I've been roasting some Ottolina Classica today. Classica is quite a complex espresso blend of no less than 9 different arabicas. I get it here in Norway from Temperato which imports the Ottolina brand of coffee from Milano.
Ottolina coffee is quite popular with the home espresso enthusiasts and quite a number of espresso bars use it too. It is cheaper than other brands and is delivered in bags filled with nitrogen and closed with a one-way valve. The way it is packed is a big selling point since the alternative coffee from the big roaster Solberg-Hansen, which supplies almost all coffee bars in Norway with coffee, is just put into brown paper bags and shipped out. When the enthusiast gets home and puts it in the grinder it is pretty much dead, or at least nearing the end of its lifespan as premium espresso coffee. Luckily there are alternatives like the excellent coffees from the mocca micro roastery and the stockfleths espresso roasted by Tim Wendelboe himself.
It is getting really cold here in Oslo now (0-2 degrees celsius), so roasting coffee with the kitchen windows open isn't especially comfortable. I am also noticing that the roasting times are increasing as the air gets colder.
Actually, I am roasting the Classica blend in my popper to compare with the preroasted stuff. Can't wait to try some shots, but I will try to be patient and wait at least until tomorrow, preferably the day after. It probably won't be as good as the preroasted, but if Alexander (from Temperato) think it is satisfactory then that will be very cool indeed because a popper is a very cheap and simple roasting device compared to the big commercial roasters down in Milano.
Btw, I stopped by Temperato the other day and got to check out the TSC (Temperature System Cappuccino) on the Rancilio classe 10. It was pretty cool. Nice microfoam and the option to adjust both the milk temp and thickness (3 levels). Still, the cappuccino I got wasn't as good as it would have been if he had done the steaming manually. Alexander complained about the milk and said that it had been dead perfect the day before. My personal impression was that a barista can adjust the steaming on the fly to adjust for the nature of the milk being used. On the TSC you will have to maybe adjust the thickness level one notch down or adjust the temperature a little too. Still, the TSC system is very cool indeed. The customer will always get milk drinks that are very good (if the espresso is good too) and always at the correct temperature. The need for training is almost non existent. Check out the pictures in their latest article about it. 10/23/2003 07:03:00 PM