One of the pacts we have with our customers is that our coffee is packed and shipped no more than seven days after roasting. So, since you know who’s been packing your coffee, we thought it was about time you found out who takes care of the roasting side of things. His name is Peter and he’s something of a dude…
A bit about Peter The Pact coffee roaster is called Peter James, and he – and his coffee roasters – are based in the picturesque Ross-on-Wye, in Herefordshire. It’s a lovely part of the world, which narrowly escaped flooding in the crazy weather at the start of this year. Peter lives in a cottage near the roasting house (though he plans to move to a small farm soon, where he’s going to grow apples for homemade cider) and classes himself as a proper country bumpkin. He also happens to have 15 years experience in the art of roasting coffee. This man really knows his beans.
What’s it like at the roasters? Stephen and Pete recently checked in to see how it was going over there and reported back to the rest of us here in Bermondsey. They watched some of our coffee being roasted (see below), a process that takes between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the degree of roasting you’re after. In case you’ve never experienced it, the smell of roasting coffee is pretty strong, but not one you’d associate with brewing coffee. It’s more like a cross between popcorn and slightly overdone toast.
A bit about Peter’s roasterie The Ross-on-Wye roasterie is home to two roasters, a Diedrich (the red one in the picture above) with a 15 kilo capacity and a rather fancy Loring (the silver one) with a 35 kilo capacity. It’s the Loring that is used to roast the majority of our coffee and it is something of a hero within the coffee roasting world; as you’ll discover below. Peter’s roasterie also boasts a coffee playroom, where you’ll find some seriously shiny coffee gadgetry.
About the Loring roaster When coffee is roasted an enormous amount of strong-smelling smoke is usually produced, which is too potent to be released straight into the air (especially in built-up areas). To burn off this smoke, some coffee roasters have built-in afterburners. On the face of it this seems like a good thing, but in actuality afterburners use up seven times as much energy as the roasting process does in the first place.
The Loring is different. This next generation roaster all the way from California uses state of the art technology, which means it significantly cuts down on the smoke. While many other roasters are now following suit with smokeless coffee roasters, Peter was one of the trail blazers and he owned one of the very first ones in the country. He’s so cool.
Taking good care of your beans One of the key parts of the roasting process actually comes after the beans are done ‘cooking’. To prevent from over roasting they need to be cooled down as quickly as possible. This is done by pouring the beans into a cooling bin, which looks like a great barrel, with wire mesh over either end. Air is then drawn through the freshly roasted beans by a powerful (noisy) fan, as they are kept moving with giant rotating paddles. In this way the beans are cooled from 200°c to room temperature in a matter of minutes, and the flavours contained within the beans are preserved for you to enjoy.