Experience = consistent quality
Winning medals and awards can help towards assuring customers you have what it takes to deliver a quality product but it’s not the whole story when it comes to a highly variable products such as roasted coffees.
Nothing ever stands still in the world of coffee, the ingredients are constantly changing, the conditions we roast under are always changing and consumers tastes and preferences change.
We roast coffee every day, some weekends and often it seems most public holidays and we have done this for more than 15 years – starting early when the mornings are cold and crisp to ensure we are always meeting our customer order obligations. Nothing stands in the way of our determination to do a great job and having it ready on time.
Whether it’s a quality coffee to enjoy at home, great beans for the workplace or office, or you have a cafe that needs a cutting-edge coffee solution to stand out from the competition, we are likely to have a coffee solution for you.
IT STARTS WITH SELECTING THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS
Every year more than 600 different raw/green bean lots are imported by Australian coffee brokers – each has a different cup character, price and available quantity.
This big range of choices presents the first challenge or dilemma to the coffee roaster or coffee brand owner – green bean selection.
Generally, inexperienced coffee roasters use basic criteria of SCAA scoring or they are lazy/insecure and instead copy someone else’s recipes.
Others might use a simpler rule that if it’s expensive and scores more than 80 points, it should be good.
The reality is far different – an expensive bean with a high cup score does not guarantee those important people paying for the end beverage, the drinker, will indeed like it. How many times have we seen and heard stories of hyped up coffees or brands failing to satisfy expectations.
Great coffees have a lovely balance and often it’s that balance which is never easy to create.
An end result in the cup will always be influenced by the quality of ingredients. Whilst it is really easy to take great raw coffees and roast them badly, it should come as no surprise to discover that it’s indeed really difficult to take bad ingredients and roast it perfectly for creating an amazing cup.
Coffee is a 6-monthly crop for many origins. Volumes of specialty coffee can be as small as a few 60kg bags up to hundreds of tons.
Storage of the raw coffees is critical for maintaining quality and consistency – a simple fact overlooked or disregarded by a majority of coffee roasting companies.
WE DO IT OUR WAY
Around 90% of our green beans are purchased from the major Australian brokers. The remainder is spread between Direct Trade and the small Tier 2/3 brokers when something unique and interesting is offered.
A reason we spread across many brokers is to reduce risks of defective product quality and provide a broader menu of choices.
Our green bean selection process is stringent – we allocate around 8+hrs every week to managing green bean sourcing.
Every month we purchase many new coffees and each lot must be fully evaluated.
We believe it is a vital “best-practice” to determine how coffees perform using real-world experimentation rather than spending countless hours in a lab cupping coffee. After all, the way coffee is cupped in a lab is distinctly different to how it may perform in a cafe espresso machine.
WHO IS THE PERSON THAT ROASTS YOUR COFFEE ?
If you are a specialty cafe or private label client and serious about quality, have you ever asked yourself the following question…..who is person roasting my coffee and how much skin do they have in the game ?
- Is it the smartly-dressed, smooth-talking sales person sitting in front of you offering incentives…….are they roasting your coffee or just telling you an exaggerated story about how famous their roaster is ?
- Or maybe the larger-than-life media-hungry coffee company owner promising the world and impresses with amazing knowledge – are they actually roasting your coffee or desperately seeking their next slice of publicity ?
- Does your existing coffee supplier retain the talent of roasting or do they promote the delivery driver into a production role so they can “look after the roasting”.
- Is the person roasting your coffee employed with the correct incentives to make a perfect product ?
- Roasting coffee is one of the hardest gigs around. It’s back breaking, cold, hot, dusty, smokey – you must concentrate 100% at all times. Rarely do people stick at roasting coffee for more than a few years because it smashes your body with injuries. Turnover of roasting staff is high – all that knowledge and experience goes out the door.
Roasting great coffee is all about experience – it’s not freaky talent, not classroom or internet theory, not a stroke of luck and it’s certainly not some long-held whispered secret that is passed down through generations that most European producers like to have you believe.
Generally speaking, the average level of roasting experience for the person producing the coffee at Australian coffee companies is literally 18 months. Wow……that’s incredible.
Experience is one thing – delivering a consistently high quality product is another.
Many large coffee companies do not retain their roasting staff for very long – skills and experience are constantly walking out the door, along with their product quality and consistency.
Who do you trust to roast your coffee ?