Any research paper or thesis needs a good introduction. It sets the parameters of the report and lays out your end-goal. I guess I'm seeing our roasting journey a bit like a thesis, and with that, this first post is my attempt at an introduction.
Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of writing the introduction after I've finished my thesis - like I did at University - because I'm not sure how long this journey will last... maybe three months? Six months? A year? Or five? And I'm not entirely sure what we're going to achieve, but I'm expecting that on these following pages, we'll post a bit of theory, some practice, followed by some analysis and then lessons learned.
So given that there's a lot I'm not sure about, I'm focusing this introduction on the only certainty I can answer right now.... Why roast?
Roasting appeals to the engineer in me
Every endeavour should in some way get you excited and motivated simply because it does. For me, I'm fascinated by the process of transformation. How do we take this inedible seed and turn it into something full of flavour and body that becomes a daily must-have for so many people?
I'm excited by the prospect of applying science to a culinary art and I'm looking forward to gaining that technical knowledge. And as we know, knowledge is power, and with power, comes great responsibility! :-)
To have more control over what I serve my customers.
Right now we work with some incredible specialty roasters, and we enjoy being able to offer our customers a true variety of really great roasted beans. But having your own beans means you can tailor a coffee to suit your customers base. Imagine asking your customers what type of coffee they like and then being able to build it for them. Roasting allows you to define your brand not just through look, feel and personality, but also through taste and texture. How cool is that?
To shift the needle in the industry.
Ok, so maybe this is ego talking, but the industry is growing, and we want to help shape that growth. We're not aiming to be another speciality roaster. We'd prefer to come up with a product that complements what is already out there, or to discover a science that changes how the industry approaches roasting. We're not sure what that is just yet, but hoping we'll discover it along our journey.
So those are my reasons. And they don't include the increase of a profit margin (though that's an added bonus) or the fact that I'm from Bolivia and coffee is in my blood (it really isn't - my parents were tailors). So I'm excited about the journey ahead. The only things that make me nervous are those things that I can't control - like climate change or Coronavirus. Everything else will be a lesson learned that we'll post here like chapters of a thesis.
Hope you enjoy these lessons. We welcome your comments and thoughts along the way.