What is the role of the roaster?
One of the most immediate answers is, “The roaster’s job is to roast raw coffee.”
And that answer is right! But isn’t his role broader?
In my opinion, no!
As you know, the coffee supply chain is very long, consisting of dozens of different links. The roaster is the link that binds the plantation to the bartender.
Each step is critical if a quality cup is to be achieved. Even one mistake by one of the actors in the supply chain lowers the quality of the extracted coffee, which cannot be raised in subsequent steps.
In this sense, therefore, the roaster has several responsibilities in chief.
One of these, perhaps one of the most important, is to value the work done by those who intervened earlier along the supply chain and especially that of farmers.
Let me explain: we roasters have to select and purchase raw coffee, so that we can then roast and sell it.
The key word in this case is “select”!
In fact, all coffee is not the same; there are dozens of different variations and thousands of plantations located throughout the tropical belt. As a result, each plant from each plantation develops a different sensory profile.
In addition, plantations have different operational processes. Some may decide to focus more on quantity of grains sold, others more on quality. Exactly as it happens in every industry and in every business.
It should then be remembered that the roaster in most cases does not buy coffee directly from the plantation owners, but from the importer, the crudist, i.e., a figure who takes care to personally visit the plantations and verify the modus operandi and the quality of raw coffee produced, and then propose samples to the roaster to taste and select.
The importer and the roaster must work closely together and in a regime of complete trust. However, the roaster must be able, through courses and various studies, to verify the actual goodness of the coffee tasted and thus be able to choose the best coffee possible.
So far, therefore, we have seen that the roaster has not merely the task of roasting raw beans, but must also have focused and precise olfactory, gustatory, and selective skills if he or she is to deliver a quality cup.
Only now comes the task of toasting.
Roasting coffee is an art, just as it is for the pastry chef in his workshop or a chef in his restaurant.
The most fascinating thing is that there is no one way of roasting, no one roaster, no one result. All of these are variables that indelibly affect the coffee extracted. Not to mention the roaster’s skills and training in the field.
Also, unlike what you might think, the roaster does not create a coffee’s flavor profile from scratch. In fact it is already all encapsulated within the raw beans, and comes from the terroir in which the coffee was grown and the processing methods of the plantation.
The real role of the roaster is therefore, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, to enhance the quality and merits of the raw coffee purchased, choosing the most suitable roasting level, which brings intensity and a wide range of aromas into the cup, enhancing precisely the work of those who come before him.
But it’s not over yet!
The roaster has two other responsibilities:
- Stocking and storing coffee in the correct way
- Training the bartender
Storing coffee is just as important as all the previous steps. Try to think of having a near-perfect coffee in your hands and ruining it because it was not stored well. Perhaps because it was left in contact with oxygen, or because it was made to “sweat” in a warehouse with too high temperatures, or even because you have packaging that is now years old.
The work of years is ruined by small oversights.
The same importance is then given to the last piece: bartender training .
The best baristas know the raw material and the machine they use, consequently they are aware of how to carry out proper espresso extraction.
However, the roaster must be able to convey to the barista all the information necessary to know that particular coffee and thus be able to extract it to its full potential.
Would you like to visit Ernani Coffee Roasting? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on whatsapp at +39 3756879940.