Whenever you start a new project there is always risk. You try to mitigate risk by following proven processes and methodologies, some that are tried and true, and some that may be new in concept and implementation. Each step adds or subtracts to the possibility of a positive outcome. This is one of those stories.
About a year ago, I (Rob) was introduced to an amazing coffee created by Marcelo Franck. (Franck’s Ultra Coffee) To say this wonderful bag of beans improved my quality of life, well, that is a very true statement. And damn it, we want to make Franck’s Ultra readily available here! For multiple reasons, getting the coffee to the USA from Brazil in a roasted and ready to brew state, it just was not cost effective. So, we partnered up, and here we are, ready to start small batch production.
High quality small batch craft coffee is a blending of art and science. When you taste what Marcelo has created, you will understand. Drinking Franck’s Ultra is an experience. I warn you, it will change how you perceive lesser coffees. Your palette will change, your tastes will improve, and you will find sub par burnt beans disgusting. (If you currently like junk coffee, then we can’t really help you.)
So, back to the process talk. Marcelo created a fantastic 100% natural pre-roast process to make incredible coffee beans. We had a baseline, one that is an amazing product, so we had to do everything to we could to live up to that standard and hit the flavor characteristics we want. We followed the processes he created, but our variables are very different. He created Franck’s Ultra Coffee in South America, a very different climate than Reno, NV. We use different barrels to age the beans it (Thank you Dry Diggins!) and even though we are using Brazilian Green Beans, they are a different farm and actually a higher quality rating than what Marcelo is using for Franck’s Ultra Brazil.
Every change step new risk was introduced. Pressure, Temperature, Humidity, nothing was the same, but we had a goal. We knew the flavors we wanted, and we still followed Marcelo’s process. Would it be a bulls-eye? Would it hit the target? Would it be a huge miss? Yesterday we got an idea of what we were going to taste as a product. Our first test roast is complete and currently off gassing.
I tasted the beans out of the roaster and OMG. Even warm they had amazing flavor. The flavors typically do not mature until the beans cool. The smell, the taste of the whole bean, the mouth feel and flavor. Wow. Just wow. We are onto something special.
I won’t lie, we did not mimic Franck’s Ultra Coffee Brazil. It is not a 100% recreation. Somehow, someway we came up with something equally amazing. It is still Franck’s Ultra in process, and shares a number of amazing qualities as the original, BUT, USA Batch 1 is brilliant.
I know there were just 3 of us at the Lighthouse Roastery for the test batch, but this may say it all:
“I have been drinking coffee since 1978, and that is the best coffee I have ever taster.” -Todd Prinz Lighthouse Coffee Master Roaster
I am very excited by what we have coming out of the barrels, and can’t wait to get it into peoples cups.