It's still early days in my roasting career...
but its safe to say I'm addicted. Yes it can be repetitive, frustrating, and downright intimidating. The first time I stood beside the Diedrich all by myself I felt a sense of fear, pride, and determination I haven't felt in years. I've even read a book, which I haven't done since college (graduated in 2009). This goes to show you I've really taken to the roasters life.
I plan on updating my thoughts, ideas, and observations while roasting fairly regularly. As this is the first installment and I'm just getting warmed up (pun intended) I'll just drop a few of the general ideas and developments I've come across thus far in my roasting, reading, and research.
It's Not Rocket Science, But It Is Science -
In the past the coffee roaster was such a mystery. All sorts of gauges, levers, and sometimes computer readouts. It looked like the person roasting was prepping the space shuttle for launch. After spending the last month or so roasting I've found that following pre-developed roasting profiles is relatively simple. Airflow, heat, and time are the key variables. The product that comes out is pretty consistent from batch-to-batch. The science comes into play when you start to dig deeper into what is happening inside the roaster itself, like the Maillard reaction, and caramelization. Which I'll get into in more detail in future posts.
There Is Room For Exploration -
From what I understand about coffee roasting, there aren't really any hard rules. I mean, obviously you don't want to burn out your beans, but outside of that its open to trying new techniques. This is what I'm most excited about. Developing my own roasting style as I progress is an exciting proposition. I want to set new standards, develop new profiles, and push myself and Leap Coffee to new levels within the industry. Its going to be hard work, but I'm up for the challenge!
Utilize Your Resources -
Of course I had some formal training with the roaster, hands on, and shadowing. Yet, I did find a lot of value in reading books like Modulating the Flavor Profiles of Coffee which is a quick, and insightful read. I've also found that YouTube has some great resources for roasting coffee, particularly a series called Roaster School. This series has many parts and goes in-depth on each phase of roasting coffee. It's a little dense, but you can always watch it multiple times and take notes. Last but not least, if you have friends who roast take them to dinner and pick their brain.
Until next time, Stay Caffeinated Pony Boy!