Coffee Roasting Q&A
10 April 2019

Coffee Roasting Q&A

Read time: 3 minutes

Author: Mike Steele

Article: Previously in Cafe Life Magazine


I've been roasting with 200 Degrees for 5 years and before that I was working as a Barista for numerous cafes.

  1. How do you select your coffees? (producer relationships etc)

We work closely with a number of different importers who are able to offer us seasonal coffees as well unique coffees such as exclusive microlots or new varitetals. When choosing which coffees to buy we take into account the 'story' behind the bean, the traceability, how different it is to previous coffees we have had but also whether we are able to build a relationship with the importer and the farms that they buy from.


  1. Tell us about the nature of your roasting process, the steps, equipment, people involved and different roasts…

At 200 Degrees we have 3 roasters all of different size; a Toper 15kg, a Toper 30kg and an Ikawa professional sample roaster for those small 50g batches. This allows us to control how we roast and how much of each coffee we roast, we also have 2 full time staff members roasting on these every weekday.

For us the roasting process starts when we receive samples of new coffees that we roast on the Ikawa, to start with we choose a generic roast profile that we know will be successful and a good starting point to analyse the bean.

From there we taste the sample as a group and discuss the profile on how we can improve it and get the best from the coffee before moving over to the larger roasters ready for production.

  1. Any Q-grade level staff?

Not currently, however we are always looking at training opportunities for our staff. Both of our roasters have completed courses and are working through the SCA diploma system.


  1. How is quality and taste maintained in terms of consistency?

We have several parameters that we check every roast for; roast profile, roast colour, weight loss and finally taste. These give us an indication as to whether a roast has been successful, based on the initial roast profiling of the bean.

If one of these are not what they should be further tastings questions are asked about that batch and how it roasted in order to ensure only the best leaves our roastery.


  1. What aspects of the roasting process need special attention for a good result?

All of it! The roast process is not a cut and dry where by every batch roasts exactly the same, due to different variables such as temperature, humidity even the weather plays a part in how a coffee roasts. Therefore a roaster needs to be there monitoring how the roast is progressing to ensure it roasts how they want it to, making tweaks and changes as and when they need to in order to meet quality and consistency expectations.


  1. How long does the process take, and how is the resultant coffee stored/then sold?

A roast takes between 10 – 20 minutes depending on roast level and batch size. After being roasted the coffee is bagged into bags with a one way valve to allow the coffee to degas (where the beans release CO2). The one way valve allows the CO2 to be leave the bag but no Oxygen into the bag meaning the coffee stays fresh.


  1. Tell us a little about the cupping process and ‘taste testing’ coffee…

The cupping process is a way to evaluate a coffee's flavour and aroma. We do this by brewing the coffees in the same way using the same recipe and without any filters that can affect the end result. The coffee is then 'slurped' from a cupping to aerate the coffee releasing its aroma and enhancing the flavour as it coats the whole of your mouth. Scoring and conversations can be had to see how people rate the coffee as well as any particular taste notes experienced.

You can taste Mikes hardwork with in stores, at home or at work.


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