Café Loustic | Part 4: Choosing a Roaster
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Part 4: Choosing a Roaster


21 Nov Part 4: Choosing a Roaster

How do you choose a roaster for your espresso bar?

It just comes down to the KISS principle (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”) – do you love the coffee they roast?

Coffee roasting is an art. Good roasters spend all their time cupping coffees (‘cupping’ is a coffee nerd’s word for ‘tasting’), then buying the ones they love, and trying to roast them to perfection. A lot of roasters roast darker for espresso than filter.

As there are 72 coffee producing countries in the world and, of these in my estimation, roughly 15 that are ‘top flight’, this would represent a lot of coffee farms (we’re talking thousands here). A boutique roaster neither has the time, the money, or the inclination to buy more than 2 dozen coffees a year. It’s this choice of coffees that distinguishes the choice of roaster, as well as the quality of the roast itself.

Coffee roasting, as you’ve probably guessed Dear reader, is not about throwing a few kilos of beans into a glorified barbecue, going out for a fag, and coming back to stop the roasting process. Just so you know – you can murder a perfect roast in as little as 20 seconds if you don’t stop it in time (I’ll spare the intricacies of coffee roasting here with it’s computer monitored heat curves etc.). It’s a precision métier (a bit like a Swiss watch maker).

So – if you want to choose a roaster, you have to decide if (a) you love the coffee, (b) they choose the right beans to your liking, (c) they roast them to your liking, and (d) you have the confidence and/or willpower to extract the best flavours out of these beans. Other factors to determine are – how fresh is the crop? How recent is the roast? What advice does the roaster give you on quality and freshness? If the roaster can’t give you a straight answer on these questions, it’s time to find another.

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