The Art of Coffee Roasting

Can the art of Roasting be learned within one year?

  • yes

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • no

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  • can be learned in two weeks

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  • Total voters
    0

BilgeMud

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Jan 18, 2006
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I have visited with several Coffee Roasters in the last few weeks and they were a different breed that took much pride in their workmanship and were willing to refuse selling their beans to local shops if it looked like the barista was going to botch the finished product.

I myself have seriously considered getting in to roasting but from my brief exposure to existing roasters, it takes years of experience to learn the art.

Can someone with moderate intelligence and keen desire learn the art of roasting quickly? My forte is marketing but everyone says that I am very creative and more artistic than logical.

Thank you
 

nzroaster

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Jul 28, 2004
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Qld, Australia
i think you can learn within a year. If you can find an apprenticeship type arrangement where you roast full-time for a year you will learn heaps. Unfortunately this is hard to come by because they know you will just become competition.
Also, I think you need a fair amount of logical proccessing ability to become a great roaster - but could be wrong?
 

topher

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Aug 14, 2003
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I think in a year you can have a great lever puller...as to a competent roaster that can buy, cup, create blends, and roast...I think not. It is a lot to take in...I think after a year one can have a good grasp on things..but I think it takes a lot of trial an error after that first year. but like nzroaster said...I could be wrong. :wink:
 

Chris Kay

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Feb 1, 2005
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You can roast in 2 weeks...
But the longer you roast the more you learn.. the better you are..

I dont think anyone is the complete roaster/ blender etc.

If anyone thinks they are .. theyre kidding themselves.

First of all its a personal preference thing.
Secondly were coming across different coffees that have different 'personal optimum roast levels'.. all needing time and different approaches to see how you really like the roast/ taste

Its an infinite education.
 
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BilgeMud

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Jan 18, 2006
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Thanks for the feedback

Thanks everyone for the feedback.
More than anything, I had generated in my own head ways of marketing a roasting business but was not going to even approach it unless I can learn the craft myself beforehand.
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
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Hartford and New Haven, CT
Yes you can learn roasting quickly if you hire a consultant to bring you along. It is not cheap, but it cuts down the amount of trials and errors that you need to go through if you were to muddle through alone. But ultimately it's your dedication, your willingness to experiment and your taste buds that will make you a good roaster.
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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Think of learning to roast as being similar to learning to play a musical instrument.

Can you learn to play the piano in one year? Probably. Will you be ready for a performance at Orchestra Hall? Probably not; though, as a person that is both intelligent and dedicated to the pursuit of information in your field, I suspect that you can go further than the average "it's just my day job" crowd.

There is a basic set of information that can be learned through training courses, such as the workshops offered through the SCAA Annual Conference that will help you gain the skills necessary to be minimally competent almost immediately -- beyond that, you will need to practice with a skilled roaster to learn alternative ideas and techniques, then choose the combination of technique (perhaps abstracting your own) that will deveop your preferred and signature flavor profile.

There is no magic period of time after which anyone can guarantee that you'll be a great coffee roaster, every person learns at their own pace. With any luck, maybe you are the new Mozart of coffee roasting just waiting to be discovered. (though, he started performing at age 5)

Best of success,

Andrew
 

nzroaster

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Jul 28, 2004
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Qld, Australia
topher said:
I think in a year you can have a great lever puller...as to a competent roaster that can buy, cup, create blends, and roast...I think not. It is a lot to take in...I think after a year one can have a good grasp on things..but I think it takes a lot of trial an error after that first year. but like nzroaster said...I could be wrong. :wink:

I guess it depends what you cover in that year. In my first year I cupped with a green importer as well as learned the fundementals of roasting/blending 40 hours/week. I would not say I was a great roaster after that year (even though I picked up an award at nz's coffee fest.), but add a year of trial and error and lots of playing around and I believe I'm very competent, as do many other roasters who try my coffee.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you can learn the basics the rest can be self-developement.

But its a craft you will really enjoy learning
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,734
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Boca Raton
I started thinking about this question after I posted my last post...I have to be honest in saying I learned more on my own than I did while working under someone...just remember this...cup everything you can...don't worry about mistake made..you can only learn from them...and you can reach the fire depeartment at 911 :wink:
 
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BilgeMud

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Jan 18, 2006
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thanks

Thanks Topher.
I do not think that I am ready to quit my day job to become a roaster just yet although I would love to.

I respect the fact that it takes quite a while to develop the necessary skills to know what the heck I am doing.
 

Chris Kay

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Feb 1, 2005
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There are some basics u can follow that will get you our of jail pretty quickly...

Expanding is then up to you.. your passion and how much time you devote
 
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BilgeMud

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Take the blinkers off

Chris
You are absolutely right
We live in America.
Where there is a will there is a way.

We must take our blinkers (horse racing- Blinders) off and if something is that important to us we must pursue it with full heart and energy and make it happen.

It has been shown time and again that if someone has a deep enough desire to acheive in any endeavor, they can do it with motivation and persistence.

Although I am more interested at the current time to pursue an espresso drive thru business because I see the potential in my future, there is no reason why others can not live up to their coffee roasting aspirations and excel in the long haul.

To be honest, what I have seen so far is a lot of great roasters that have a great product and they excel at their art but have no marketing strategy to sell their product. I believe that the two work together like a Reese's peanut butter cup.

Sometimes we have to step back a few steps from whatever we do and do well and analyze the situation from a third person perspective.

Excuse me if this does not make sense but my last five coffees were Irish coffees. I seldom drink but my wife is my greatest hindrance in pursuing my own dreams.

But I love this forum and really want to pursue a coffee based business during my mid-life crisis.
Bilge Mud
 

cafemakers

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Nov 3, 2004
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Re: Take the blinkers off

BilgeMud said:
We must take our blinkers (horse racing- Blinders) off

How cool - I had no idea that those things were called "blinkers." O.k. so it's a little off-topic but we can learn something new each day! :)
 

lizzy

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Mar 6, 2006
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enjoyed this thread. in the coffee business, and after 6 yrs of owning and running a small shop, have finally realized we need to roast our own. We bought a small roaster, does 1 K and it is an electric one. very well built and consistant results. but I am learning. and I feel the need to learn fast. I am pretty happy with my results after a very short time. a few baked batches, a few burned ones. but basically, it tastes good, the espresso blend is good, nice crema and not too bitter. I'm sure I have tons to learn, but I have found that just standing there watching the clock, smelling the smoke, counting seconds after cracks and watching thru the little window is working. Oh, I have questions, and no one really to ask, so guess this is an intro of sorts....
 
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BilgeMud

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Jan 18, 2006
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New respect for roasters

Since I started this post I have bought just a little rinkiedink 1/2 lb roaster that allows you to create your own profile (just as a hobby) and I have learned one thing... it is difficult to get 1st crack and 2nd crack right just for one profile let alone for every single possible variation and this is only for roasting 1/2 lb at a time. When you talk about larger roasters that can roast batches 100 times that much... that opens up a new can of worms. So without knowing what exactly I am talking about I will say this... I have a newfound respect for roasters!
 

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