Hey guys,

I recently opened up a shop and for the first three months not too bad! I havn't been active in discussions prior to this. So I want to say thanks! Everyone who has started a discussion has really answered some stressing questions for me. It's tough being new to a community but these boards really bailed me out. so thanks again. okayyyy

I own a shop and I want to learn how to roast. I don't have a lot of time since I'm at the shop. I wish I could visit roasters but not in the cards right now. I've been checking out videos on youtube and reading what people post here. It's been helpful but I was wondering if there are any good reads you recommend? What machines have good reputations and such. I find personal experiences to be the most helpful so if you care to drop some knowledge I'll appreciate it!


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It's easy to turn beans brown, it's a life time Journey learning to make beans sing.


Do you want to serve coffee that tastes brown, or do you want to serve coffee that sings and dances on the palate?


I've been roasting a scant 15 years, thousands and thousands of batches, thousands nay tens of thousands of pounds. I can't give you my passion or experience, you must find it from within and do it. I've been told many many times by many many people my coffees are some of the best anywhere. Yet I shrink at the task oft feeling a fraud who fakes it really well and know the more I know the more I don't know. The bean is a wonderful and hard task master ever complex and demanding.


You say you want to learn to roast. So start roasting. Start big, start small at home doesn't matter, start Your Journey. And it takes time, much time. Do or do not, there is no try. If you really want it, you do it.

Thanks for the response Mike. There is definitely no lack of passion in what you do. I will start at some point. But that connection isn't going to begin in the near future. I more so want learn as much as I can from an outside standpoint. So that I can avoid any obvious mistakes when I do start. Or be familiar with vocab that is being thrown around. Which is why I want to acquire as much useful information as possible before hand, from experienced roasters as yourself...


I will refer you to a recent Blog article I wrote for Specialty Coffee Retailer, "Is Roasting in House Right for You?" HERE.

Hey John P,

Thanks for the article. It's nice to read I really want to roast and love the job. I just need to figure how to go about it. I have a guy in mind that might be able to run shop while I roast or vise versa. Both of us are really getting into it. Just curious, whats a roasters' salary?
John P said:


I will refer you to a recent Blog article I wrote for Specialty Coffee Retailer, "Is Roasting in House Right for You?" HERE.

You can only learn so much by reading, watching videos, watching others "do". How much can you learn without actually doing? Probably not much unless reading, watching videos, watching others "do" while you are doing too. Get a Quest M3 (a roaster you can manually control applied heat and airflow AND monitor environment and bean temps) and start roasting small batches... Later you can use it as your sample/profile development roaster when/if you get a bigger shop roaster.

It's the "I just need to figure out how to go about it" that is troubling.

Roast after hours. Roast the days you are closed. 

And although the Quest M3 is a good idea, I'm one for being "all in". When I decided to roast, I read what I could, and then dropped $5K on a 1 kilo shop roaster. Lots of notes. Plenty of discarded beans, but within a few months, I had my first major success, a pristine roast of Panama Carmen Estate in 2005. And I've still been learning ever since. And, as I always say, "It beats having a real job."

Dude, it sounds like you needed a push. We're giving you one. Find a small roaster, big roaster, new roaster, or an old roaster and... And why are you reading this anyways... There's a lot to learn... Roast!

Mike and John,

You're both right I gotta get it going. I'll let you both know of any progress, thanks again!

Since I myself don't know much about roasting (yet) I will share a quote from Mr. Peter Giuliano from an interview with Sprudge upon his departure from Counter Culture:

8. If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a new coffee roastery, what would it be?

This is an extension of the above. I always tell people, don’t do too much. Start with one coffee, and do it right. It’s so much better to focus on one source, or one relationship, or one coffee and do it absolutely right before moving on to the next one. So many roasters lose their focus by trying to do too much. So choose one coffee, and make it great. And by great, I don’t just mean cup quality- make the relationship great, make the transparency perfect, make a difference in the impact this coffee has on the world. Don’t fake it. Get your roasting right, then roast it right again and again and again. Once you’ve figured out how to do great coffee once, soup to nuts, then you can move on to a second one. Jumping around, traveling too much, spreading yourself too thin is a sure path to mediocrity. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that “what’s in the cup is all that matters.” Agriculture matters. Integrity matters. Craft matters. We are lucky to work with great tasting coffee, and because of this we have to take responsibility for it, and all the implications of our crazy pursuit of deliciousness.

Start with a small sample roaster where you can control temp and pick up Scott Rao's roaster book. Taste every batch and cup against the big boys (counter culture, Intelly, stumptiwn) see what you like and what works. Log everything and isolate variables. Good luck!

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