It’s often said that coffee roasting is part art, part science. This is true now more than ever with recent advances in technology allowing roasters access to more empirical data about each roast than ever before.
Where a traditional coffee roaster would look at, and smell beans, and listen for distinctive ‘pops’ during a roast, we are now able to track temperature changes in real-time and calculate Rate of Rise and development time percentage on the fly. Don’t worry if you don’t know what that means – what’s important is they are better indicators of roast quality than just feeling it out.
In January 2020, we upgraded our roaster to what is fast becoming the industry standard for consistency and repeatability – Loring.
Farewell, Betty. You've been emotional.
Our old roaster, Betty (a Probat UG-22), has served us well over the last 6 years and has pumped out almost 25,000 batches of coffee during her tenure. Sadly, time has caught up with her, and it’s time for her to go and live on a farm where we can visit her.
Happily, this means that our new roaster, a Loring S70 Peregrine (name TBC), has the space to move in. We didn’t take the decision to replace Betty lightly and we’d like to share with you our decision making.
The first advantage of the Loring is its size. It’s considerably bigger than Betty – a 70kg capacity vs a 22kg capacity. We’re now able to roast around 3 times as much coffee. This means we can meet our weekly quota of roasted coffee with less people-power, giving our brilliant people more time to work on other projects within FC.
The second advantage is control and repeatability of roast. As great as Betty was, her gas controls could be a little tricky to manage (kind of like driving a classic car) – two valves controlling gas flow to three banks of burners, one valve leading to one bank, the other to two. The Loring gives us the ability to make precise adjustments to burner percentage through a computer and repeat them consistently - roast after roast. There’s even the option to go fully automatic once you’ve decided on your approach.
The other big improvement that this upgrade makes is the Loring is much more environmentally friendly. Its unique design means that it consumes approximately 25% of the gas of a traditional drum roaster. In addition to this, we’re now able to burn off more smoke, producing less emissions than before.
Of course, all of this would be for nothing if it didn’t also improve the flavour of the coffee. We’ve found roasts to be cleaner and sweeter across the board. We’re chuffed to be working on the Loring moving forward as it gives us the ability to highlight each coffee’s unique characteristics better than ever before.
A few huge ticks for quality, working smarter, & the environment.
Here's to Better Coffee.