Becoming a Roaster: using my roasty senses
For the past month and a half I have been training to be a roaster at our Olympia roastery. The process has been indepth, informative, exhausting and elating. Trying to jam-pack every day with as much cupping, sample roasting, tasting, reading as possible while trying to wrap my head around the ideas and theories of roasting, has been mind blowing.
I started out in coffee 12 years ago and I have been serving coffee as a barista off and on since then. I have come from not knowing anything about coffee at all to being able to train new hires for Batdorf & Bronson, as the Retail Trainer.
Before starting in the Roaster Apprentice position,I thought that I knew alot of coffee, but being able to pull a decent shot of espresso and brew a half-way decent pour-over coffee are just the tip of the iceberg.
I have been shadowing the other roasters, Brian, Bob and Rebecca for the past few weeks and now I am seeing my roasts from start to finish. The first day that I cupped the coffees that I had roasted from start to finish, I was pleasantly surprised to not find badly roasted coffee on the table. The Sumatra Lake Tawar stuck out as phenomenal and if you havent tried it, I would highly recommend it. Lovely notes of crisp celery, cucumber and green bell pepper with a slight smokey tobacco-like finish.
My favorite coffees to roast so far are the New crop of Costa Rica El Indio that we recieved into the warehouse last friday, and the Sumatra Mandheling, because it needs a “little romancing”, in the words of one of my trainers, Rebecca Carter. But really, every coffee that we have in our warehouse is fun to roast. And every roast is a little victory for myself as I get closer and closer to being on my own at the roasting podium.