How did I get into coffee roasting?

Think about when you graduated from the Folgers and Yuban coffees to what was "fancy" coffees of Starbucks and espresso cafes. I remember I began to appreciate that coffees had their own qualities and character. I so enjoyed the beverage, I wanted to learn more about where the beans were grown, how they were harvested, how they made it across the globe to the local distributors and finally to the coffee shops.

I tried as many different coffees I could. As my education grew about the sourcing of coffee, I had an exceptional cup of espresso from Espresso Vivace in Seatle, WA. I remember that little cup was explosive of flavors. I had not expected a cup of coffee to have so many distinctive and pronounced flavors.

I looked at my love for coffee as if I were a global traveler. Like most when traveling on a new journey, I have appreciated the differences of culture and cuisine from new areas ventured. Around the world, each region has a unique quality to it. Coffees from around the world are the unique and each have their own special character. I have generally liked African coffee most, but I do love all coffees from countries all over the globe. I AM a coffee lover!

However, like the traveler, the more time you spend in an area, the more you get to know the differences in culture, landscape, climate, region and cities. Coffee is the same. African coffees may be generically given tasting notes, but the more you explore, Kenyan coffees' are special on their own right and quite different than Ethiopian. Within Ethiopia, Yirga Cheffe and Harrar coffees will have their own unique flavor profile. Stay even longer in a specific area and you will note special character of coffee grown in farm to farm. More frequently, you will hear people refer to terroir, much like wine, when describing the subtleties of coffee. But unlike wine, coffee, has 2-4 times more flavor characters.

I got into the realm of roasting coffee. I wanted to broaden my availability of different coffees from all over. It was difficult to find coffees from  the specific regions and territories. Instead, you were relegated to a countries' coffee, such as Ethiopia, Sumatra, Costa Rica, etc. Now, with roasting, I was able to try coffees not only from a variety of regions, but even from specific farms. This developed into a problem for me, I suddenly had too many choices! I didn't know where to start. I was trying coffees from all over, enjoying them but not really knowing why. My education of coffee hit a roadblock. My brain was coffee fatigued, and buzzing of caffeine.

I realized, I would benefit from learning at a slower pace and develop my skills. Now, nearly 15 years on, I am prepared to share my experience and my still growing education.



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