I’ve been roasting coffee for over 10 years. Yeah, a decade. Near 40 hrs/week (if not above) standing next to a coffee roaster for a quarter of my life. Patiently. Proactively. With focus. In anticipation. Fulfilled.
How did this happen? When did it happen? Well, it was intentional so I guess those are silly questions to pose. A better question, and what I’m building up to, is this: would I be a Coffee Roaster if I hadn’t developed my own coffee aesthetic? You know, a Coffee Roaster rather than someone who roasts coffee.
The first few years (yeah, years) of roasting coffee was learning. What do I like about coffee? What coffee-producing origins am I most drawn to? Do bean variety and processing really make an impact? Really? (they do and they don’t) What happens when I adjust the burners here or the airflow there? Will my decisions result in coffee that I like to drink? I eventually found comfort and I’m happy with my coffee aesthetic.
Put simply, I accept that coffee is a roasted product. I don’t try to hide the roast yet I don’t want to feature the roast. I choose to roast for balance and everyday drinkability. I also accept that, by nature, coffee is bitter. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be pleasant; just that it’s disposition is a bitter one. My goal (through bean selection, roasting, and brewing) is to balance the bitterness with sweetness, acidity, complexity, floral aromatics, body. To put the bitterness into context.
It’s a moving target; an ever-evolving dance; a never-ending story; a life’s work. The life of a Coffee Roaster.