Melanie is one of the baristas of Back to Black coffee and she works there the longest. Inge asked Melanie to become a coffee roaster apprentice half a year ago. Since Melanie has a great passion for coffee, it is an outcome for her to get the possibility to extend her coffee skills. She would like to share her new experiences and knowledge with you in this blog.
How it all started
“So, we’re looking for someone who wants to learn how to roast, would you be up for it?” When Inge asked me this question last October, I didn’t have to think about it for a second: of course I wanted that! Coffee roasting always seemed something far away, a little idealized, and now suddenly I got the chance to learn this thrown at me.
Now it’s already half a year later and still Inge and I go on our weekly trip to the roastery to roast some new batches. But, how does that actually work? Like most of you already know, coffee beans get delivered ‘green’ in large jute bags. It’s up to the roaster to roast the beans with love and knowledge.
The roasting process
With the handy program Cropster Roasting Intelligence we can track exactly what we’re performing during the roast. From the moment of charging the beans (the moment you let the beans fall into the roaster) till the dropping of the beans (the moment when you let the beans fall on the grid at the end of the roast). You can influence the roast by raising or lowering the gas percentage, changing the airflow and so much more.
Through specially equipped wires, also known as ‘probes’, everything is maintained in Cropster. Of course, you want the prettiest curves and graphics on this screen. Starting with a slowly decelerating Rate or Rise, to a raising temperature curve in a lovely S-shape. Having a hard time with all these strange words? After all this time I still mix them up sometimes, although it’s getting better.
The biggest challenge in roasting is still creating a pretty Rate or Rise. This is the degree in which the temperature of the coffee bean increases per 30 seconds. And this increase per 30 seconds has to become less during the roast. Yes, that one took me a while as well.
And what about the happiest moment during roasting? That would be the sound of the First Crack, the moment when the beans crack out of their shells and a lovely warming crackling sound fills up the roastery. And the day after roasting? Then we will be cupping, but more about that later on!