Spent 4 hours at EveryDay Gourmet
Coffee Roasters at the historic
St. Lawrence Market - Front street Toronto.
I roasted 120 pounds of coffee in 3 1/2 hours.
Did mostly single-origins; Ethiopian Harrar, Sidamo, Sumatra, Ethiopian Decaf, Celebes, etc
Did the house espresso and the bar espresso blends.
This is somewhat different that roasting coffee in those little 4 ounce electric jobbies. This is the real thing.
With 15 to 20 pound batches, in play, you need all your senses activated - strict attention, no distractions.
Timing is everything, as is your sense of smell, your knowledge of the individual behaviors of single origins and where their sweet-spots are.
Certain coffees do better with a darker roast, some with a lighter roast. Decaf coffees, for instance, roast along their merry way, reaching a certain degree of roast, and then quickly accelerate towards pure charcoal.
One of the objectives of being at EDGC Roastery (on behalf of the coffeecrew website) was to put in some time, learn, as well a lecture customers on some of the many issues within the coffee trade. That is, if they were interested. Not surprisingly, no website fans showed up - I was keeping a slightly lower profile this time. Lots of regulars were there, and tourists and there was no shortage of opportunities to talk.
According to Sara, this was a slow day for the curious. Did some Q&A with some English tourists that we were visiting on business and pleasure. They were actually quite savvy about most of what I was doing - after all, cafe culture (as we are experiencing it now) in Europe is about 3 or 400 years older than in North America.
A certain kind of people seem to be drawn to food markets. Markets are at the heart of all communities and this one is no exception. And within a market, there are few sites and sounds more interesting than the coffee roaster. The hum of activity, the smell of a freshly dumped batch of fresh roast, the intensity of the roaster (me) - well, it draws people in.
According to Sara, this was a slow day. On a Saturday, it is a full-on spectacle of participation.
People drink coffee and they want to know about it - There are always lots of questions, good ones. I did my best to answer them all correctly.
I Cannot wait to do this again. Who know, maybe some of the roasters in Victoria will let me do a batch or two on their machines.
Sara loves her lifes work. She imagines retiring, at age 95... to more coffee roasting!
As Sara says: "The Roasters life is the best life!"
Colin Newell lives and breathes coffee in Victoria. He has also travelled coast to coast in Canada and the U.S.A. seeking out the finest cups.