Coffee bean journey
Imagine high volcanic mountains covered with coffee trees. The velvety green of the long leaves of arabica coffee spreads over the slopes, and along with the other trees it shimmers and creates a mystical landscape. Densely grown shrubs provide red cherries. They contain the treasure that we love so much. Before the seeds become an infusion, they have to go through a long and complex process. It may be an ordinary drink, but for many of us, it is passion, work, and culture, and more than often a matter of life and death…
Hand-picked coffee cherries go to cooperatives, washing stations where they are carefully selected to separate the perfect fruit from the unripe, overripe or damaged ones. The selected fruit and processing have a huge impact on the sensory profile in the final cup. An entry on this topic will appear in the future, but today I will briefly mention the three of the most known to us, i.e. washed, honey and natural. After fermentation, washing and drying, the coffee beans are separated from the husks and then packed in jute bags or vacuum bags. Before the shipping, the coffee is examined under quality control by a Q-grader, who evaluates it from the sensory and physical side. Next stop is the warehouse and eventually a coffee roastery.
From café to roastery
My journey started in 2006 in Ireland, in the south of Dublin, where I prepared espresso and cappuccino for the first time. The colors and aromas coming out of the coffee machine, combined with people smiling over their cups made me find my way. The work itself was not exactly a dream come true, and from the perspective of all the years, and my latest work, my infusions at that time would have turned out to be - to be honest - nasty. A lot of time has passed since and my love for coffee has turned into a crucial part of my life. Thanks to it I have visited over twenty countries, met thousands of people and experienced some of the most beautiful moments of my life. A few years ago I decided to visit my hometown, where I accidentally met a Norwegian guy named Audun Sorbotten who turned out to be the owner of the Audun Coffee roastery and 2015 World Coffee Roasting Champion.
The experience gained in coffee companies in Europe was extremely valuable, but it was he who made me rediscover coffee. As I studied about roasting techniques, I learned how to analyze each cup and sample them more thoroughly. All the knowledge and information collected over the years have helped me to develop a style, thanks to which I can quickly adapt to a new roasting machine as well as natural raw material and precisely control them. This would not be possible without the several tools accompanying us in the daily production.
Control your quality
Origin, processing, roast style, varietal, water and sensory analysis are some of the many elements that are worth knowing before opening a coffee roastery. There is also a list of devices that should be available in order to obtain valuable data and with them, what is most important, consistency. Measuring devices such as colorimeter, hygrometer, thermometer and scales are necessary to control the quality of your roasts.
If you want to know if you are doing a good job and your product meets the standards, make sure that everything in your roasting room is in the right place. Start by investing in equipment that will allow you to achieve repeatability in production cycles. A coffee grinder, a refractometer and a water filter, without these devices you will not perform sensory analysis of cupping, and this is an essential practice in the quality control process. During a sensory evaluation, you shape the taste of your product and it is extremely important to have full control of each factor.
When your coffee is ready to pack, make sure you have a sealer, labeller or filling machine. Needless to say, ending the production cycle is impossible without these devices. The right purchase will save you a lot of time and effort. This is just as important as buying the right coffee roasting machine.
In the next few entries for this blog, I will introduce you to the world of coffee roasting as seen through the eyes of a barista, a roaster, as well as a titled competitor, trainer and a consultant. I will explain to you what to look for when choosing the right devices and how to properly use them to bring out their full potential step by step.
Audun Coffee - Norwegian Roast - Production Manager / Coffee Roasting Consultant
2019-2020 - World Coffee Roasting - 3rd Place
2019 Polish Coffee Roasting - 1st Place
2018 Polish Coffee Roasting - 3rd Place