Shady Lion Coffee Co.,
Wednesday November 23, 2022
For the person who makes coffee at home, maybe the most important thing which determines the outcome of their brew is the roasting process and therefore the roaster. Yes, beans matter, but you can ruin a great bean with poor roasting practices and you can make the most of a lower quality bean with mastery in roasting. Really, every part of the coffee making process is significant, from the soil and the farmer to the temperature of the water you use in converting bean to coffee in your kitchen or local cafe, but, it is the roaster that most of us look to when it comes to consistency, quality, and most often for brand or reputation and taste.
What types of skills do a a great roaster possess? Well the first is simply getting it right when choosing beans. Flavor is big part of this, a roaster will look at the timing of the coffee being picked, it’;s processing details, grading, packaging, and shipping. One of the hot marketing trends in the coffee world right now is to advertise “mold free” coffee, but any roaster worth their salt is not going to buy coffee that invites mold into the mix of the process, in fact it’s pretty rare for this to even be a conversation in the coffee world these days with coffee experts, it’s more of a marketing strategy and a scare tactic than it is a reality.
Another factor that has become increasingly important are ethics with the growing of the coffee. Large corporations like a Folgers or Starbucks generally pay less attention to these things, or it’s also very common with large corporations to start foundations to get their products “certified” by a third-party, but a third-party could be some friends that receive funding and then “approve” the product (coffee or other) as being whatever it is the folks with the money desire. For example, if we wanted to say that a certain coffee was “mold free” or “organic” we could just pay some people to say it’s so, and then claim things like “proprietary process” which is protected from needing to be revealed. Go ahead, look at that bag of Bulletproof or any other similar coffee beans you have in the cupboard or online and inquire about their proprietary elements. All this aside, ethics are important in coffee, there’s real ethics and there’s perceived ethics. A good roaster will have relationships with the source of the coffee and ensure that the farmers and all parties are being paid properly, that the work force is being taken care of in general, and that the practices are pesticide free and for us at Shady Lion Coffee Co., sustainability and good people who care about what they do really matters (we really believe this is part of why our Ethiopian Sweet Lily is so good, it’s infused with love and care from day 1).
Now the roaster has their great bean. It better be good, right? Well the skill of the roaster truly matters because roasting is a complex process and a science. As mentioned before, a great roaster can make green beans (this is what color they are before the roasting process) into something special even if they weren’t the best, and a bad roaster can take the world’s greatest coffee and turn it into something unexciting. For these reasons, a roaster is really an artist, and a great roaster will produce an end result that you will be able to feel when you brew it and see the colors foaming on your pour over, the liquid dripping into your cup from your machine, or just the smell when you open the bag and maybe grind the beans yourself.
Coffee itself is an art, and something that has transformed society, brought structure and connection to families and people all over the world for hundreds of years. If you’d like to learn more about Shady Lion Coffee Co., the people behind it, or why we love coffee please contact us any time, email, social media, WhatsApp or smoke signals we would love to connect on your passion for coffee.
Be on the lookout for more articles as we dive deeper into roasting and other areas of the realm of coffee.