In today’s interview I get to speak with creator & founder of F.R.E.A.K Coffee, Asher Yaron.
We talk about the health and taste benefits of freshly roasted coffee and what he believes will be the 4th wave of the coffee revolution.
By debunking disinformation spread by the big coffee companies, he hopes more people will become aware of the benefits of freshly roasted Arabica beans.
We also get a chance to talk about how we can control the coffee process from the green bean to the cup.
If you know someone who is interested in learning more about:
- What is defined as fresh coffee vs stale coffee
- What are the benefits of fresh coffee
- Why you should learn to roast your own green coffee beans at home
- How to roast green coffee beans at home
Then this interview is for them.
I enjoyed this interview as I am very passionate about a good cup of coffee myself.
In fact, I have talked about my love for good coffee already in my bulletproof coffee review.
However, what Asher is saying will take mine & your coffee experience to a whole new level I believe.
After talking to Asher I have learned a lot about coffee, the processes it goes through and how this affects the bean quality.
It is exciting to think that by choosing our own bean and roasting it at home we can further customise our cup of coffee exactly to our specific tastes and get a better quality product while we are at it!
Special thanks to Asher for joining me on the show.
Enjoy the episode!
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Find summarised highlights of what we talk about during the interview.
Use the clickable timestamp links to jump direct to those points in the audio file below:
[00:19] – Introducing Asher Yaron, the man behind one of the most viewed TEDx talks on coffee and founder of F.R.E.A.K coffee, based in Ubud, Indonesia. Asher’s focus is on the pharmacological effects this natural substance has on the human brain and body. Through his own research and experimentation, he realised there are substantial benefits of drinking fresh coffee and believes this is the reason we need to move into the ‘fourth-wave’ of coffee, now.
[01:15] – What do we mean by fresh coffee? The key is the time of roasting. Fresh coffee needs to be consumed within 24-hours of roasting, but the closer it is consumed to roasting the better. In other words, roasting, grinding, brewing and drinking the coffee should all be done with no large gaps of time in between, which is how coffee was originally intended to be consumed, before its commercialisation.
[03:44] – Asher shares his story of how he came to understand the benefits of fresh coffee; he takes us through the 1st wave of coffee which introduced instant coffee and mass production, the 2nd wave which saw the rise of Starbucks coffee and espresso machines, through to the today’s 3rd wave where micro-roasting and small coffee shops offered more variety. But still, nobody was talking about when the coffee was roasted.
[07:49] – Asher explains how he was constantly working on improving his coffee experience and learning how to be a better barista with mixed results, until a gift of freshly roasted coffee from a friend, changed everything.
[12:09] – While coffee is the most used psychoactive drug in the world, it stimulates our mind and it has been used for hundreds of years for its effects; monks have been using coffee in their ceremonies and the Ethiopian coffee ceremony has been a longstanding tradition in Ethiopian culture. In fact, Ethiopia is often credited of having the best coffee in the world because of their process of roasting, grinding, and brewing coffee in succession. We are too focused on the sourcing of beans and the brewing process but no one is talking about the most important element, which is the time of roasting.
[14:46] – Asher explains how it is not in the coffee industry’s interests to educate people about the importance of the timing of roasting as they are focused on increasing their profits through marketing and packaging. Packaged roasted beans sitting on a shelf for weeks/months lose many of the substances that affect the brain and body in positive ways. It is not just the taste that is affected.
[16:44] – The main body in the US for the coffee industry is the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Asher explains how the SCAA protocols for making the best coffee involve resting and degassing of coffee to release the CO2 and why this doesn’t make a great deal of sense. Coffee losses most of the CO2 along with other compounds within a week after roasting (40% is gone in 24-hours), leaving it porous and open for oxidation.
[19:31] – Asher believes that by drinking the coffee immediately after it’s prepared from a freshly roasted bean which is alive and has the most active chemicals, he receives the most benefit. He explains there is a lot of misinformation about degassing out there and how the advice has changed over the years.
[22:29] – What is coffee cupping? Big companies try coffee from coffee farms when selecting their beans. What’s interesting is they will only try coffee 8-24 hours after roasting, nothing over 24 hours. What is the truth about resting coffee then? Asher explains how he decided to test this himself – with the help of his sommelier friends – and recommends other people do their own testing also and try it themselves rather than just accept what their told.
[26:30] – By providing people with green beans they have the power to figure out their own preferences and customise their coffee according to their own personal taste.
[29:09] – What do we mean by maturing the green bean? Once coffee beans have been roasted it’s best to consume them right away to avoid deterioration as the roasted bean will turn stale, oxidise and all the good chemicals will be lost over time. But green beans are a different story. Asher explains how he learned about aging green beans from a coffee shop owner of Aroma Coffee, Bandung, Indonesia (Aroma has been around since the early 1900’s). He also learned that there appears to be benefits to aging the green coffee bean such as acidity levels and caffeine levels decrease, but more studies need to be done on this.
[35:04] – We could potentially be looking at coffee in similar ways we look at wine by thinking about bean origins, vintage and level of roasting.
[36:56] – Asher recommends joining Facebook home roasters group, where people with years of experience are sharing what they’ve learned over the years. These types of groups are packed with passionate people and loads of information.
[39:04] – How easy is it to make your own fresh coffee at home? Traditionally, home roasters have used different home appliances to roast their own coffee beans. After developing a more affordable commercial drum roaster for cafes, Asher (with his partner) decided to develop a product for people to use at home. Their Power Roaster provides an even roast in a short amount of time, it’s easy to use and it’s affordable (it actually saves you money in long-run). After a successful Kickstarter campaign, they are now starting their first production run.
[48:18] – By roasting and brewing coffee this way you are creating a daily ritual and controlling the process all the way from the raw coffee bean to the final brew in the cup. Asher explains how all the senses are engaged in an exciting way, from the initial aroma created when grinding the freshly roasted coffee beans, to the taste. The chemicals in the freshly roasted coffee have a powerful effect on the brain.
[52:23] – Having previously been a decaf drinker due to the jittery feeling he experienced from regular coffee, Asher explains why he now drinks a 100% Arabica coffee only. While it is harder to grow and more expensive it has been prized for centuries for its quality. Robusta coffee has twice the caffeine and is used by the big coffee companies because it’s cheap and used as a filler. Asher explains some tricks baristas use and why Robusta blends are used.
[57:01] – Asher explains why he doesn’t drink coffee throughout the day and why he finds he drinks less coffee when he uses freshly roasted better quality beans. Low quality beans have only caffeine left in them which can have the opposite effect of putting people to sleep after a certain point.
[59:15] – Studies coming out about benefits/risks of coffee never talk about this aspect. How does the freshness and type of coffee affect the results? Asher explains why he doesn’t believe these types of studies (many funded by coffee companies) and how he is planning to do his own studies.
[1:01:27] – How can people source their own green coffee beans? There are a few companies online in the US where people can source their beans from, including sweetmarias.com or burmancoffee.com both of whom sell smaller quantities. It is easy to also buy from green coffee beans from Amazon. People can also store their green beans as they tend to get better with age. At around $5-10 a pound its good to keep in mind green beans will lose weight during the roasting process but gain volume. A pound of green bean results in about 12 ounces of roasted coffee.
[1:04:52] – We wrap up the first part of this interview here but we will continue our conversation with Asher next week so tune in for part two then.
Until then, to find out more about the home roaster visit Powerroaster.com for updates on latest models. On the website, you can also find more information on green coffee, grinders, and brewers.
You can also visit Coffeetruther.com to find all Asher’s videos from Coffee University, his YouTube channel, as well as his other videos where he debunks myths and other claims made by the coffee industry. Here you will also be able to find links to his new book called Coffee – The Fourth Wave: A fresh roasting revolution which will be available to buy in 4 to 6 week and will be offered at 40% discount through the site.