What Makes a Good Coffee Roaster?
What comes to mind when you think about the term coffee roaster? Do you think about the machinery or the person behind it? Whatever you first think of, you can be sure that they’re both incredibly important for when you want quality from coffee roasters in London. Finding a great coffee roaster can be a daunting task when sifting through the hundreds of results available to consumers. Whether you’re looking to supply your workplace, coffee shop or home you should find good coffee roasters. This is especially important for coffee shops, you don’t just need the best equipment and trained staff but also the best beans, They’ll allow you to experience the best classic coffee tastes as well as some of their own speciality roasts. Don’t play it safe and buy a bag of Starbucks branded ground coffee from Tesco, get something with some real taste.
What is Coffee Roasting
So you want to invest in wholesale coffee for your business. Before you go out and find a coffee roaster in London, you should probably understand what it is and the process behind it. Coffee roasting is the process of turning green coffee beans into usable coffee products. The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavour of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste.
The process consists essentially of sorting, roasting, cooling, and packaging. However, the art of roasting is in how and when heat is applied. It’s possible to slam on the heat full blast and not consider how the roast is progressing. But, there is a lot happening and the reactions are sensitive. With careful monitoring, we can learn to tease out the flavours we love in coffee and avoid those we don’t.
Single Origin Coffee Roasting
Most coffee is roasted commercially on a large scale, but small-scale commercial roasting has grown significantly. This allows you to get a more consistent and quality taste. There has been a rise in Single-origin coffee roasts. These are roasts where the beans are grown within a single specific geographic location. This can be hyper-local, where the beans are all from the same small farm or on a slightly larger scale with a few farms producing the beans all in the same area.
They are on the rise as it is argued they can provide you consistently with a specific taste that you enjoy. They allow smaller independent coffee shops to get an edge over bigger chain coffee shops, as they usually don’t spend that extra to get the quality a single-origin roasted bean can bring. Choosing to go with these unique blends from London coffee roasters can really set you apart from the competition.
What a Coffee Roaster Does
Now you know what it is, you need to know what both a coffee roaster does on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve ever seen a coffee roaster in action, you know that it’s not a tame, simple process. It’s complex, requires precise equipment, and includes – for the best of them – a lot of science. Coffee roasters are craftsmen and scientists who want to do right by their farmers, customers, and coffee.
As mentioned before, the origin of the beans is incredibly important. These local coffee roasters will be in charge of finding where these beans are, by making and maintaining relationships with farms in the areas they desire. This can be done through catalogues but it usually involves them going to the farms abroad to create these opportunities. The quality in coffee really reflects well on the roasters who take the time to do this. It allows better quality control as well as a better deal for the farmers.
Here are the most obvious thing roasters do: they apply heat to coffee beans. It isn’t quite as simple as just throwing in a load of green beans. Due to coffee only having 2-3 weeks of peak freshness and storage being a challenge, the roasting has to planned so the perfect amount of beans is roasted every time to avoid wastage.
The Science of Roasting
A good roaster should be part coffee connoisseur part mad-scientist. There’s a real delicate scientific process to the roasting of coffee beans as well as the creative element. There are hundreds of chemical reactions that take places within the 10 or 15 minutes it takes to roast a batch of coffee, and controlling these can be quite difficult. Small changes in temperature, humidity, airflow, and time can make dramatic changes to the final cup. Roasters have to be very precise with their roasting routine and environment.
This means roasters will need to jot down all the temperatures and other variables while going along, creating a series of small slightly different batches to test. They’ll then wait 12-24 hours and start to do some real taste testing. This is done through cupping, where rigorous notes are taken on the flavour of the coffee. You need to have a developed palate for this, as some might not be able to distinguish the different flavours at play. We at 80 Stone regularly hold some coffee tasting sessions, to try and help others develop their palate and share our expertise.
What Makes a Good Coffee Roaster
So from what we’ve been talking about so far, we can establish some key areas for coffee roasters to excel in. The quality of the beans, the machinery they use, the process they use and more. It mostly boils down however to the roaster themselves. The best coffee roasters allow their personality to flow into their own blends. Meeting your roaster and getting to know them then is highly recommended.
You can still boil down if a coffee roaster is good or not to a series of questions, some of which are subjective to yourself.
- Do they use good beans?
- Are they good at scouting out these beans and developing those relationships with farms?
- Do they use single origin beans?
- Are they skilled and take a scientific approach to coffee roasting?
- Do they have a developed palate to properly carry out cupping sessions?
If you’re looking for great coffee roasters in London then feel free to get in touch with us at 80 Stone. We have a series of signature blends, devised from hours of our own testing sessions with the roaster and cupping sessions. We make sure both our drinkers and the farmers we source from gets the best. We also can help you develop the skills needed to carry out some of these processes, we love to share our knowledge and passion.
Speciality Coffee Suppliers