So, You Want to Roast Coffee…

Recently we’ve had a couple people write us and ask, how do you pursue becoming a roastmaster? Well, there are many ways to get started in this business.

I started out working for a coffee importer in their warehouse, unloading trucks, making deliveries and shipping orders. I was fortunate enough to work for a growing company that allowed me to explore my interest in coffee. I learned how to roast samples of coffees for cupping, and how to cup coffee. Doing these two things really opened my eyes to the world of coffee and how diverse it is. I wanted to learn more!

So, next I learned how to roast on a 5 lb. air roaster, then on a 5 lb. drum roaster. Now I can roast anywhere from 100 grams to 500 pounds. I also read books, traveled to origin (coffee producing countries), attended coffee industry events, and talked to many industry professionals to learn all I could. The journey has brought me here to Cameron’s, and I am still learning after nearly 20 years in this business.

What can you do to start your own coffee journey? I would read all you can. The internet is a huge asset. If you want to roast, maybe get a small home roaster and go from there. Or, get a job with a coffee company as a roaster and learn the craft. Taste coffees from different origins, they all have their own unique flavor profile. Try the same coffee at different roast levels, this will give you an idea of how the roast level changes the way a coffee tastes. Attend industry events like the Specialty Coffee Association’s annual trade show every spring. Anything and everything coffee is at this event. Some roaster manufacturers also host classes on roasting coffee. I know that Mill City Roasters in Minneapolis does for sure, as well as Probat down in Chicago.

I’ll leave you with one of the most important things I have learned over the years: There is more to being a coffee roaster than just turning beans brown!
– Patrick Dinkins
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