Intent Coffee Roasting is a Portland-based, one-man coffee company that I discovered on my latest trip to Oregon in May 2015. I love meeting roasters and especially seeing how they work, which is a rare treat for me, so Mark Johnson (Intent’s owner/roaster/packager/marketer/seller/shipper/everything elser) and I made arrangements to hang out. I had a great time and he’s a certified Cool Guy in my book! The coffee I’ll eventually review is a washed Ethiopian from Kochere, and you can buy it directly from Intent for $13/12oz bag.
An added bonus was that I discovered something I totally didn’t know about Portland, that many of my favorite roasters work their magic on the same Probat roaster! I met Mark at Mr. Green Beans’ warehouse location and learned that this well-established business rents out storage space and roaster time on their Probat! What a great business model! I would kill for something like this in Kansas City. There were stalls for at least twenty roasters in the space, if not more, and I learned that Tanager, Case Study and Red E Café, among many others, do or have roasted here.
A 25kg Probat drum roaster costs a small fortune, not to mention the expertise required to hook up gas, run digital probes to interface with roasting software on your laptop, have zoning to use it for business purposes, the space required for green coffee and the roaster itself… this is a great resource for Portland businesses! They also have an industrial scale and a sealing machine to heat-seal whatever bags the individual roasters choose to use.
So, in any case, I watched Mark roast three batches of coffee, including a Ugandan coffee that is a favorite for his market. I assisted in filling bags and I walked out with five sample bags! I definitely had the advantage in that exchange!
So, let’s talk about coffee now. There isn’t a ton of info about this coffee on Intent’s website, but I know it is a washed coffee from the Kochere region, which is in the vicinity of Yirga Cheffe, Ethiopia. Washed coffees from this region, when roasted properly, tend to be light, clean, have lemony bright notes and, to my palate, can often lean heavily into tea territory in their overall flavors and mouthfeel.
True to form, Intent’s Kochere Biloya has light body and clean flavors. I found some acidity that was reminiscent of grapefruit, but was less harsh than that. I also picked up a lot of floral notes in this coffee. As the cups cooled, the acidity leaned more into sweet lemon territory. This is a pretty subtle coffee, but I enjoyed it. The roast was developed nicely to enhance the light and bright notes these coffees are known for while still retaining the inherent coffee nature I expect from, well, a cup of coffee! This was a good introduction to Mark’s roasting and I’m looking forward to cracking into the other four bags he gave me!