Enough about the build, what about the Coffee Roaster?
After completing the Diedrich Coffee Profiling course I picked up my new Diedrich IR 2.5 kilo Coffee Roaster from Sandpoint, Idaho and headed back home to Canada. Upon arriving back in the Callaghan Valley, I unboxed the brand new roaster and was very excited to see how it fit in its dedicated space. In fact, I was probably too excited, as I tried to move the 260 lbs coffee roaster into the bus by myself. Initially I was able to carry the roaster to the bus from the tailgate of my truck, but when I tried to step up into the bus, I lost my balance and dropped the roaster, slamming it and myself into the floor. Just like that, I held roughly twenty thousand dollars and immediately dropped it. As the roaster slipped from my grip I tried to protect the control module by padding it with my soft belly region, rolling the roaster on top of me. Unfortunately, I fell in a way which pinned my head against a wall, giving it no room for the roaster to slam into. Initially I thought I had broken my jaw and certainly destroyed the brand new roaster. However, after getting up, cursing a whole lot and walking it off, I found only a small bend to the exterior sheet metal of the roaster (only cosmetic damage) and luckily did not have a broken jaw. This was extremely embarrassing as I'm sure you can imagine, and I was quite disappointed in myself. Once again my stubbornness and refusal to ask for help resulted in a poor outcome.
After a few more weeks of hooking up utilities, building a podium and finalizing a few more aspects for the roasting zone, the roaster was installed. Once installed, several seasoning roasts had to be completed before consumable coffee could be roasted. The process of seasoning roasts washes the roaster's drum out by exfoliation, cleaning up any remaining metal shavings, and greases left behind from the production line. In addition, the seasoning roasts leave their own residue in the drum, similar to seasoning a cast iron frying pan. The seasoning process consists of loading the roaster’s drum to capacity with lower grade or old coffee (cheaper), getting the beans to an oily stage as quickly as possible, and then keeping them rolling in the drum for as long as possible without starting a internal roaster fire. It is kind of funny because the specs for seasoning a drum are actually fairly difficult to maintain as an experienced roaster let alone for some one that is brand new to it. In my experience I did have to add water on several occasions as the heat got away on me. These seasoning roasts are also a great opportunity to feel out your roaster and get better acquainted with its inputs and precision. After finishing the seasoning roasts, all the burnt batches of coffee must be thrown out as they could contain hazards left from production…as well as would be very unpleasant to drink as they are extremely over developed.
After finishing my seasoning roasts, I started to experiment with an espresso blend, and although these batches were fit for consumption it was probably my 8th batch before I started letting other people sample the coffee. At this point in time, the bus was still very much under construction, and I was still in a real time crunch just to get one opening day in before the end of ski season. So on top of the Callaghan Country work, and bus construction, I was also reading as much coffee roasting material as I could and experimenting deep into the night trying and get the right roast for opening day. On top of my knowledge from the Diedrich Profiling course, I heavily utilized Rocky Rhodes “Profiling Practicum” to keep me on track while developing the flavours of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. Although I had the concepts of coffee roasting down, my only experience roasting was on a 12 kilo Roaster and I was now trying to transfer the inputs I knew from that machine to my 2.5 kilo Roaster. Initially, finding the parameters to build off took some time, but once I found the limits I wanted to create within it became a lot easier. After a considerable amount of green beans and money later (estimated around 50 lbs @ $6/lbs), I arrived at a roast which I was happy to put my newly created brand name on. The Double Decker Coffee Roasting espresso blend was ready for customer consumption. All I needed now was a running espresso machine...and customers.
Patrick Sills is the owner and creator of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. The purpose of the Build Blog is to share the story of the physical build, its components, Patrick's growing education in the coffee industry, and the overall creation of the business. Warning: if run on sentences, poor sentence structure, or simple spelling mistakes bother you to the core stop reading! The Build Blog has a very loose format, I am a builder not a writer, just thought some people might be interested in the story. Enjoy!