The best beans & roasting method for coffee soda

written by keepers 3 years ago

Most bottled or canned coffees tend to use a dark espresso roast so they always taste the same — usually burnt and bland 😛 … At Keepers, we are always looking to buy the best green coffee that is in season.

Our master roaster, Joel Eastlick has been roasting for close to a decade and can best sum up our philosophy

So Joel, can you tell us what goes into picking a bean for coffee soda?

Because we’re trying to focus on freshness and making a high-quality product, high-quality, seasonal ingredients are a MUST! Picking a bean is about pairing flavors. Like any Michelin-rated restaurant, the chef has thought about what flavors an ingredient has, and how those ingredients compliment other flavors. Coffee is fruit, ultimately, and as such, it’s going to display different characteristics, depending on the varietal of the tree, where it’s grown, how the climate was that season, etc.

Think about apples: Some people just think “red and green”, but others know there are Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Fuji, Macintosh, etc. All are apples at the end of the day, but some are better for certain uses than others. Some are juicy and make good cider, others are denser and sweeter and make better applesauce, so on and so forth. When it comes to Keepers Coffee Soda, we’re looking for a bean that plays along with what we like about soda in general: effervescence, playful and sweet with touch of citrus acidity to cut through and tie it all together.

How does the roast play into it

While some people have really taken to enjoying the smoky flavors of dark roasted coffee, the truth is that a lot of mediocre coffee hides behind a darker roast. It’s like steak: You can have super-expensive, grass-fed Kobe beef, but if you scorch it and turn it into a hockey puck, all the hard work and great taste is lost. That’s the same philosophy behind how we roast. We spend the extra time looking for a bean that has been grown well, full of complex flavors and sugars that make for a rewarding drinking experience. At Keepers, we want to roast the coffee to compliment the hard work of the farmer, not hide it. The best way to do that is a roast that lands on the lighter side of the scale. The lighter roast, combined with a great quality bean leads to a coffee that is still identifiably coffee, but with sweet notes that are reminiscent of things like fruit and honey.

With Keepers we’re pairing citrus with coffee, are there beans that naturally have citrus notes?

Coffee, before it makes it to your cup, begins as a seed that grows inside of a bright red, cherry-sized fruit. It’s only natural that some coffees have a fruity, citrus tinge to them! Citrus and coffee is as natural a combination as pancakes and maple syrup or bacon and eggs!

Climate, geography and soil have A LOT to do with how coffee tastes. Wine experts call it “Terroir”. Historically, it was easy to pigeonhole coffee. Coffee drinkers would say “Africa is floral and citrus, Latin America is chocolate and nutty, and the Pacific is earthy and savory”, but we know better now. With the explosion of coffee growing technology, post-harvest processing and exchange between farmers from all over the world, those previous flavor categories are quickly fading. The challenge for the roaster is to try different coffees from all sort of regions across the world, identifying flavors sweet and citrusy flavors that will make Keepers Coffee Soda the best that it can be.