Home > Coffee, Experiences, Food > How Do You Describe Coffee Smell In Words – Visiting Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters

How Do You Describe Coffee Smell In Words – Visiting Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters

DSC_0814Seriously, I really mean it as a question – how do you describe coffee smell? I’m asking here the people who cherishes or may be even worships the good cup of coffee – how one can describe that “pick-me-up” goodness when you walk into the room and smell freshly brewed, real, delicious coffee made with love? It is hard, right? You can describe the effects of that smell (invigorating, uplifting, awakening…), but not the smell itself. But – if you are into the coffee, it is enough to say “the wonderful smell of fresh coffee”, and we understand each other. And let me throw in a few pictures for the good measure…

When I walked into the shop of Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters in Trumbull, CT, I felt like a kid in the toy store. It was all about coffee – the smell, the coffee makers, huge bags of coffee beans – it was all coffee, coffee, coffee. Shearwater Coffee Roasters has a very simple mission – to let people experience the best possible single origin organic coffee, one small batch at a time. This is a loaded sentence, so let me explain it in a few more words.

Let’s start with “organic“. All the coffee roasted at the Shearwater is USDA certified organic. The coffee comes from all of the world, from Guatemala., Colombia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and other places, but only from the producers which had being certified by USDA as organic. USDA Organic requirements cover full lifecycle of the coffee production, from the soil and trees handling until the green coffee beans will be packaged for shipping. That organic certification also includes the Fair Trade Certification, which means that the people who grow the coffee are treated properly. Additionally, the Shearwater production process and the whole facility had being also certified by the USDA, so the final product which goes into the little yellow bags is in and out USDA Certified Organic.

Now, a few words about “single origin“. The best way to explain the concept is in the analogy with wine – this is the wine blog after all! Single Origin is really an equivalent of the appellation, or in some cases it can equated to the estate or even single vineyard.  Same as grapes, the coffee is a product of mother nature – it exist in multiple varieties, and its taste will be affected by the soil type, the climate, the amount of water, the altitude – yes, you can call it a “coffee terroir” – and if coffee beans are treated properly from the bud breaking until it will make it into your cup, you will be able to taste it.

Now, the “small batch“: that simply means that coffee is processed (i.e., roasted) one small batch at a time. How small? 20 pounds to be exact. 20 pounds of fresh coffee beans are roasted at a time. That’s it – only 20 pounds. Working in the small batches, you have much better control over the process, and you can ensure that all the beans are roasted uniformly. And you can also make each batch to taste individually different. Which gets us to the last term I want to explain – “best possible”.

The “best possible” coffee combines everything which we talked about before – the organic, single origin, the small batch – but it is also a process of Artisan Coffee Roasting. At the heart of the Shearwater operation, supporting the passion of Ed Freedman, the Head Roaster, is the highly efficient machine called Diedrich IR-12, an infrared coffee roaster. This machine allows very efficient control of the temperature during the roasting cycle (which is very short – takes about 14 minutes to produce medium roast coffee), and the roasting process can be fitted exactly for each and every varietal and type of coffee, to allow it to achieve its fullest potential! How about that for the “best possible” coffee? As I said, I’m fully relying on pictures to share my excitement, so here is the machine:

The machine is controlled manually, but it allows full recording of the process (time/temperature changes ) on the computer, so for each batch it is known precisely how it was produced and how the process can be adjusted if and when necessary. On the pictures below you will see Ed Freedman explaining what happens during different stages of the roasting process and how it is recorded on the computer:

The process starts from the green coffee beans been loaded inside, and the temperature gradually increased until you hear coffee to start crackling, pretty much like popcorn. Once you hear that noise, depending on the type of roast you are producing (light, medium, French etc.), you will have to decide for how much longer to continue the process. Also you can all the time have the visual of the progress:

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Once you are done, the coffee goes out of the roasting chamber and now it should be cooled off very quickly, to make sure it is not going to roast any more:

Once the coffee is cooled off, it goes into the bin to rest – the coffee needs to rest at least for 2 days before it can be packaged and sold:

DSC_0856That’s it! Short 14 minutes, 20 lb of the green coffee beans become 17 lb of the wonderful roasted coffee, and you have a room full of delicious invigorating smell as a an added bonus. And you can also check what kind of roast did you achieve, using this simple set of the colored circles (of course you can buy a machine for $10,000 which will do that for you, but Ed feels quite happy with the circles : ) ):

That concludes my story about the Shearwater Coffee Roasters. They are located in Trumbull, Connecticut, so if you live close by or visiting the area, that might be a good place for you to visit (they sell all the coffees and coffee makers right at the shop). If you are not local, but still want to experience Artisan single origin organic coffee at its best, you can order directly from Shearwater web site.

I hope I managed to make your Monday morning – no, I can’t deliver the smell, but I hope I gave you enough coffee pictures so you can add the smell on your own. Oh yes, the cup of fresh coffee sounds divine – time to make one. Cheers!

  1. July 7, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Loved this post, I am a real coffee lover and find the smell of coffee intoxicating. Just yesterday I hung out in Whole Foods where they roast the coffee beans. I thing Shearwater coffee sounds incredible and will visit their website and order some. I love the small artisan businesses and how they take such pride in their work and production of a superior product,

    • talkavino
      July 7, 2014 at 8:39 am

      Thanks, Suzanne. I’m drinking a cup of Shearwater Kabirizi from Rwanda – very nice! :) Yes, this small batch approach makes a lot of sense to me.

  2. July 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Oh my goodness! Yummy! I am not an everyday coffee drinker. I usually save it for Sunday mornings on my screened-in porch, heavily laden with sugar and cream. You just can’t beat the smell of coffee. Thanks for the invigorating post!

    • talkavino
      July 7, 2014 at 10:49 am

      Thank you! If you have an access to the good coffee (small gourmet store, Whole Foods, something similar), try some medium roast coffee just by itself, without sugar or milk – you might discover the whole new world. I’m purposefully not mentioning Starbucks and similar – their coffee is generally overdone to the point where you can’t taste anything, so trying the mild flavorful coffee from the artisan source might be a good thing.

      • July 8, 2014 at 9:46 am

        We have a local co-op that I buy one called, Lovebug. It’s fantastic. Just because I trust you, I’m going to try it this Sunday. :)

        • talkavino
          July 8, 2014 at 10:47 am

          Great! Let me know how this will work for you!

  3. July 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    It was a pleasure to have you visit the Shearwater Roastery and follow-up with a wonderful pictorial blog for your readers. We welcome visitors – so if any of your readers want to stop by we are open to public M-F 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and SAT from 2 pm to 5 pm. Best Regards, Ed

    • talkavino
      July 9, 2014 at 6:48 am

      Thanks Ed! I’m actually thinking that coffee tasting might be an interesting thing to do… Just need to get the group together…

  4. July 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    A Talk-A-Cappucino post! :) I love the smell of coffee- we get ours from a place called Ritual and they are small batch, fair-trade, from different coffee growing regions, so we always have different beans and you can definitely smell the difference in the different batches.

    • talkavino
      July 9, 2014 at 6:43 am

      I like that! Talk-a-Cappucino sounds like a cool idea :) same as for the grapes, it is amazing what you can get from coffee if you just let the nature speak…

  5. July 9, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Coffee makes me sleepy :) There’s nothing like the smell of coffee. The best coffee memory is Kenya Royal Pearl or something and another African origin in a cafe in Bordeaux, which was WOW. I’m not a coffee export but the smell is so tempting, except Turkish coffee LOL.

  6. July 9, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Coffee makes me sleepy :) There’s nothing like the smell of coffee. The best memories so far are the Kenyan royal pearl or something and another African origin, which had a sweet nutty aroma. Coffee is so tempting, except Turkish coffee lol.

    • talkavino
      July 9, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Do you like the Turkish coffee? Or do you not?

      • July 9, 2014 at 9:57 am

        Well, I will first make sure no spies are around. Ehm, I don’t like Turkish coffee. It doesn’t have the depth in the taste and smell. I drink it only when there is no other alternatives.

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