Top Posts for October, 2016

October featured a number of shorter pieces and all of the most read posts were things written that month. As usual, here's a recap of the top 5 for the month.

5. Presentation Slides

In October I did a lot of coffee related things outside of the shop. I'm writing this post from a hotel room in Dubai where I'm teaching coffee roasting classes for the next few days, but there were also some presentations closer to home. In this one I shared slides that I used in a presentation for the Racine Garden Club. This may have gotten some help from people finding the post through search engines.

4. Centerlining in Cupping - A Follow Up

The top 5 for October includes two posts that are related to articles that I've recently written for Daily Coffee News. This one includes the original draft that I sent for one on a method for figuring out how to get better quality observations out of your cupping sessions and one of the responses that I got to the article that I think adds another important perspective on cupping.

3. Top Posts for September, 2016

These recap posts continue to be popular enough to justify doing another one.

2. New Pre-Release Build

As it continues to take longer than I'd like to get Typica 2.0 to an acceptable feature set, improvements are still being made against the 1.7 code base. I think it's likely that this work is polished into a Typica 1.7.1 or 1.8 release before 2.0 comes out. One of the main reasons that I've been reluctant to do that is that the computer that I've been using for Mac builds died immediately after finishing the 1.7 build. A different computer is used for building the code that will become 2.0, but there's some work that needs to be done to set that or another machine up to build a new 1.x release if I don't want to increase the minimum required macOS version for Typica prior to a 2.0 release. There's nothing in the 1.x codebase that justifies requiring a more recent version of the OS and some of the hardware that many people are using with Typica doesn't work with the latest versions of macOS due to a lack of vendor support that I really can't do anything about. The work on getting an appropriate build environment set up is mostly just a matter of time and budget. Nobody else is writing code for Typica (or if they are, they aren't upstreaming their patches) or doing the sort of supporting work that needs to be done for new releases and the financial support from people who benefit from using Typica continues to be rare and at a level that only barely covers the cost of making the software available. There are some improvements that can be done to get new builds out faster and more often, but there are more important uses for what little budget I have for Typica.

With a 2.0 version number and a lot of new features I think it becomes more reasonable to ask people to move to hardware and software that has at least the illusion of vendor support. There are some very cool things in progress that I think are useful enough to justify the purchase of newer hardware for people who are currently using hardware that's not supported on the latest macOS, especially when lower cost options are available. The silver lining of the delays on this is that the longer it takes to get this out, the fewer people are likely to still be using these older versions of macOS.

1. Mastering the Roasting Process with Profile Translation Analysis

Often I see people talking about roasting data that they've collected or roasting data that's been shared with them and it seems like there's more discussion of the aesthetic quality of the chart than about how the coffee tastes. I think part of this is that a lot of roasters don't have the tools or aren't familiar with techniques that can be used to tie roasting data to sensory observations. That lack of familiarity has made it difficult for people to recognize when an analysis is deeply flawed. When people take conclusions that are either wrong or meaningless as givens, this can become a barrier to improving roasting skills. This prompted me to write an article for Daily Coffee News about a technique that I've found very helpful both in figuring out why two batches of coffee taste different from each other and for quickly gaining the kind of experience needed to make highly targeted changes to roasting plans to produce desired results.

I still think that there's a lot of room for improvement in the tools that roasters have available for comparing and gaining insight from their roasting data and this is something that I'm very excited to be working on. I'll have more on this when I have something that's good enough to share.