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Roasting is a culinary art that reveals the natural flavor of the ingredients and the personal style of a chef. In our case, the ingredients are the best beans we can find, and our chef is our team of artisan roasters. The roastery sits on a small farm in Finger Lakes wine country, just outside of Ithaca, New York.
All of our coffee is roasted on one of our two antique (1950) Probat drum roasters -- a GG45 and a LG5 -- which we have restored in house to meet our specifications. While we rely on the skill of our head and apprentice roasters, we also log and track all of our production roasts using the Cropster supply chain management system, ensuring that our batches are consistent. That means each roast is managed by a human, and quality checked every day.
There's a strict protocol for how to slurp, and odd language for describing coffee, but there are no pretenses in the cupping room. This is where we try to discover with no help but our own senses which beans will make people really happy. Is this Ethiopian sample best suited for brewed coffee? Or will it end up in an espresso blend? Should we make this Nicaraguan bean a medium roast or dark? Sampling coffee, “cupping,” is akin to tasting wine. You take years of experience to develop your palate, and you still learn something new every day. See our coffee list for the results.
We first started roasting in the back of our State Street espresso bar. We were cozy enough in those days, crammed in with cafe patrons and coworkers. Eventually we schlepped our roasting gear up the road to Krums Corners, a modest parcel of farmland with a few old buildings. We gutted the main structure and renovated it green, incorporating radiant floor heat, soy-based insulation, and free energy from passive solar gain. The move to Krums created space for roasting and cupping, as well as storage of coffee greens and local organic milk.
Fresh-roasted beans travel about 10 feet from the roasting room to the packaging area, where your one- and five-pound bags are packed, sealed, and labeled by hand. The small gang in our shipping department fulfills web and phone orders daily by personally handing boxes to the UPS driver. The whole process is certified organic, meaning that organic beans are handled separately from the rest, maintaining the integrity of the chain from grower to consumer.
Old espresso machines never die, they just go to Krums. That's Krums Corners, where Master Technician Tomas Reyer plays Florence Nightingale to weary and wounded cafe appliances. Thousands of espresso shots under boiling steam pressure force even the sturdiest machines to revolt once in a while. Then customers freak out, so baristas freak out, which agitates managers, and so on down the line until Tomas swoops in with a healthy dose of anti-establishment cynicism to distract the crowd while he installs a replacement machine and steals the broken one for some R&R on the farm.
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