2010 January 1
by Joe Johnston

Welcome to the Roaster Project. My goal is to design and build as a fine shop-scale commercial coffee roaster as I possibly can and do so in the span of one year. This blog is intended to share with you the entire process. Posts will be made every Tuesday and Friday, with random posts when time permits. Your comments and suggestions are very much welcomed!

7 Responses
  1. January 1, 2010

    It should be very interesting to watch how this project progresses. Thanks for sharing Joe!

  2. January 1, 2010

    Looks like an exciting project, Joe! I just subscribed to your rss feed so I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  3. January 2, 2010

    Sounds awesome Joe, will subscribe and keep up!

  4. January 11, 2010

    This is an extremely valuable contribution to coffee knowledge and a generous lesson. Looking forward to all your new postings.

  5. Joe Coffee permalink
    January 13, 2010

    While Mr. “R” exhibits some talent as a writer, someone need to “spill the beans” to him about the global world of coffee, not just misguided, domestic roaster’s not well informed view! His articles are full of contradictions that successfully reveal a domestic misconception that all Robusta coffees are bad. He advocates “not jumping to conclusions” yet jumps to many. He speaks of balance, then uses the “R” word in contempt.

    A little history would be helpful; Italy is the undisputed center and creator of today’s coffee culture. As a young new associate of the then mail order company Starbucks, it was a trip to Milano that inspired young Howard Schultz to transform Starbucks into its current form.

    As there are good and bad arabicas, there are also robustas that are of exceptional quality (i.e they are washed, cleaned, and in some cases, even polished.) Are arabicas typically the better of the two classifications; most definitely yes. Are all robustas bad; yes if you ask a sensationalistic style writer, who “can’t even believe he is typing the R word.” In the real world of coffee, no!

    Consider this; there are over 200,000 coffee bars in Italy, a population of 58 million (Starbucks ended 2009 with approx. 16,000 stores (?) worldwide.) Italy is also one of the world’s premier culinary cultures, (i.e home of the Slow Food movement) where the average coffee drinker takes 4 – 5 coffees per day and MAYBE one of them, first thing in the morning, has a little bit of milk in it; the rest of the day Italians drinks espresso shots, no latte! These palates are not likely to be fooled!

    There are thousands of small Italian coffee roasters and 8 – 10 very large international players, of which LavAzza and Mokarabia are two. Italian roasters usually offer 3 to 4 blends, some as many as 6 or 8. They all offer their own 100% arabica blends, and though regional taste preference are present in some areas, RARELY if ever are the 100% arabica blends the best sellers. Fact is that the robustas used by the most distinguished Italian roasters add balance, distinction and many other desirable qualities…

    Try doing some homework, Mr. “R” word!!!

    PS Pay more attention to Mr. Casale…try listening!!

    PPS Yes, you are dead wrong!!!

    • January 13, 2010

      I think we’ve heard this before in the “Trepidation” post. If you would like to bring some additional insight to the table, please feel free to do so. Please refer to my comments in that section. I assume that you have not read those, based upon this response. By the way, I am also a Slow Food member and do not drink lattes (just traditional cappuccinos and espressos).

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