by Mark, Wholesale Operations Manager and Coffee Roaster at Unorthodox Roasters
I will start off by admitting maybe a controversial question! Personally, having tried for a while to make the leap into coffee roasting, I can tell you the struggle is real! Coffee is a massive industry that engulfs most of the globe whether you are a roaster, green buyer, barista, farmer or just a home warrior, coffee reaches us all. Despite this I and I’m sure many others with a passion for coffee can find it increasingly difficult to push their way into the world of roasting. That being said, DO NOT GIVE UP!
However, I’m not here to talk about the journey into coffee roasting. I feel I have a duty to tell you just whether or not it’s worth it!
Before the roaster can even be fired up there is a crucial part of the process which is at the end of the day your responsibility, weighing and sorting green coffee. That’s right! Every single gram of coffee that is roasted at Unorthodox Roasters is weighed and sorted by hand! That’s 1.3 tonnes a month so as you can imagine a little time consuming. Once that is done your 7–8-hour slog in front of the roaster can commence. Standing minute after minute, hour after hour in front of a 200-degree cast iron oven. Legs aching, sweating, back killing you! Oh, did I mention keeping the roaster going the entire time will improve the roasting! So, lunch will be served on the go. This is the physical tole it takes. There is also the mental strain. Holding your concentration, the entire time! As a few seconds too long can ruin an entire roast. The sheer responsibility of knowing the main product of the business hinges on your complete focus. Not to mention the constant threat of the chaff catching fire (it happens!).
You must be sitting thinking why would anyone put themselves through that or maybe I’d kill for an opportunity to stand and cook myself for 8 hours. Whatever you’re thinking I’m merely here to give you my experience, which ultimately is a great one!
Despite all I have told you I wouldn’t change it for the world. The awesome people I get to work with everyday. Being an integral part of creating something thousands of people enjoy every week not to mention doing my best to do justice to the beans that have been farmed from all over the globe, I consider it an honour to be a small cog in the wheel that is producing a cup of coffee.
In summary, is roasting all it’s cracked up to be? Damn right it is!