even dumped into the roasting machine.
When we finally “charge” our coffee roaster with a new batch, we’ve got a game plan in place from the get go. And our attention to detail is what helps us stick to that plan. First, we need to know what temperature to start the beans at and how quickly this temperature needs to rise. As the roast begins to “run” on us, going through it’s various stages of development, it can be a sensory overload. The beans change color from a rich green to faded yellow to a deeper yellow to chestnut brown. As the beans move through their ever-growing color spectrum, many other changes are taking place. Keeping a close eye, nose and ear on the beans lets us know exactly when to stop the roasting process or keep on roasting. It’s a complicated process meant for highly trained professionals. Luckily, we are that, and we have coffee roasting down to a highly-un-scientific science.
As a wise man once said, “Anybody can teach a monkey to roast coffee, but very few humans ever learn to do it well.”