Roasting Coffee Locally in a Multi-Connected World

coffee-glass
coffee getaway

Spent some time reading about soil specifications, and then about where the chocolate tones come from in coffee – and here I am, rising a topic that has no connection with any of that 🙂

Rising a topic with no response.

I have more and more clients coming to the coffee shop, searching for a locally roasted coffee. And although the coffee shop where I am training baristas is working succesfully with one of the biggest Spanish Specialty Coffee Roasters, and I know the beans, and I have my speach ready, to tell them that beans are coming here every week, freshly roasted, that guys are experienced, etc. – I cannot help myself noticing that people are expecting to find a local roaster.

And I would be expecting to find a local roaster myself.

Somebody with a fresh view, doing things differently, qualified, open-minded, local – in other words, I would have liked to get to know the country, the city, by the way they roast coffee.

Portuguese Roasting scene is just emerging, they are not so many roasters at the moment. The ones who exist either belong to Second Wave, and trying not to risk, they roast pretty dark, to please the Portuguese taste; or those ones who just start exploring the roasting (although they started some time ago already, but still haven’t found the profiles that will lead to the developed taste).

So, what is common to find here in terms of coffee roasting is this: foreigh roasters (Denmark, Spain, Germany), that brought with them their vision of what specialty is, in their countries, second wave roasters, and local underdeveloped roasts.

I still have it pending to try one roaster, but according to the color of the beans that I saw, it will taste pretty dark, no matter which origin it will be. But it is just me guessing. I will try to taste the coffee this week, to have a complete picture.

But there is a demand.  And I am pretty sure next months gonna be interesting. It is enough to have 2-3 coffee professionals entering the scene for it to bloom, one thing attracts the other, competition starts. Until now things are going pretty calmly.

So. My question here is this one. There is a demand for the local roast. It becomes almost unpolite to say “This coffee is not from here” (no matter how good the coffee is).

But.

Who should roast? The coffee shop itself? The roastery, for various coffee shops? What is the next step?

I personally love roasting, it was my dream job since I entered the coffee world, and it still is. But there is lots of mistery and glamour around it. Or the belief that it is a job for a man. Which has nothing to do with the reality. Roasting attracts because of how cool it looks, but after choosing a buying the machine, and filling your instagram feed with the cool selfies with it, comes the routine.

And the routine of roasting is a pretty lonely one.

It is many hours one on one with the machine, in the noisy room, looking at the graphs building up in the real time, you there, documenting all the possible varieties and your actions, analyzing the profile. You being 100% alert, 100% concentrated, ready to act fast and precise.

Roasting is lots of planning, lots of analyzing the graphs. Roasting means cupping. But not cupping for fun, slurping and saying “Mmmm, nice”, and hanging out with the dudes while doing that – nah. It is actually funny for me when people now in specialty say “I am a cupper” like it is something special. You fuckin should be a cupper, if you are in specialty! And it is not an extra, that you can be bragging about – it is a must. A skill.

So roasting is lots of cupping – precise quality cupping, using the form, writing down the notes, the numbers –  everything that could help you to connect the taste to the graph.

This is roasting. Connecting the taste to the graph. Knowing how to make your coffee taste like you imagine it. Finding good beans that suit your interests (or better saying knowing the buys from the coffee importers who do that job better than you).

Roasting is lots of packaging. Putting the stickers on. Roasting is measuring everything you can, and then analyzing it.

Have I told you already that’s my favourite side in coffee? XD Not very glamorous though.

I think it is curious that people who understand in coffee are looking for the local roasters when they travel. I am not sure if it is connected with looking for the freshest beans, probably it is. But I guess it is more about looking for somebody who is as crazy about coffee as you are. Something that you have in common.

It is not about the beans itself, not the goods, not the drinks, not the fancy equipment – it is that famous search for perfection, magical combination of love, dedication and risk. In this case, perfection in the cup.

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