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

Day after Day Job

Our Weekly Series on Homeroasters Turning Pro
Many home roasting enthusiasts dream of starting their own roasting businesses. I’ve always seen homegrown start-up businesses such as these in the same light as someone putting together a band and recording and touring, or making a public access TV show (from the pre-YouTube age) and getting it on the air. Not that it’s necessarily an art project or even a labor of love, but it’s a grand idea. I kneel at the altar of the Grand Idea.
Bringing something into existence, however, is no small feat, especially in a commercial context, because that something has to have a reason why. Why are you starting a new roasting business? You are essentially taking something that’s a hobby, something that you do to relax or engage in a particular way, and turning it into a job. How will professionalizing this activity affect your relationship with it? How do you make sure that in the process of creating a business around this activity you actually still enjoy the activity itself?
There is a good chance that you will find, as I have, that a job in coffee is incredibly rewarding. It is a profession that provides endless possibilities for deeper engagement. It could happen! But there are a  few other questions to be asked if you’re looking to start your own roasting business, and I’ll address those questions in this series of articles, Day After Day Job. The first question is: Are you good enough?

Are You Good Enough?
I’m gonna say the words “good” and “great” a lot. We’re seemingly in the middle of a coffee roasting boom. All across the country, and globally as well, small roasters are popping up left and right. Great coffees and roasting equipment are all readily available. Even in the smallest cities throughout Middle America it seems as though there is already an established marketplace where these small businesses can and do thrive. You also want to do this. You’ve been roasting your own coffee for some time and have even roasted some for gifts and possibly sold some at the office. That office job that you can’t wait to get away from and do something on your own.

You love to roast coffee; it’s fantastic and fun and an engaging hobby that allows you to experiment and push yourself to do better. You’ve maybe gotten some positive feedback from the roasts that you’ve shared with others. Everyone tells you how good it is. You think it’s pretty good too. As good as anything else that’s out there? Is the coffee you roast good enough to convince people who aren’t friends, family, or coworkers that it is in fact “good?” This is the question you’ll have to answer if you’re going to turn your hobby into a day job.

 

-Christopher Schooley

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

 

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