What is a Coffee Roaster?
When most people think about coffee, they think about the beverage brewed with boiling water, and coffee beans which have already been roasted and ground. They think about their morning ritual of sipping their favorite brew to help them take on the day ahead.
Coffee roasters, however, have visions of panoramic views of plantations full of coffee trees. They think about the complex roasting process that transforms the tree’s green bean into the fragrant dark brown coffee bean that we know and love, and that determines the flavor and quality of the finished cup.
Their creativity is sparked by the challenge of roasting carefully sourced coffee beans to perfection. They are, in essence, both the scientists and artists of the coffee world, and that humble green coffee bean is their blank canvas.
What does a Coffee Roaster do?
A coffee roaster transforms the chemical and physical properties of green coffee beans into roasted coffee products.
The roasting process determines the flavor of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste. In effect, the coffee roaster forces moisture out of the bean, causing it to dry and expand. During the process, some of the natural sugars are converted into carbon dioxide while others are caramelized, forming the complex flavors in the coffee. When the process is complete, the green bean transforms into a brown bean that is approximately 18% lighter while being 50 to 100% larger.
When coffee is roasted, gases are formed inside the bean. After roasting, gases – mostly carbon dioxide – start seeping out. When coffee is a few days old, the bulk of the carbon dioxide formed leaves the beans, causing the roasted coffee to begin to lose some of its aromas and flavors.
While roasting coffee is the principal skill of a professional coffee roaster, it’s only one of many responsibilities that come with the job. Coffee roasters will have some part in almost every step of production. So, when we ask the question, ‘What does a coffee roaster do?’ the answer is no doubt longer than most of us think.
This sample job description illustrates the diversity of the role of the coffee roaster.
Using Cropster coffee roasting software:
- Purchase / order green coffee inventory with preferred green bean suppliers
- Operate coffee roasting equipment
- Create and optimize roasting profiles
- Assist with creating new recipes and blends of coffee when required
- Roast and fulfill coffee orders
- De-stone roasted coffee – de-stoning entails running beans through a de-stoning machine to find any potential foreign matter that may have shipped with the green coffee; this could be small stones, chips of concrete, small pieces of the coffee plant, twigs, etc.
- Assist with bagging, labeling, and sealing roasted coffee
- Sample roasting and cupping new coffees – when coffee roasters do a coffee cupping, also known as a tasting, they take rigorous notes, carefully assessing the flavors, acidity, sweetness, bitterness, aftertaste, body, and aroma
- Assist with delivering coffee orders
- Assist with placing and receiving product orders
- Use Cropster software for roasting, scheduling, and order management
- Organize and maintain the roaster
- Organize and maintain the green bean stock
- Clean, protect, and maintain all equipment
Specific responsibilities will vary from company to company. Midsize to larger coffee roasting businesses will have one or more assistant roasters working alongside an experienced lead or head roaster.
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What is the workplace of a Coffee Roaster like?
Coffee roasters generally work in a relaxed office environment. They often spend their days in solitude, tending noisy and heat-generating roasting machinery. The wearing of personal protective gear may be required.
In larger manufacturing facilities, roasters must keep up with production demands and timelines while maintaining quality. These larger roasting operations may offer both full-time and part-time positions as well as a variety of shifts, including early mornings and weekends.
The job typically involves standing and walking for long periods of time, considerable climbing and bending, and lifting up to 50 pounds on a regular basis.
The most common employers of coffee roasters are corporate coffee chains and large coffee brands. In addition, opportunities exist with boutique coffee companies, which specialize in interesting and exclusive blends for high-end, niche customers such as restaurants, hotels, and private clients.
Coffee Roasters are also known as:
Coffee Bean Roaster