Coffee& Ep.3 (Transcript)
Q Taylor: Good morning, good morning, good morning. How you all doing folks?
Nate: Doing great.
Q Taylor: Welcome to Coffee&, powered by Acme Radio Live. My name is Q Taylor. I've got my homie, Jimmie, got my brother, Nate.
Jimmie: We're here.
Nate: We're here.
Q Taylor: We're very, very happy to be here. It's nice to come downtown and look out on Broadway, and look at the beautiful, sunny skyline of Nashville, Tennessee. This is our third podcast. This is big. We're official.
Jimmie: It's a trilogy now.
Nate: Hat trick, dude.
Q Taylor: Yeah. What's your favorite... Random thought? What's your favorite sequel/part three film ever?
Nate: Oh no.
Q Taylor: I got one. I'll start it off.
Jimmie: You start.
Q Taylor: For some reason, it immediately made me think of Rocky III with Clubber Lang.
Nate: Oh okay.
Q Taylor: Mr. T.
Q Taylor: All time Rocky favorite film ever.
Jimmie: That's good.
Nate: I just got so much anxiety. I have to pick one.
Q Taylor: Back to the Future Part III is dope.
Jimmie: Oh, we have to pick the third one?
Nate: It's got to be the third installment, right?
Q Taylor: 2000... Yeah, the third one. I think the Matrix got a dope part three, but I don't remember as much.
Jimmie: Oh man, Matrix is tough for me. The first one's so good, but the other two felt like straight to DVD but with the box office effects of course.
Q Taylor: Got you, got you.
Jimmie: I got to go with Return of the Jedi.
Q Taylor: Ooh.
Nate: Ooh. That's so strong.
Q Taylor: Ooh.
Nate: Man, I've got so many. I don't know what to do. I'm so stressed out.
Q Taylor: I've got a confession. I've never seen a Star Wars film.
Nate: Not one?
Q Taylor: Not one.
Jimmie: Oh man.
Q Taylor: Sci Fi was not big in my household growing up in the hoods of Memphis.
Q Taylor: Back to the Future was probably the most Sci Fi thing ever. But anyway, all right. We got side tracked.
Nate: I still didn't pick one.
Q Taylor: Oh yeah.
Nate: And I just don't know what to do.
Q Taylor: Well then think on it and we'll circle back.
Nate: I like Godfather 3. That one was pretty good. It was pretty good though.
Jimmie: That's one of my favorite holiday movies.
Q Taylor: Was it during Christmas time?
Jimmie: It's just always on TV when you're sitting at your aunt's house and you're trying not to fall into a food coma, and your uncles are watching golf in the other room, and you're just like, "Godfather it is.".
Nate: It's kind of a classic.
Q Taylor: Yeah if it's like on regular TV with commercials it's like an eight hour film.
Nate: I don't know if that's my pick, I don't know if that's my pick though. That's true.
Q Taylor: So what have we been up to lately? Eighth and Roast, we've been really more active on our social media platform because we've started some new things in our shops, in our Charlotte Avenue location. We recently launched a little, small brunch menu that we do every day from 8 am to 2 pm. Got a bunch of new items on our menu that's very addicting, like all these crazy things on toast. We do an amazing little grits bowl with some fresh, locally sourced fruit, and we have some amazing omelet items and all kinds of cool stuff that's fantastic, and it's been really good, I mean the city, it's crazy. Families are in there. Little kids are trying to order mimosas, and got to check their IDs. It's popping, so.
Nate: It's made to order too, which means when you order it, we make it.
Q Taylor: Correct.
Nate: It's crazy.
Jimmie: And it's ordered to eat as well.
Q Taylor: Jimmie. So, what have you all been doing on the coffee side in the shops? I know Jimmie you've been sourcing some stuff and Nate, I know you've been messing around with the drink menu as well. You want to elaborate on that, brother?
Nate: Yeah. We've got some awesome people on our team who started. We went back into the flavor lab and started mixing some stuff. I'm really excited about what they came up with. We've got an espresso mint julep iced drink. We've got our single origin Ethiopian espresso which is bright, very, very yummy, mixed with some soda water, a proprietary mint syrup, which is mint and sweetener, so now it's no longer proprietary, and a little bit of mint leaf on top.
Q Taylor: Got you.
Nate: Oof. It's so good, I'm, like, so excited about it.
Q Taylor: And how's the feedback been?
Nate: Feedback is great.
Q Taylor: Cool, cool.
Nate: Feedback is really great. Also, it's served in this beautiful little glass cup. Come try it.
Jimmie: If you want to feel like you're having a cocktail in the middle of the day but you're not.
Nate: It's so refreshing. I love it. And then we've got a black lavender cappuccino, which is just our espresso... Normal cappuccino but with our black lavender syrup. Just black tea and lavender in a simple syrup, and then on top after the pour, little bit of rock salt on top of that, gives a little bit of contrasted flavor and it is also very good. I'm like actually genuinely very excited about this menu right now.
Q Taylor: What was the process of the staff, the team, putting together, because we've got 15, 16 baristas in the house, between both shops. And everyone has amazing ideas, like did you all, like threw some stuff in the hat?
Nate: Yeah I mean people can come at any time like, "Hey I have a great idea for drink". They make it, everyone tries it. We just kind of see like, "Hey is this something that we want for the menu?', and also we want it to kind of match the season. We don't want a peppermint mocha rolling into June and we don't want this super refreshing thing rolling into December, so-
Q Taylor: Or eggnog in July
Nate: Yeah, yeah. Whoa that sounds like a cool album. Band name, call it. And basically does it fit the season and is it something that we want to serve and we're excited about and that we think somewhere else in Nashville doesn't necessarily have something you can get? So. A lot of trial and error.
Q Taylor: Trial and error. What about you Jimmie, speaking of trial and error, you do a lot of trial and error when it comes to cuppings.
Jimmie: That's my whole job pretty much. Just try shit, and then error, real hard, and then try again. I've been really into some coffees from Papua New Guinea lately. I've got about three in-house right now. I just got their main crop, the Kula Peaberry from Sigri. I love this coffee and you'll start seeing it probably on drip at both shops. Also going to work it into a couple of blends because it's so sweet and has a really nice body.
Q Taylor: Got you. And what else you got? You have anything else new on the menu?
Jimmie: Coffee-wise I've got a new Guatemalan coming in fairly soon. I'm not entirely sure when so don't quote me on that-
Q Taylor: Go you.
Jimmie: But that's in the wings.
Q Taylor: So, you know, to summarize, that's what we've been up to. New brunch menu at our Charlotte Avenue location, new specialty coffee drinks at both location and new coffee on the horizon as well, so for more information you definitely can follow us on Instagram @eighthandroast or go to our website at www.eighthandroast.com, or just pop in the store and ask for Nate or Jimmie and they'll be happy to do some tastings and some drinks with you so, and that's in on that.
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What we got next? We're gonna talk about some specialty coffee and what makes it specialty coffee. I know we want to segue into that. Jimmie, this is kind of your podcast when it comes to what we want to bring to the table with bringing the education standpoint, so what do you want to do with the specialty coffee aspect?
Jimmie: I think just making the distinction between coffee as a commodity and coffee as like a specialty product. We've done this with other beverages, like wine, for instance, people care about where wine is grown. They care about the region. They care about the soil. They care about the process after it's been harvested. Anyone ever heard skin contact referring to wine process?
Q Taylor: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jimmie: Yeah, so coffee is very similar in the same regard. Each of those things can affect the way that coffee tastes. The problem is as Americans we've been consuming coffee as a cheap commodity for, basically, post World War II on. Everybody had it in their house, most of the time it was crystallized and it was sitting in a can and it was ready to just have hot water poured on top of it and stir it up and it's ready to go. We didn't really think of it as this thing that was delicious and worth spending money on, it was more of just like... It was like your pack of cigarettes, your 25 cent pack of cigarettes.
So basically the first wave... There are technically three waves of coffee and that first wave in America was basically that instant coffee period.
Q Taylor: The Folgers era basically, right?
Jimmie: Yeah, Folgers, Maxwell House, massive companies dominating... You know basically the Budweiser and Miller and Pabst of coffee. But it was in everyone's house. The second wave of coffee you could kind of define that by the time period when everybody started to have auto drip coffee machines in their homes. That was like the new thing, was here's this automatic pot, you put the grounds in and you actually brew it instead of going the instant route. Probably a decade or two later is when we saw our first Starbucks store, which was the only place in America where you could go to get an espresso and a steamed milk beverage-
Nate: Changed the game.
Jimmie: ... so thank you Starbucks for introducing that to us.
So the third wave of coffee, which some people would argue we've already moved beyond that, is what ultimately brought us specialty coffee, where the people buying the green coffee are paying attention to exactly to where it's coming from. They know the region, a lot of the times they know the exact farm. They know the processing station and nowadays the producers name will show up on the bag of specialty coffee so you know who owns the farm that that coffee came from, and I think that's super rad.
We're able to negotiate prices with these people, and it's kind of a stark contrast to the way we used to do coffee for so long at least here in the States. These massive companies that are buying up entire lots of green coffee and don't really care where it's coming from. They don't care if the coffee cherry is ripe before it's harvested. Generally this is done by machines and then there's a bunch of people involved afterward that you have no idea if they're being paid anything, let alone a fair price, so to expect a really stellar product out of that type situation, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Jimmie: But with specialty coffee, the goal is entirely different. We're not trying to acquire as much as we possibly can for as cheap as we possibly can. We set a standard and say “this is what I would like”. How much is it worth to you? How much can I pay for this so that everyone in the chain is rewarded for their labor? Because it's not easy work climbing the side of a mountain and picking cherries one at a time when they're absolutely perfectly ripe. It's an incredible skill, and processing is as well. So arguably we may be in the three point... fifth wave right now, or the fourth wave because we've seen a return to automatic brewers. People are starting to get away from manual brew methods, which were all the rage for, what, the last eight to ten years?
Nate: Ten years, yeah.
Jimmie: So arguably we're in a different phase of coffee. I don't know that that warrants calling it an entirely new wave because it's kind of what we were doing before with batch brew, auto brew. We always knew that that could make great coffee. And now we're like, "Oh yeah it really does."
Nate: "We should do that again." Yeah.
Q Taylor: Sounds like we're getting to our highest forms of culinary appreciation of coffee.
Jimmie: Yeah, when you treat it like a specialty product and you've taken all those steps to ensure that you've acquired something that's actually special, and we can talk about the things that go into what makes coffee special. Growing regions. Nate, what's your favorite growing region?
Nate: My favorite on a general scale is Ethiopian coffees. Which sounds... If there's coffee people listening, they're like, "Well, duh. Obvious, obvious." But I love it, it's so... All the blueberry, or really strong fruit forward notes I really love drinking. I just love that taste. Especially natural Ethiopians, which we'll get into later this morning, but-
Jimmie: Nate's a funky boy.
Nate: But I like those weird kind of unpredictable complex flavors that washed coffee doesn't necessarily get into. But Ethiopia for sure.
Jimmie: Yeah, yeah. The fertile crescent.
Nate: The fertile crescent.
Jimmie: The birthplace of coffee.
Q Taylor: Awesome, awesome. So waves, that's what we're talking about. That term started in 2002, but we'll jump more into that when we get back. Coffee& podcast powered by Acme Radio Live.
Coffee& podcast powered by Acme Radio Live. This is Coffee& origin today. We're talking about waves. In 2002 there was a wave article published by the Roasters Guild in a publication by the... What's that say? Flamekeeper, and they pretty much started the term wave, and right now we're kind of in the midst of the third... Is it ending the third wave, Jimmie?
Jimmie: We're somewhere in the middle of that third wave.
Q Taylor: Yeah, yeah.
Jimmie: I feel like it's kind of closing out a little bit.
Nate: A little bit. I mean it's like an easy way to understand it is if you ever watched 90s Rom Coms? If anyone was making coffee... This is going to... Oh, you follow, I promise. If you were watching 90s Rom Coms and Tom Hanks was like, "Come check out my cappuccino machine", like no one says that anymore.
Q Taylor: Right.
Nate: Now it's like, "Oh I've got a latte machine". That's like the second or third wave.
Q Taylor: Okay okay.
Nate: It's the same machine, but we just do different things now.
Q Taylor: That's what's up. Speaking of thirds, we talked about best third movies, or whatever. What's your favorite all time album?
Nate: Don't do this to me.
Q Taylor: What you got Jimmie? You got something?
Jimmie: I know without a doubt what mine is.
Q Taylor: What is it?
Jimmie: OK Computer, Radiohead.
Q Taylor: Oh yeah.
Nate: That's such a good musician answer.
Jimmie: They made it in a haunted house.
Nate: That's pretty cool.
Jimmie: How is that not rad?
Nate: That's pretty cool.
Q Taylor: I'm not a big fan of Radiohead.
Jimmie: That's okay.
Q Taylor: That's just me. My favorite all time third album, you know, a lot of people are going to debate this, but it's Good Kid, M.A.A.D. city by Kendrick Lamar. People don't realize that was his third album.
Nate: That was his third album?
Q Taylor: That was his third album.
Nate: Oh no.
Q Taylor: Yeah, you thought it was his first?
Nate: I thought it was To Pimp A Butterfly and that was going to be my answer.
Jimmie: Oh ruined.
Nate: And you just swiped it. Wait, how is that his third?
Q Taylor: Well he came out with Section.80, and then he had another album before that. I can't remember the first album he came out with.
Nate: Oh, well there goes my answer.
Q Taylor: Sorry buddy.
Nate: I love To Pimp a Butterfly but now it's my favorite fourth wave album.
Jimmie: Next time when we're actually in the fourth wave, we'll ask you again.
Nate: Next year.
Jimmie: Next year when that happens.
Q Taylor: So favorites. We want to talk about regions now, right? And dive into that. I'm a Costa Rican guy. I'm a Guatemalan guy. Nate you said a few things as well, right?
Nate: Yeah, love those Ethiopian African coffees. They're just my favorite consistently.
Jimmie: But specifically, the naturals.
Nate: Natural Ethiopians, yeah.
Q Taylor: Explain that, explain that.
Nate: We can dive into that right now.
Q Taylor: Go for it.
Jimmie: Let's do that.
Nate: Go for it.
Jimmie: Cool. So not only the region affects the way the coffee tastes, but the way it's processed after harvest has a huge impact on the overall character of the coffee. So if you've got a natural Ethiopian versus a washed Ethiopian, a washed Ethiopian is going to be a lot more dense. It's going to have a lot more acidity. It's going to be a lot brighter in the cup, and it's going to have more of a tea like body. That's a direct result of the process, not necessarily the farm that it came from, the type of coffee plant, et cetera, et cetera. The process is what impacts that particular aspect.
Jimmie: So in natural coffee, let's say it's sourced from the exact same... It's a microlot that's right next to this washed Ethiopian that you had. The natural is going to have more body. It's going to be a little bit more mellow as far as acidity goes. It's not going to have that brightness, but it's going to have a really round sweetness and that usually presents itself in the form of a blueberry or a strawberry or a melon. Some really sweet, juicy round fruit.
Nate: The juice version of coffee.
Jimmie: Yes. Not something citric but something like a berry. Whereas the washed coffee is going to taste more like a citrus, like a tea, and it might punch you right in the nose with that acidity. It's going to be really clean. Specialty coffee a lot of times people prefer the washed method because it is more consistent. It takes less time. It's usually a 12 to 48 hour process and it results in this really complex sparkling acidic cup of coffee, however people generally tend to remember the first time they've ever had a natural coffee. If you've ever had a sip of coffee and it tasted like fricking blueberries and it just blew your mind, chances are you were drinking a natural coffee. For me, that was the case.
Q Taylor: What about on the second... Like if you go back and get that again, are you going to have that same feeling?
Jimmie: Not necessarily for me, now knowing what I know, and knowing that natural coffees tend to taste that way it's not going to have the same mind-melting factor that it had the first time.
Nate: You're expecting it a little bit more.
Nate: Yeah. And for me, getting a whole bag of natural, is sometimes like, by the middle to the end of that bag, I'm like, "I'm done now. I'm good"-
Jimmie: Yeah, you're saturated.
Nate: "I've had this coffee, I'm, very good with it."
Q Taylor: But it's your favorite.
Nate: It's my favorite still, that's why I love if I'm going to other shops and I'm getting a cup of what their natural is.
Jimmie: It's a treat.
Nate: It's great because I'm like, "Oh wow that was so good". But if I buy a bag, it's just a lot of blueberry.
Jimmie: A lot of berries.
Q Taylor: Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, Jimmie. If you are a coffee drinker throughout the day. You need one in the morning. You need two cups in the morning. You need another one after lunch. You're not leaving work til 8 o'clock that night so you're going to need some more coffee. Do you want to go to the wash side or does that question not apply to what you're trying to explain?
Jimmie: Are we talking about caffeine content?
Q Taylor: Well no, just, are you still getting all of that flavor and all those feelings of that natural coffee throughout the day?
Jimmie: Oh okay.
Q Taylor: You see what I'm saying?
Jimmie: I get what you're saying. Yeah, I tend to use... Like for instance my favorite coffee I've ever had was a natural Burundi, which is super rare. You don't see a lot of natural coffees coming from that region. I've only ever had two of them and they've both been stellar. I wouldn't drink that cup every day because it would probably ruin it a little bit for me.
Honestly, when I get to work, I'm drinking the stuff that we're selling a ton of, like, the French on drip-
Jimmie: ... which is a blend. I always try the blend, then I switch over to the single origin drip option which is usually a Peru or Guatemala, both washed. Then I'll try something over on the espresso bar, which our espresso blend has a mixture of natural and washed coffees on purpose, of course. And then we have the natural Ethiopian on the espresso bar too. So I generally, when I'm at work, I'll kind of work my way through the main offerings, because I like to taste those things every day. I like to know that they're tasting the same as they did yesterday, if not a little better.
Nate: Yeah having a natural every day is like drinking a desert wine every night. It's like, you're not going to want to do that all the time.
Jimmie: Yeah and it's like, I love going to Sump and getting a cup of their Yemen for like 8 bucks but that's not, like, my daily thing.
Jimmie: That's me, as someone who really likes coffee. I'm going to go do that once or twice a month.
Q Taylor: Although my grandmother does... She drinks desert wine literally every night. I was just like, "Hold on, hold on."
Jimmie: Oh yes.
Nate: I love your grandmother.
Q Taylor: She's good people. Happy Mother's Day. Shout out, Happy Mothers Day.
Nate: That's how I feel.
Q Taylor: So the process, you said, to recap, the natural has more mellow, the body is different, and then with the wash… say that one more time?
Jimmie: The wash is a lot brighter, usually more complex-
Q Taylor: Okay.
Jimmie: ... so there's more flavors going on. With a natural it's usually something overwhelmingly something fruity, and that's directly related to the fact that when they harvest a coffee cherry and then process it naturally. The coffee seed stays inside that cherry for 6 to 8 weeks depending, until the moisture content stabilizes, between 9 and 12% roughly.
So it's a longer more drawn out process. It can take a couple weeks, it can take 2 months, it just kind of depends on the climate, how wet or dry it is. Every coffee is processed either washed or natural. The washed is also called wet, the natural is also called dry or sun dried. Depending on the region they might have a fancy name for how they've processed this coffee, but generally it's on a scale in between natural and washed. We have some coffees that are pulp natural. A lot of Brazils are pulp natural. And that's like a real happy medium between washed and natural. So you get some body. You get some sweetness. You don't lose the acidity completely. There's still a little bit of that there.
Q Taylor: And what are some of the factors that are affecting the way these coffees are tasting?
Jimmie: Soil has a lot to do with it. Elevation has a lot to do with it. The type of coffee plant. There are so many different varieties of coffee nowadays. If you put two really common ones next to each other, you probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Even a really seasoned coffee professional probably won't be able to tell the difference between Bourbon and Koultoura, for instance. But, if you have a Geisha varietal, those are known for imparting a floral quality to the cup. So chances are, if you're tasting a Geisha next to those other two that I just mentioned, you're probably going to notice that Geisha as the standout. So the varietal can play into how the coffee tastes. Processing after it's picked is huge too, like we discussed. It can have a radically different flavor profile just based on whether it's washed or natural.
Nate: If you ever see an $11 pour-over at a shop, it's usually a Geisha.
Jimmie: Oh yeah.
Nate: It's like, "Whoa that's so expensive, why is that so expensive? Oh it's a Geisha, I'm going to get that for sure".
Nate: It's worth it. If you see it. It's a hefty price tag.
Jimmie: And it's usually like the cup of excellence is usually something wild like that that was grown somewhere, that's not typical.
So a lot of times it will be a partnership between a roaster and a farmer, and the farmer will plant these wild Geisha's somewhere in Columbia, for instance, where they don't naturally occur there, but they've planted these there. They've waited 4 years for a yield. It is kind of a long ongoing partnership between the producer and the roaster, because they're both working together to make sure the roaster is getting what they want-
Nate: Yeah, what they ask for.
Jimmie: ... and the roaster is paying high dollar to make sure they get what they want.
Q Taylor: And that wasn't happening in that first wave.
Jimmie: That was not happening. Not in America. American coffee buyers, those companies were just... Like I said, "As much coffee as we can get, bottom dollar. I don't care where it came from, how it was grown. I just want to put it all together, roast it super dark, grind it up, put it in a can and stick it on a shelf for you and your family."
Nate: Sell it in 5 gallon buckets.
Jimmie: "I want your family to have shitty coffee", .
Q Taylor: So during that second wave, would you say Starbucks was in the forefront of establishing some of those relationships? Or there were other places?
Jimmie: I think Starbucks was instrumental in bringing that culture to the United States. Before Starbucks, you could not go into a shop and order a cappuccino. It just wasn't a thing here. They didn't start the second wave, but they sure did tie... They brought us into the third wave from the second wave, for sure.
Q Taylor: Awesome.
Jimmie: So thank you, Starbucks.
Nate: Thanks guys.
Q Taylor: Shout out to Starbucks. Awesome. Well this is great. Coffee& podcast, Episode 3. This is my favorite one so far. Powered by Acme Radio Live. We'll be right back.
Welcome back. Coffee& podcast, powered by Acme Radio Live. My name is Q Taylor, we got my guy Jimmie and my brother Nate. We are back talking about waves and origins.
Jimmie, give us a recap actually on what we've been talking about today. Give me a little summary about everything.
Jimmie: Yeah, yeah. So basically here's the skinny. Coffee tastes different depending on the terroir of the region. That's the overall climate, region, rainfall, soil, elevation. Basically everything that you could use that part of the earth. That impacts the flavor profile. The type of coffee plant impacts the flavor profile. The way the coffee is processed after it's harvested definitely plays a huge factor in the overall characteristics of your cup. But also beyond that, the way this coffee is roasted, the way this coffee is brewed, the way it's presented to the customer, each part of this process affects the way that the final cup tastes. So that's the really exciting thing to me about coffee is that it's been passed along hundreds of people from thousands of miles and then it's there in front of you and you get to enjoy all that's there in that cup because of all those things.
Nate: You can't drop the ball at any one spot.
Jimmie: Yeah, it's all so... It would be such a detriment if there was one careless step in there. It would be sad. So I kind of want to talk a little bit about high elevation coffee, because that is something that you'll hear a lot of coffee snobs talk about, "I won't drink a coffee that's been grown below 1300 meters because that would be foolish."
Q Taylor: "Hey man."
Jimmie: I mean they're not wrong-
Q Taylor: "Elevations too high."
Jimmie: It's a weird thing to say but it's not entirely wrong. Roasters love high elevation coffee because there's way more flavor potential, and I'll explain why, in case you thought I wasn't going to. When coffee is... Sorry, I'm on a roll. I've had too much coffee this morning.
When coffee is grown at a higher elevation, the plant matures more slowly. So if you know about plants, and you know about chlorophyll and you know that plants use sunlight to feed themselves, that's... How cool is that? Anyways, when the plant matures really, really slowly and it has direct sunlight kept off of it. So, shade grown, high elevation, these cherries, the coffee cherries are given a lot more time to ripen, and in the meantime the coffee plant is fortifying its seeds with food for these really, really healthy cherries.
Q Taylor: I wish I was a plant Jimmie.
Jimmie: I wish I was a plant too.
Q Taylor: Yeah.
Jimmie: I wish we could be plants together on a beautiful mountain .
Q Taylor: Much better than eating McDonald's.
Jimmie: You can make your own food. That's so cool. But yeah, when these seeds are fortified by the plants they end up just packed full of sucrose and simple sugars and the flavor potential there when you put it in the roaster is leaps and bounds beyond something that was grown on a flat surface, low elevation, in the sun. Chances are those cherries are going to be mature before those seeds are really packed full of really good nutrients. So that's why we like high elevation coffee.
When we get it into the roaster, once we roast that green coffee, it's increased in size, it's doubled or tripled in size. It's lost about 15% of its weight, but also the roasting process has created over 800 volatile compounds, just based on what was there in that green coffee to begin with. So the more potential you have sitting in that cellular structure of the green coffee, the more flavor potential you have when it comes out of the roaster. To me that's like the most exciting thing, when you get a new coffee and you're like, "Oh it was grown way up high."
Nate: "Look at all these compounds."
Q Taylor: "These compounds are amazing"
Jimmie: Yeah, so we're after those really, really dense coffees that are just packed full of nutrients, because that is where the flavor comes from. When we put those flavor notes on the bag or on the board or try to explain to you what this cup of coffee tastes like, we're just doing that based on what we think the cup tastes like based on its natural characteristics. So our goal is to kind of find what those are, it is very much a trial and error process.
Q Taylor: You're trying to bring it out.
Jimmie: You're trying to bring it out. You're trying to get out of the fucking way of this coffee.
Q Taylor: Rather than incinerate it.
Jimmie: Yes. Let it shine. That's another reason that we don't roast our coffee super dark. There are roasters that do really great dark roasts. We are not one of those. I like to try to preserve as much as I can of what makes that coffee special before I got it, so that I'm not ruining it or putting too much of my own flair on it. Like, oh yeah, this coffee tastes great at a lighter roast level but I'm gonna go ahead and burn it because-
Nate: We don't know why.
Jimmie: Yeah we have no real reason for that, but a lot of times cheaper coffee that doesn't have exciting flavor, those are the coffees that roasters will take darker because you are trying to mask some of its imperfections and you don't really want to let all the characteristics come out because they're not all good.
Q Taylor: Are there any roasters in Nashville who do dark roasting?
Jimmie: I believe Bongo is probably... Yeah I'm sure everybody... It's hard to apply those terms across from roaster to roaster, like a light roast versus a dark roast. Starbucks, blonde roast, is probably darker than our French, just for a frame of reference .
Q Taylor: Got you.
Nate: Some people love dark roasts.
Jimmie: Yeah, and they're not inherently bad.
Jimmie: And some coffees taste great when they're roasted to that level. A lot of Indonesian coffees, Brazilian coffees, sometimes Columbian coffees-
Jimmie: ... it just depends.
Nate: There's definitely a preference there. You grew up on dark roast, or you don't know the difference and you're drinking what you know. So it's not dark is bad, light is good, but you're kind of, much like going to grab a steak somewhere. The more you leave it in that medium, medium well, the less kind of exciting flavors you're getting out of it.
Nate: But some people love a well done steak.
Jimmie: I always get mine well done with a side of ketchup. Just kidding.
Nate: Okay. Oh my gosh. I was going to lose it. I have a strong opinion on ketchup in that it is a child's condiment.
Jimmie: You're right.
Nate: It is a child's condiment.
Jimmie: You're not wrong.
Q Taylor: I love ketchup .
Nate: Oh man I got so fired up. Oh, sir, you wanted ketchup? I'm sorry you're over the age of 12. You're no longer allowed to.
Jimmie: Do you want the purple ketchup?
Q Taylor: Some things you've got to keep to yourself.
Nate: Okay I'm gonna back down. Keep going, sorry.
Jimmie: Sorry, I didn't mean to rile you up there, Nate. No, but that would be getting a well done steak that was, like, grass fed, that's from your local farm-
Jimmie: ... you get it well done and you get it with a side of ketchup? You might as well just have just had some cheap-ass thing from who cares where.
Jimmie: So that is kind of the distinction, like, if I want something that's roasted super dark so that I can add a ton of cream to it. I don't necessarily like coffee. I like the benefits of that coffee.
It might be my coffee and I like my coffee this way, but I'm not interested in any of those things at that point. Where the coffee came from, how it was processed, how it was roasted. Don't really care, because those aren't the flavors that... I'm not interested in tasting what that coffee has to offer at that stage.
Jimmie: It's kind of the same as cooking all the flavor out of the steak and then dousing it in child condiments.
Q Taylor: Got you. So how do you help someone who's trying to come in and buy a cup of coffee get what they want to order?
Nate: That's a great question. Usually when someone comes in and they're like, "What do you guys have, what's on your menu?" I'm going to go through kind of what we talked about in episode one, what we offer as drinks. But then I'm going to ask them, "What do you like to drink?" If it's just black coffee, if they're looking for a pour-over or a drip. I'm going to ask them like, "What do you like to drink? What flavors do you not like?" And the words I hear a lot are, "Oh, I don't want it too strong."
And that's an interesting adjective because, do they mean super caffeinated? Do they mean really, really acid, like too bitey of a flavor? Too much body? So I kind of have to extrapolate what they mean by that, and so I'll ask those questions, I'll be like, "Are you looking for caffeine? Is that what you mean by strong?" Or "You don't like it super dark and full bodied?" And they'll be like, "Oh yeah, yeah, that. I don't like that." I'm like "Cool, I've got this great light roast Guatemala on." So it's kind of like another trial and error, like, "What do you mean here? Okay cool."
Do you like really fruit forward things? Okay, nope? Then I'm not going to take you to our Shakiso because that's a very fruity coffee, I'm going to take you to our Guatemala, that's a really good in between of not too fruit forward, not too bright, but it's got really good kind of cocoa, and almost like a honey, syrupy flavor to it, and people are gonna be more happy with that than the Ethiopia.
Jimmie: And it's got that delicate acidity from that rich volcanic ash that it was grown in and the Pacaya region of Guatemala.
Q Taylor: So it's not a ketchup latte?
Jimmie: Not a ketchup latte.
Nate: Your pocket protector is showing Jimmie.
Q Taylor: Cool, cool, cool.
Jimmie: You all couldn't see that but I pushed up my imaginary glasses.
Nate: Love them.
Q Taylor: So, another question I wanted to ask you, to go back to the wave content, was the third wave versus... There's rumors that we're almost going back... We're headed to a fourth wave. Do you have any insight on what that means and how that ties into what we're doing at our shops or anything like that?
Jimmie: I do think we're probably somewhere, like three-quarters through the third wave. Eventually we're going to have to decide, "Okay we're in the fourth wave." Right? Because that's how things work. But I think there has to be some large defining factor that distinguishes the third from the fourth wave. Right now we're talking about how we're taking the manual brew away from the barista, and we're using machines to replicate that because it is more consistent than a human. You or I could make the same pour-over all day and it's going to probably taste a little different each time even if we're doing the exact same steps. So now we're reintroducing machines. Companies are making really cool brewers to try to extract different things out of the coffee. That to me doesn't necessarily define a whole other wave of coffee just because we're brewing it a little differently, but I do think if there were some sort of revolutionary way. I think climate change will bring on the fourth wave, because we're going to have to figure out-
Q Taylor: It's like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine.
Jimmie: ... yeah. Rise of the Machines. We've got auto-brewers that are taking over the world, they're brewing up people. I don't know. Don't get brewed.
Nate: I will say with the auto-brewers, we're kind of going back to why we got into the third wave. There was a lot of automatic machine coffee going on and then we went to manual-brew, which I will not get into quite yet because that's a whole other episode for me. If you know how we got into manual pour-overs in the 21st Century, DM us on @eighthandroast on Instagram and I will buy your coffee.
Q Taylor: Ooh. Awesome.
Jimmie: That's a good offer. You should definitely take him up on that.
Nate: @eighthandroast on Instagram. Do it.
Jimmie: Do it now. I don't care. Do you care if they google it?
Nate: No. First person to DM me and tell me why we do pour-overs by hand in the 21st Century. Because it's been around for longer than that, but why you started seeing it in coffee shops. DM me and I will buy your coffee.
Q Taylor: See, I want to know.
Nate: And you won't until further episodes. Keep listening.
Q Taylor: No, what I'm saying is, like, so for me, I feel like, pour-overs is the craft cocktail of coffee shops. To me, personally.
Q Taylor: I feel like that's the mixologist term, style bartender who got some dope stuff at the bar and he's just putting together some dope things, but I don't want to ruin it.
Nate: Yep, but all I'm saying is that's what we want you to think.
Q Taylor: Correct.
Jimmie: That's the illusion.
Q Taylor: Then I go to, like, somebody's house and they're doing a pour-over. I'm like, "Oh."
Nate: "Oh wait, it's a home brew method?" That's all I'm going to say. No more hints.
Q Taylor: There's so many things.
Nate: No more hints. Just DM me on @eighthandroast.
Q Taylor: Okay.
Jimmie: And if you do google it, at least paraphrase what you find.
Nate: Yeah no copy and pasting, I'll know.
Jimmie: Nate's gonna know, he's read every article on the internet. If there's any plagiarism, oh you're not getting that free cup.
Q Taylor: So we've pretty much got what the whole wave movement is. Is there any other roasting brew methods you want to elaborate on and touch up on, Jimmie, before we wrap this up today?
Jimmie: I think it's just important to keep in mind that each step of this process is ultimately why we're in the specialty coffee game. If any of us were to drop the ball on our end we would be letting down hundreds of people. That's the weight that I feel when I come into work, but it's healthy. It's a desire to honor the people that produce the coffee. The people that work super hard to get us this really high quality coffee. And I want to sell more of it because I want them to have more money.
Jimmie: I mentioned earlier that I was buying coffees from Papua New Guinea, and they come from the Sigri state. Sigri, a lot of their money they just pump back into schools and facilities and housing for the kids of the pickers that they employ. It's just such a cool community effort and I feel like the fact that we get the opportunity to be a part of those things and support those types of things, it almost has equal value as presenting a good... It has arguably way more value than presenting a good cup of coffee to somebody.
Q Taylor: 100%.
Jimmie: But we're the bridge. We are the bridge between that world and this world, and any way that we can help make it less confusing, that, to me is what this is all about. This is why we get together and talk about it.
Nate: Yeah and I think that's why training your baristas is so important too, is that you want everyone along the way to do their job really, really well. So if you get an incredible coffee and it gets all the way over here and you've got a great roaster and then you are not a great barista, or you can't quite follow through with that pour-over, or something like... You're right. There is an entire group of people behind you that you kind of let down and you don't want to waste coffee and you don't want to use certain coffees not where they shine the best. You've got to uphold what everyone else behind you has worked for, and that's why especially 8th & Roast and a ton of other shops around Nashville, we take training really seriously because we're that final moment before someone gets to drink it, and that's really important to me and our company for sure.
Q Taylor: And being cool and like being nice to people, and having a good product and doing things with passion is great. I'm very happy to have you guys on this team and having people that are passionate about what we do, it's great. So, thank you for educating the rest of our staff and the city and the people that's listening to this podcast.
Another reminder also, we are doing brunch at our Charlotte Avenue location so stop in, say hi to Jimmie. Say hi to me. My name's Q. Nate is around sometimes, but he is mostly at our other shop. Thank you Coffee& podcast, powered by Acme Radio Live, and have a good day.