A fun question: “what do you do day-to-day at work?”
Mostly, I roast a lot of coffee. Given the amount of time it takes to properly cycle up and down the roaster at the beginning and end of the day, I opt to do four loonnnggg days of production. Hence you always see the Monday through Thursday date spread on our bags.
Depending on the day, I will usually roast about 20 to 25 batches. For espresso, I focus on longer, more gentle roasts to ensure lower acidity and higher solubility. While for filter, short and punchy will typically bring the balance and sweetness that I seek to really showcase origin. These approaches translate to 13 to 14 minute espresso roasts and filter roasts that usually last 11 to 12 minutes. Batch size is the crucial counterpoint to time. For proper development, I run espresso at 65% capacity and filter at 60% capacity on my beloved 15 kilo Joper.
One of the foundations of my roast philosophy, is consistent batch-to-batch protocols. The roaster will carry forward kinetic energy. Accordingly, I cycle down to reach a consistent and precise point before readying the next charge. This ends up adding a pretty substantial amount of time to my roasting day but means I can perfectly replicate a taste profile.
The slim remainder of time I have left in a week, I spend sourcing green and researching the science of roasting. My formal education is very handy in our green purchasing. I like to know all of the details of a farm or cooperative to make sure it aligns to our progressive environmental and social mandates. Moreover, I need to guarantee that farmers are being paid premiums for their labour. The research side is very fun because ‘third wave’ or ‘modern coffee’ is still so historically new. While there is very little writing on it specifically, I love to page through the annals of chemistry and food science journals. They inspire experimentation, help problem solve tricky profiles, and unlock little bits of the mystery.
tl;dr: I spend my days roasting large quantities of coffee. It’s a weird, wonderful job.
(Image from Jean-Luc Godard’s Tout va Bien )