Latest Posts

  1. A Look at  Flores Manu Lalu as Espresso

    A Look at Flores Manu Lalu as Espresso

    Wet process Flores makes fantastic single origin espresso. Have a look at our cupping notes.

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  2. Behmor Espresso Roast Profile: Peru FTO Don Rigoberto

    Behmor Espresso Roast Profile: Peru FTO Don Rigoberto

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  3. Sumatra: Arabica Varieties in Aceh

    Sumatra: Arabica Varieties in Aceh

    This is a list of coffee varieties / cultivars found in Aceh and more broadly in Sumatra, Indonesia

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  4. Sumatra: Stories About Aceh, With Pictures

    Sumatra: Stories About Aceh, With Pictures

    A Sumatra travelogue in photographs, focused on Aceh area around Lake Tawar and Takengon town

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  5. Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Sumatra: Some Things I Have Learned About Aceh, Perhaps.

    Thoughts on Acehnese coffee and the trading system here, written from Banda Aceh, October 2019.

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  6. Organic Certification and Green Coffee

    Organic Certification and Green Coffee

    An inside look at Fair Trade and Organic Certifications

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  7. Not Another Fruit Cake! (and what to do about holiday blending?)

    Not Another Fruit Cake! (and what to do about holiday blending?)

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  8. Sumatran Coffee: Grading and Appearance

    Sumatran Coffee: Grading and Appearance

    The appearance of green coffee from Indonesia can be jarring, especially if you’re used to washed beans from Africa or Central America. Why, many ask, does a Grade 1 Sumatra lack uniformity of color and/or bean size?

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  9. The Return of Ethiopiques

    The Return of Ethiopiques

    Along with the slew of incoming fresh Ethiopian coffee comes the return of our always popular Ethiopiques blend.

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  10. Behmor Roast Profile: Burundi Kayanza Gahahe

    Behmor Roast Profile: Burundi Kayanza Gahahe

    Taking the "light and bright" approach to roasting Burundi Gahahe on the Behmor 1600+

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  11. Quick Guide to our Rwanda and Burundi Coffee Sale!

    Quick Guide to our Rwanda and Burundi Coffee Sale!

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  12. Roasting Different Batch Sizes of Burundi on the Behmor 1600+

    Roasting Different Batch Sizes of Burundi on the Behmor 1600+

    What happens when you roast a coffee to the same roast level but at different rates of development?

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Day after Day Job, Part 4

Day after Day Job, Part 4

Part 4 Being an Engaged Roaster (without Marrying Your Job)  

Oct. 30, 2015

Knowing that what coffees and roasts perform best in a press pot or drip brewer with a blade grinder, and asking your whole bean customers what they’re using at home, will go a long, long way in winning your customers’ confidence. As a roaster, you definitely want to be selling whole bean coffee for home brewing in addition to brewing and selling by the cup. This is where your best margins are. As I said earlier, there are roasters popping up left and right and there are fewer opportunities for wholesale out there .

In terms of further education, there are a number of quality classes, books, and articles out there. I firmly believe that talking with other roasters, sharing experiences, and learning from others has tremendous value. But if you were to do one thing on your own, there is an exercise that will make an incredible difference in your roasting, and teach you how to taste what’s going on in the roast. It’s as easy as this:

  • Step one:  Do two roasts of the same coffee, and make  a simple but dramatic enough adjustment in one of the roasts
  • Step two: Taste the difference. Note what difference that particular adjustment made in the profile.

This is not meant to be a “right and wrong” test, but rather a test that gives you two markers by which to make some judgment and direction towards preference. It might be that you prefer neither of the two markers, but somewhere in between or even beyond the markers. But now you have a reference, and reference is knowledge, and knowledge helps you get better. The other side of this exercise is that you’ve now made 2 distinct products with the same raw material. Not only does this exercise give you a better understanding of roasting, but also it gives you a new way to engage with your customers.

Here’s the thing. Roasting commercially does not have to take the joy out of roasting, but it so easily can. Do you want to start your business because you think you’re good enough to be pro, or is it because you see a real opportunity for a business in your area doing something that captivates you?  There are so many pressures on a business to be some other than what your idea of good might be. How are you going to stand up to those pressures, and what kind of compromises are you going to have to face or make? The definition of what good means to you should not be some trendy brewing device, roast style, or way to talk about coffee. Good should be defined by what keeps you engaged and passionate about roasting coffee.

 -Christopher Schooley

Christopher Schooley is a coffee roaster who works for Sweet Maria’s and our CoffeeShrub project, and has served as the chair of the Roasters Guild Executive Council and has worked for the SCAA.

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