Boutique Coffee

A richer taste.

Boutique coffee tastes amazing! It is like fine wine. When everything is right, boutique coffees can have natural flavours like chocolate, hazelnut, caramel, sweetness and even floral and citrus.

coffee cherries
Hand-picked from Gaia Estate, a mix of the rare and sweet Bourbon, Caturra coffee cherries, and yellow Catuai coffee cherries

These flavours are innate in high quality beans.  They are encouraged to reveal themselves through careful tending, and the right geographic and local  conditions. Like wine, each crop year the unique “terroir” of a single origin will produce differences in the coffees. The skill and care of the roastmaster coax out these innate characteristics by designing the best roasting profile for the crop. The wonderful flavour oils are volatile, so by brewing the coffee within a few weeks of roasting with proper brewing techniques yields the ambrosia!

The process of creating boutique coffee involves the special care and attention at every stage from growing and harvesting, through roasting and brewing. This degree of care far exceeds that in the typical coffee production process, even for specialty coffee. Instead the market has become acclimatized to industry practices at the expense of great taste. For a comparison of Boutique Coffee practices versus commodity and specialty coffee practices click here.

Releasing the roasted coffee.
Releasing the roasted coffee.

Of particular note is the industry accepted one year shelf life of coffee. Preposterous! The volatile flavour molecules oxidize over time. After about a month the flavours drop off and after about 3 months they go rancid! The bitterness most North Americans associate with coffee typically comes from the volatile flavour molecules turning rancid. The specialty coffee industry pretends to address this problem with vacuum sealed valve bags, but according to leading experts like Micheal Sivitz, even nitrogen flushing leaves enough oxygen in the package to enable oxidization at the same rate as coffee open to the air. The fact is that we have become accustomed to rancid coffee.

Another common misconception is that good quality coffee should be roasted to an oily black. In fact, while it is true that roasting coffee dark does increase body (that’s the feeling in the mouth or the texture) it actually destroys the complex sugars responsible for the yummy flavours. The chemistry of roasting is actually very complex and developing a roasting profile that yields the best flavours from a given bean uses both scientific and artistic experience in the roastmaster.

img_3194More recently, the opposite has become popular: “blond coffee”.  This has resulted in a proliferation of sour and undeveloped coffees in the market.  At Birds and Beans, we may not lead, but neither do we follow.  We just dare to roast great coffee based on what we taste in the cup!

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