Hump Day Blend - a Coffee for Wednesdays
You're going to get a lot of coffee fans looking for a big and bold roast if you're a Texas coffee roaster.
Why? Because Texans go big on everything, right? That includes coffee, and our Hump Day Blend has been a best seller at farmers markets around the DFW area because of this.
We recognized the need for a darker roast when we started getting feedback on our coffee roasting early on in the process. Our first roast, "Weekend Roast", was aiming to capture the bright, unique flavors passed on to us by a close friend who introduced us to roasting. Then, we realized we needed a familiar, high quality "everyday" roast that everyone could enjoy, so we introduced the "Weekday Roast".
But, something was obviously missing. We didn't have anything bold and deep for fans of darker, longer-roasted coffees.
We aren't ashamed to admit that Starbucks' Christmas Blend/Holiday Blend was the inspiration for the Hump Day Blend. My parents were actually the real inspiration: for years before we got into coffee roasting, we would look forward to buying each other coffee as gifts, and my stepmom enjoyed getting the limited-edition blend to serve and enjoy throughout the holidays. When I started roasting, I took my first year as a challenge to mimic something that would have the same flavor profile but would stand out even better.
So, Hump Day Blend was born!
Ironically, I didn't even research what beans actually went into the Starbucks' Holiday Blend before I started creating this one. I had a decent knowledge of what flavors I wanted and what beans could get there, especially with a darker roast that would retain those flavors without tasting too burnt. I also wanted something that would do well in drip coffee makers so it could appeal to the most people possible (and especially for my parents, who drink coffee as much as we do in Coppell!). I settled on testing with Colombian and Guatemalan beans, and later noticed that these same beans are what Starbucks uses. Interesting!
The hard part was getting the actual roast level down right. If you've talked to me at the farmers market, you may have heard some stories about how many beans have become charcoal during the experimentation period, or how difficult it is to get this roast just right. That's because if you go just lighter, you don't get the right bold flavors, and if you go too long... well, then the beans get sent to the compost bin.
Luckily, Hump Day Blend strikes right in the middle if I replicate the same system every time, which is generally about 8 lbs. 6 oz. in the roaster through a specified time after second crack. The result is a smooth, bold cup that packs a punch yet is enjoyable to drink.
The only thing I might do differently in the future is introduce a Hump Day Blend 2.0, which would incorporate some Sumatran beans that are known for being able to produce balanced flavors at darker roast levels. If you're ever interested, this dark roasting method was pioneered in the United States by Alfred Peet, who is credited for starting the specialty coffee interest in our country. Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks, describes Peet teaching him to use Sumatran beans in his book, "Pour Your Heart into It".
We like to say that it's also nice to break up the Weekday with a little Hump Day. My wife was actually the one to suggest this name, keeping with the "calendar" theme we've got going on. For the most part, we do stick to our method of drinking the coffee as intended:
- Weekday Roast on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
- Hump Day Blend on Wednesday
- Weekend Roast on Saturdays and Sundays
But, when you own a coffee roastery, you tend to drink whatever is left over that doesn't go into the bags for our customers. Or, you drink whatever bean you're obsessed with at the moment, which is, of course, our "Payday Roast".