Tunnel City Coffee roasts for a better cup in the northern Berkshires

 Tunnel City Coffee roasts all its specialty coffee in small batches at its Norad Mill roastery in North Adams, MA. 

Tunnel City Coffee roasts all its specialty coffee in small batches at its Norad Mill roastery in North Adams, MA. 

Those who frequent Tunnel City Coffee's cafes in the northern Berkshires might know a little about the work that goes into creating the best experience for our customers, but it's more involved than one might think. From roasting to cupping to brewing, we follow a rigorous process of quality control not unlike one at an average testing facility or science lab. Our roastery at the Norad Mill in North Adams, MA, is our site for trying out new roasting techniques and coffee cuppings to taste test each roasting variation. 

It’s a game of taking creative risks to extract every potential flavor in a new coffee. 

This spring, Tunnel City began offering high-scoring microlots from coffee producing regions around the world, creating even more room for experimentation. Most recently roasted in its vintage Diedrich oven was a Costa Rican microlot coffee produced by the Aguilera Brothers family operation at Finca Toño in Los Robles de Naranjo. This limited-run coffee with sweet fruit and caramel notes is the result of bold and precise testing at the roastery, playing with heat and timing to create the perfect storm for this particular bean. 

 Roasters at Tunnel City Coffee test each new roasted coffee for balance and flavor using a process known as "cupping."

Roasters at Tunnel City Coffee test each new roasted coffee for balance and flavor using a process known as "cupping."

At least 8 hours later but not more than 24, our roasters test for flavor and balance through a rather sophisticated process known as cupping. This involves weighing out the appropriate amount, grinding the coffee to its optimal coarseness with a burr grinder, and using a pouring kettle to add the right volume of just-boiled fresh water. 

A serious cupper must be well-rested for a cupping and with taste-buds unaffected by powerful flavors like onions or hot spices. This interferes with the impression the coffee will make on the cupper and ultimately, the customer. 

The idea of exceptional specialty coffee is that significant time and effort goes into producing something one of a kind, but the truth is that the work continues even after the coffee is bagged for delivery to roasteries like Tunnel City Coffee. It’s the passing of a torch from those who produce to those who roast, and we can’t think of a more beautiful relationship.