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Cafe/Shop Roaster in the wild...

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  • Cafe/Shop Roaster in the wild...

    G'day all,

    I'm hoping a fellow snobber might be willing to give me a look at their Cafe/shop roaster in action and let me pick their brain a little, in person.

    I'm located in Brisbane and am hoping to get a little insight into the 'serious end' ? of the home roasting rabbit hole. Happy to pay for the privilege in beer ? or beans, as may be suitable!

    Thank you!! ☕

  • #2
    What do you roast with currently? I roast using a gas fired Proaster THCR-01 (1.5Kg) which is probably considered a cafe/shop roaster, if you think it suits and would like to see it in action. I'm based in Ormiston (next to Cleveland).Send a Personal message if you would like to arrange something.

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    • Coffee_Dude
      Coffee_Dude commented
      Editing a comment
      That would be magic! Thank you.

  • #3
    I doubt you will find many businesses that are willing to let you come, look and talk.
    Yhere are intellectual property issues around this area.

    Very generous of Graham to offer, alternatively in Brisbane Wolff coffee roasters run roasting workshops

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    • #4
      Thanks Ronin, I appreciate the sensitive nature of some of this work and wholly agree it is very generous of Graham (or indeed anyone!) to offer.

      My post could have been better worded to something like "Absolute Novice seeking to do something silly, is looking for honest experiences/advice from someone not selling roasters for a living!"

      SWMBO is not likely to allow me an upgrade path to a second hand (or New!!) Cafe/Shop roaster (seems to be the common term for 1-3kg size commercial roasters), but may not notice if I approach it with a "...this is as small as they go..." ?

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      • #5
        If you wanted a run to the GC, I'd go look at some in the flesh at CRA. Of there's a cooperative roasting space that has a few of the CRA machines in Bris itself, can't recall the details but ping me a DM if you want more info.... I'm not affiliated just have seen a vid of their machine lineup when they were commissioning their Phantoms...

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        • Coffee_Dude
          Coffee_Dude commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks Poundy, CRA is definitely on the cards as I get closer to purchasing. I've already spoken with Mark briefly and he too was very generous with his time. The Brisbane coop space would be great to check out. DM coming your way!

      • #6
        I just wanted to give a huge shout out to Graham K for his generosity of time and knowledge (AND patience!) for welcoming me into his corner of the roasting world.

        After securing some green from Andy we were able to work out a time for me to visit. Despite me being significantly late on the day, due to some last minute competing priorities, Graham was able and willing to further disrupt his day to show a complete stranger his ins and outs of roasting.

        Graham shared with me some of his journey, along with a number of the obstacles that he had to overcome to get to where he is now. We roasted a few batches of Columbian, Ethiopian & Mexican. With my very limited exposure to date, comprised of looking from afar at true commercial quantity sized machines (think 15kg+ size), to see a smaller machine in the flesh was very rewarding.

        The quality and build of the unit was very evident, as too was its ability to be as technical or as simple as you like, assuming you have some basic understanding of coffee roasting. Graham made what is, as far I can see, a very exact science and art, look very easy, simply adjusting profiles to match the green and when the software had a hiccup(!), using his knowledge & senses to 'pick' the times to adjust temps etc. The profiles, which as I understand it, are the result of many, many years of trial and error and refinement. Having had my first cup of columbian this morning, simply a few days old, I can attest to this refinement. Superb already, and only to get better as it further degasses & matures.

        While the practical aspect of roasting (including weighing, de-stoning and bagging) was enjoyable and rewarding, what was truely exceptional was Graham’s willingness to be open and share his knowledge and experiences with me - both the good and the bad. To be clear my first contact with Graham was on this site and he doesn’t know me from the proverbial bar of soap. Yet he was willing to take me into his space and share so much. Thank you Graham.

        Through good fortune, I am in an enviable position to be able to spend some time following pursuits that make me happy. Even so, the thought of dropping $10-15k on a hobby does give cause for hesitation. There is a point where the reading & research needs to be placed on hold briefly and some tactile involvement is necessary, in order to make the decision with what to do next.

        My experience with Graham allowed me to reduce some of this anxiety. My fear is that after a ‘not-insignificant’ investment, in a hobby, I will be unable to produce a drinkable cup. However as he was able to demonstrate, it’s not rocket science.

        I can see that it does however require some considerable time and meticulous record keeping and a willingness to continually learn.

        I really want to recognise Graham’s generosity and kindness to me and his willingness to ‘pay forward’ the benefits he received when he started his own journey. His spirit of helping others, in order to drive forward this collective passion for coffee is encouraging. One particular nugget I had not considered, “at this size you’ll need to do have a plan for the excess coffee - you’ll never be able to drink it all!”.

        While there are vocal groups in society that promote the notion of ‘every person for themselves’ as a guiding principle, it is encouraging to meet people like Graham that are equally intent on sharing their knowledge, without fear, in order to see others also achieve in their own right.

        My interests in this space are not about building the next Wolff/Merlo/DiBella/FOX/Intense Coffee behemoth. But it is about being able to learn to create a cup that could be considered comparable to them. Don’t get me wrong, if I happen to become the ‘Next Great Thing’ (NGT), I won’t be getting upset about it - to be clear that isn’t going to happen. What I do want to focus on is that Graham doesn’t know that, but he’s still happy to help all the same. Thank you Graham, that was a rewarding & enjoyable experience.

        A few hours doesn’t make me suddenly skilled in this arena but it does provide me with the confidence to make decisions about my next steps. And besides, I expect it’ll be cheaper than buying a boat!*

        *all dependent on SWMBO - just incase she's reading this....

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        • #7
          Awesome stuff, hats of GrahamK, sharing knowledge and wisdom is a valuable gift indeed and it often helps everyone involved.

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          • #8
            Great story, when I first started roasting knowledge was closely guarded in the roasting community but as the industry matured roasters realised that sharing knowledge helped the industry improve quality overall and the public has benefited from a plethora a great craft roasters who often started out as home roasters in their garages!!

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