/files/u707/chazzano_logo_14.jpg" vspace="3" width="150" align="left" border="0" height="116" hspace="3" />biscotti has been on a siesta the last few weeks, but we are back now, launching a new feature. Since ROASTe carries more than 700 different coffees from thirty-three micro-roasters (and counting), we thought it was practically criminal that we weren’t bringing you their rich and varied stories about how they got into coffee roasting, what makes their roasting processes unique and other interesting nuances of the coffee roasting trade.
First up is Chazzano Coffee Roasters. Their Papua New Guinea Fair Trade Organic is consistently one of our most popular coffees available on the site. Frank Lanzkron-Tamarazo has a very interesting story about how he named his company. He was a Cantor (synagogue clergy member) for fifteen years. The Hebrew word for Cantor is “chazzan.” In addition, Frank is also a “Pizza Bagel” – that is, he has a Jewish mother and an Italian Catholic father (like biscotti, actually). So, he tacked on an “o” to “chazzan” to give it that Italian sounding flavor. Que belo!
Frank got into roasting about ten years ago. He used birthday money from his mother-in-law to buy a small coffee roaster, the Fresh Roast Plus, plus some Costa Rica Tarrazu Santa Laura green coffee beans from www.thecoffeeproject.com. As soon as it arrived, he excitedly assembled it and roasted a few ounces of the Tarrazu. When it cooled down, he brought it into the house, ground it up and proceeded to brew, “the best cup of coffee that I had ever tasted.” Incredible notes of hazelnuts and a cocoa aftertaste made him feel as if he were drinking a fine wine. To this day, he remembers the beauty of that first home roasted cup.
From there, it became a crazy hobby, which quickly progressed from having hundreds of pounds of green coffee in his garage to THOUSANDS! (*biscotti presses silent alarm*) He has been roasting ever since, taking meticulous cupping and roasting notes and studying everything that he can get his hands on that concerns coffee.
We loved Frank’s answer when we asked him what makes his roasting process special. He treats every roast as if it were the first time he is roasting a particular single-origin coffee. Meaning, when he puts individual 12-pound batches from a 150-pound shipment of beans into his US Roasters 5kg roaster, he carefully listen to the cracks and pays attention to the awesome aromatics that are being created for each and every small batch. (Wow – that’s dedication!) Frank says his palate also makes his roasting method unique. He looks for and tries to bring out notes that are interesting and special to him.
The Ferndale, Michigan roaster doesn’t specialize in roasting any particular coffees, but admits to getting the greatest joy from bringing out the wildness of Ethiopian coffees. Recently, he roasted a crop of Ethiopia Yirgacheffe that yielded a floral and lemon zest extravaganza that was different from anything that he had ever roasted before. However, with the next crop of Yirgacheffe, the lemon zest vanished, and in its place was an explosion of profound orange/ grapefruit aroma and notes. When pressed, Frank copped to Ethiopia Harrar being his favorite, by far. “It is clearly the coffee that G-d drinks,” he said. “It has notes of blueberries, cherry, pipe tobacco, with a red wine finish. As it ages during the second week of life, one will find dark chocolate and peppery notes.” Holy cow – send us some of that now, Frank !
Chazzano’s beans come from all around the world, including – Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Timor, Haiti, Hawaii, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, Burundi, Rwanda, Mexico, Panama, Zimbabwe, Yemen, Kenya and Papua New Guinea. He is constantly seeking out new coffee growing regions. He’d like to try roasting Australian coffee next.
Frank says his favorite part of being a coffee roaster is spending all day long tasting his creations and finding new, delicious notes that truly enrich his life. You can visit his coffee blog Good Coffee Makes You Sing, which we suspect is a nod back to his Cantorial days. Ba’chatz’la’cha, Frank!