There are many steps on the way from coffee bean to coffee. Today, however, we will just be talking about one: the coffee roaster. This blog is meant for anyone who has ever wondered “What does a roaster do?”

Coffee roasting isn’t a straightforward process if you’ve seen one in action. It’s complex, requires precise equipment, is very scientific, and can be quite time-consuming. There aren’t assembly lines. Coffee roasters, scientists and craftsmen, are dedicated to the well-being of their customers, coffee growers, and farmers.

There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes than what we coffee drinkers see.

This article is about getting to know the coffee roasters and how they work so that we can better appreciate them and their coffee.

Coffee comes from around the World

Coffee is not grown in a plant. It’s the seed of a coffee shrub. It is then planted, cared for, harvested, processed, and packaged before it ever reaches the roaster. These first steps are the most important. They take place overseas.

Breeze Valley Coffee Roasters need this coffee to be able to try it. Here are a few of the ways they do that.

Warehouse/ Catalogue sales – This is the most common method of sourcing green coffees. To order green coffees from an Importer, the roaster must only visit a warehouse or order a catalog. While samples might be available at times, only licensed Quality Graders were authorized to grade and price the coffees. This method of sourcing is much more quality-centric now than in the past thanks to the internet.

Direct Trading – Roasters travel to visit farms under this sourcing model. They meet with the farmers, inspect the land and then get to taste the coffee grown in their region. The warehouse or catalog middleman is eliminated and roasters make deals that benefit both the farmer as well as the roaster.

Both methods have their merits and flaws. But, one method is gaining popularity in specialty coffee: direct trading.

Global Relationships and Roasters

Direct trade is about developing relationships with people around the globe. If money was all that mattered to roasters, they would just order coffees with high ratings on the internet. But specialty coffee roasters think larger.

Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea from Chicago is one of the most ethical specialty coffee companies. Their direct deal demands that they buy coffees for at most 25% lower than the Fair Trade price. Intelligentsia’s Fair Trade certification is about fair wages for farms. Companies such as this are doing much more than just making money. They have an impact all around the globe.

Great roasters recognize the poverty in the coffee farms from which they source their coffee. They are determined to help. They listen, they learn and they help the local communities to find the resources and clean water they need.

Direct trade is about cooperation, friendship, making the world better through responsible, sustainable sourcing. The specialty roaster down the road doesn’t just put coffee beans in a hot cup. He works alongside his friends and colleagues around the globe.

Goes In Green, Comes Out Brown

This is the most obvious job of roasters: They heat coffee beans.

Roasting isn’t as simple as putting a handful of coffee beans in the machine. Let them mix for a few minutes, and then you can dump out the roasted coffee. It’s much more.

The roasting cycles must be planned out in advance. Because roasted coffee is only fresh for 2 to 3-weeks, roasters must plan carefully and pay attention to the green coffee supply. If you have ever seen the back warehouse at a roaster, you will know how complex and organized this area of the business is.