Kees Kraakman at work

Entering the Pussy Galore café we meet Jane Caldwell who is preparing tea and as we introduce ourselves and explain we're looking for Kees Kraakman, the master himself comes walking in from his roasting studio. He is about to have a guest of his taste a new coffee he's roasted and while he has little time to chat right away, he promptly takes two extra cups, ginds some more beans and makes us two cups as well. He weighs the grinds, carefully puts a dose in each glass cup and lets it sit for a while. Then he comes back and with a sharp tap on the counter makes the wet coffee grinds sink to the bottom se we can taste the bright coffee, diluted like tea and very expressive in its aromas.

Ground coffee in cups
As the coffee cools off a bit, Dutch readers of this blog can take some time to read a blog that Kees published last year about marketing and his ambivalent position towards promotion. Does great quality needs promoting or should it be possible to make a living with a superior poduct and will the right customers find you anyway and remain loyal to you, even as others make a lot of noise about a lesser product? And if you need promotion, how can you afford it if you buy the best and most expensive beans to roast for an affordable price?
Pouring (not too) hot water over it


Let it rest a bit
Kees Kraakman (l) giving advice about coffees

Tapping the cups to sink the grinds

Ready for tasting
Next, we follow Kees to the place, behind a heavy curtain, where he roasts. He even has a classroom there for the courses that he gives frequently and soon he will add a bigger roaster next to his 1 KG Giesen roaster, so his students can get even more "hands on" training, plus with the extra volume he will be able to better meet demand for his own roasts. Even though he currently loads the little Giesen with 1.5 KG per batch, he needs more capacity.

Before starting a roast, Kees loads the target profile so he can see, while roasting, if he is deviating from that track. This time, he will overshoot the line but he lets it happen within a given range. "I could turn down the heat a little, but then again you never know, you could just be hitting another sweet spot."
All along the roast, he takes samples and uses a second to be very focused, inhaling the fragrance coming off the beans, looking at the coloring and deciding how to proceed.
Sniffing and observing

Checking color development

Almost done? More to go.
Since he loads more beans, there's also much to cool down and Kees uses a fan over the machine, pointing down onto the bean mass, while air is also sucked down through the beans from the container beneath the beans. When they have cooled down enough, they are poured into a bucket and meanwhile a fresh load of beans is ready to charge into the roaster, and on, and on.
Time to cool

Kees happy with this roast!


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