What Makes Charcoal Roasting Expensive?

IT IS IN THE CHARCOAL: THE PRIMARY MATERIAL INVOLVED IN CHARCOAL ROASTING

When it comes to charcoal roasting, there is this unique type of charcoal that is being used. Binchotan simply means charcoal in Japanese. However, this Japanese charcoal sometimes referred to as bincho zumi, is a long-burning, natural substitute to your ordinary charcoal blocks and is one of the highest qualities of charcoal for roasting. 

What Makes Charcoal Roasting Expensive?

This charcoal is flameless but creates concentrated temperature, scorches neatly, produces no odor, and cooks food at a lower temperature than other types of charcoal. This gives the food roasted an aroma that is different from those cooked with ordinary charcoal. This likewise does not have any additives compared to American charcoals, making it very safe to use. This is a little bit more expensive than your ordinary charcoals in the market because of these features. While this charcoal is slightly pricey, it has two to three times extended burning hours than other charcoals. This has been used for many years ago, and in fact, during the Edo period and the Genroku era (1680 to 1709), these charcoals were shipped to Edo. They were valued as high-quality fuel for urban life, and they became so prevalent during the said era.

HOW EACH BINCHOTAN IS PRODUCED TELLS THE PRICE OF CHARCOAL ROASTING

The means and ways to produce this kind of charcoal are also not common. This log-formed charcoal is made from various oak that combines the most delicate features of lump charcoal and briquettes. The temperature of Binchotan is very penetrating that it could actually generate a hole in a metal steel pan like an infrared ray striking the center. The heat is so powerful that roasters would surround the charcoals with sand to maintain the heat and lessen the danger of using it.

The primary charcoal material is Ubamegashi, which is a wood that is sufficiently solid to scrape glass. When charcoals strike each other, they produce an iron sound since this charcoal is covered with a metallic sheen, which hides its wood origin.

This charcoal then is dried and loaded into brick ovens and engaged into four different temperatures, two hundred degrees, four hundred degrees, five hundred fifty degrees, and nine hundred degrees Celsius, for 8 weeks. For the final procedure, producers would speedily add air so that the heat reaches one thousand two hundred degrees Celsius, which carbonizes it and permanently deviates the charcoal's interior structure.

Sumiyaki Tea

THE VARIETY OF BINCHOTAN GIVES YOU AN IDEA HOW MUCH DO THEY COST

There are also wide varieties and different types of Binchotan. For instance, the kishu binchu is an artisanal type of Japanese charcoal popularly used for high-end grilling and culinary uses. These white charcoals are elongated firewood that logically burns longer and so perfect for restaurant grill setups. These are vastly commercialized as it expresses the excellence of the food, the roasting material, and the restaurant. It can produce such heat rapidly, holds the heat so well, and be consistent in a tiny space, particularly with the ceramic grill. This is sold at around 38 dollars for only half a pound!

There is also the aramaru, which burns for three to four hours, compared to the four to five hours for white binchotan. It generates temperatures between 1,652 and 1,832 degrees. This is way cheaper than kishu binchu, which is only sold at around 80 dollars for about 33 pounds.

MORE THAN JUST THE CHARCOAL: LOOK AT THE ROASTER'S SKILLS TOO

Aside from the material used in charcoal roasting, it cannot be said that the roaster skills are a significant factor in qualifying charcoal roasting. The combination of the charcoal and the roaster's skills is perfect for coffee roasting. It creates an overwhelmingly stronger fire than gas burners. Coffee roasters, for instance, love to use binchotan in roasting. It does not generate steam, so the coffee beans are essentially baked. The carbon quality is hard, and it is difficult to ignite. Coffee oaster experts have to control the firepower's temperature at about 500 degrees. They can be raised to 1000 degrees by fanning them with a fan.

Charcoal Roasting

Considering that binchotan is hard to be controlled, skills are required to lessen the heat by putting the right amount of water into the charcoal or flaming it some more by dusting salt over it.

Roasters should also be skilled in using binchotan for coffee roasting. Unlike the standard American charcoals, lighting up binchotan may not be easy. It needs around twenty to twenty-five minutes to lit it up by putting it in a chimney, oven, or open flame. But once lit up, makes a powerful heat that gives you a steady flame. Skilled roaster also consider the weather and moisture level of the day to determine which date to roast the coffee and what time of the day.

Not to mention the expertise in handling this intensively hot charcoal that the heat could actually be felt on the other side of a room. Considering that ignited binchotan could actually melt steel, it is also logical to invest in high-quality roasting equipment when roasting. The coffee roasting equipment are modified to handle specific charcoal characteristics.
This again adds to the expenses to be considered in charcoal roasting. More importantly, the danger of cooking using binchotan, roasters should be skilled given the heat involved while roasting.


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Japanese Coffee Blog is a collection of articles related to the Japanese Coffee and Charcoal Roasted Sumiyaki coffee which is unique roasting only found in Japan. Coffee culture in Japan has evolved isolated from around the world and has much uniqueness not found in the rest of the world.

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Author: Kei Nishida

Kei Nishida

Kei Nishida is a writer, a Japanese Green Tea and Coffee enthusiast, and the founder and CEO of Japanese Green Tea Company and Japanese Coffee Company.

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