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Author Topic: Which Coffee Roasting Course?  (Read 14786 times)

cosmic_couple22

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Which Coffee Roasting Course?
« on: 15/02/2013, 10:27 PM »
Hi all

Have been looking at getting some professional roast training, not that easy to accomplish in Aus outside of Peter Wolff's course (mixed reviews from the few people I have spoken to).

Looking for some advice on the courses I am considering.

Peter Wolff, Australia 3 days $1500.

William Boot, Boot Coffee, Sanfransisco USA
Roast Profiling And Cupping 3 days $995
Advanced Roasting, 3 days $1250
Single Origins And Creating Blends, 2 days $795  ( love an overseas trip)

Mane' Alves
Coffe Lab, International School of Coffee, Vermont USA
Roasting and cupping course, 5 days $1350

Any opinions or information on any of these guys or any  suggestions of really skilled people willing to,(and have the ability to) teach.

Be nice to find a master roaster looking for a goofer but theres not to many of them on the sunshine coast, hence my desire to seek further education.

Thanks in advance

Chester


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Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #1 on: 15/02/2013, 10:38 PM »
I can teach you for free on a KKTO if you like
I have over one thousand roasts under my belt

KK
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« Reply #2 on: 15/02/2013, 11:10 PM »
Roasting courses articulate generic theory with some practical hands on tasks.

Like any form of education, it is only as effective ( or useful) as the individual's own desire to explore and learn through experiments combined with controlled and structured evaluation/ analysis.

There are two significant variables that are not addressed on such courses - specific nuances of your personal roasting device and how to deal with unexpected circumstances.

Establishing discipline around your roasting procedures is the first step, then you need a feedback loop that can be trusted and adds value to your skills development.

The decision on whether to attend formal training comes down to your level of urgency/patience and whether you think you could do it yourself. Training will accelerate your expertise but it WILL NOT guarantee you will achieve master roaster status and it does not mean your roasting skills will improve.  There is plenty of work to do after the training as you look to implement the theories in real life practice.

cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #3 on: 15/02/2013, 11:27 PM »
Thanks KK

Your an asset to the coffee community, but Im looking at commercial roasting with gas. My CCR is great at slowly developing and understanding basic skills but can't afford to be roasting 10 kilos a day, (i only drink 2 double macs a day)  Would love to be getting hands on and roasting all day on a commercial roaster.

Thanks mycuppa

I couldnt agree more, I only take on a few things in life but the things I do, I do with passion and with a desire to be the best that I can be.  Rescue is my other passion and I have attended many courses, some information changes my perspective and approach, others sit on the shelf or are totaly discarded.  The fundamentals I take and practice practice practice. Been doing it that way for over 20 years and still learning.

So would like to take this same approach with my roasting journey, gather the information from a wide source then practice and develop and grow my own thinking.

Regards

Chester

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« Reply #4 on: 16/02/2013, 03:58 PM »
Overseas roasting courses are more likely to be skewed towards the experiences from the local market.

Sure, there is technical skill that is universal across any coffee market, but styles are styles and it's difficult to ignore influences.

Wolffy is extremely experienced and a good personal friend. You will learn a lot from him - been roasting for a long time, has many thousands of tons under his belt and has worked with just about every green coffee ever sold in Aus. His local experience is invaluable and he has a track record of building a successful roasting company. The trick with Wolffy is to understand his eccentric, hipster-style behavior - if you get that, it makes it a whole lot simpler and could go some way towards your comment of *mixed results* - maybe they did'nt "get it dude".

Boot has built his reputation through technical publications in the likes of Roast Magazine, etc. I have spoken with a person who attended one of his training courses and there were some useful takeaways. I have also been told of a few stories about his behaviors - whether they are accurate or not I don't know and will not offer/pass judgement.

Diedrich (US) used to offer education as well.



cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #5 on: 16/02/2013, 05:25 PM »
Thanks again mycuppa

your input is sincerely appreciated, and I take on board your comments, local experience is always great to tap into and if able to build a good repor becomes a place of ongoing support which is a major plus.

Peter has a course running early mMarch so I will investigate this further.

I must say mycuppa I like your style, polite but direct, informative and succinct. Do you need a gofer?? happy to spend a couple of weeks in Melbourne..  ;D

Regards

Chester
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Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #6 on: 16/02/2013, 05:40 PM »
I have roasted on commercial equipment in the past
The trick is ? the more roasts you do the better you get at using your particular set up

It's also very important to be good at cupping to recognise changes to blends as required

KK
Bezzera Strega Lever: Mazzer Robur conical grinder Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster:

Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #7 on: 16/02/2013, 06:29 PM »
Hi KK

Currently taking about 12 grams of beans every 30 seconds from about the 11 minute mark through into a minute past 2nd crack, then cupping to develop my senses and to choose the profile that I want to roast the said bean to in the future.

Has been a lot of fun and great for developing my thinking and senses as to what is happening during the roasting process.

Chester
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BPCoff

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« Reply #8 on: 20/02/2013, 03:40 PM »
Hi all,

New to the forum and to roasting. Do any of these courses (from your experiences) offer training or advice about equipment, techniques, storage methods etc. or is it all about roasting and based on assumed knowledge? been trying to find to beginner courses in the Melbourne area and most assume you already know something about blends...

Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #9 on: 20/02/2013, 04:35 PM »
Hi all,

New to the forum and to roasting. Do any of these courses (from your experiences) offer training or advice about equipment, techniques, storage methods etc. or is it all about roasting and based on assumed knowledge? been trying to find to beginner courses in the Melbourne area and most assume you already know something about blends...

A course can only touch on the basics - what you take away from it is what you can process
What I am about to say is common sense

A tradesman does an apprentiship both on the job and technical training
This is normally around 4 years
And a good tradesman will keep on adding knowledge and techniques as new methods are introduced

Coffee roasting is no different

KK
Bezzera Strega Lever: Mazzer Robur conical grinder Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster:

Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

admin

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« Reply #10 on: 20/02/2013, 06:48 PM »
hi BPCoff - there were some 'beginners' roasting courses which are run under the auspices of AASCA - I know that Dean Morgan of Morgans Espresso in Sydney ran several a couple of years ago, which were excellent. I assume there are also some from time to time in Melbourne - suggest you contact AASCA to find out.

A

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« Reply #11 on: 21/02/2013, 09:27 AM »
Thanks guys. Yes someone did put me onto AASCA and they do have an 'Education' section. I'll keep an eye out and also look for video tutorials online which I can use and practice to at home. I remember in the US they had specific Coffee training schools and courses aside from the usual Barista courses. Just seem to be dificfult to find here.

Fresh Coffee

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« Reply #12 on: 21/02/2013, 09:39 AM »
A course can only touch on the basics - what you take away from it is what you can process
What I am about to say is common sense

A tradesman does an apprentiship both on the job and technical training
This is normally around 4 years
And a good tradesman will keep on adding knowledge and techniques as new methods are introduced

Coffee roasting is no different ...

I've been watching this thread with interest and not responded at all so far because it is very problematic for me...the idea of doing a course just doesnt compute and I thank KK for annunciating my own opinion and dare I say it, very wise words.
Coffee roasting is a professional trade and is about doing your apprenticeship, and it is complicated as has been said elsewhere above, by the fact of being directly affected by the type of equipment you are using and if / when you change that equipment, you have to re learn part of that trade.

Doing a course for coffee roasting is much like going to alliance francaise or tech college to learn a language. When you finish the course, if you dont keep on keeping it on, its gone in a short period of time.

But of course it is good to do from the point of view of getting a quick intro after which, its over to apprenticeship time.
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« Reply #13 on: 21/02/2013, 09:56 AM »
My intention is to practice at home with the knowledge I have gained from courses / tutorials, be it in class or online. Doing an apprenticeship sounds very 'full on' and a great commitment and more of a career path, which is something I (and my partner cannot do). The intention is to get as much beginner knowledge as we can and take it from there.
We would love to entertain at home or maybe even one day small private functions for families and friends, who knows. Just need a starting point, so I guess my question regarding courses was a bit naive and ignorant on my part due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of Coffee roasting. But I will get onto AASCA and see how much time we need to commit.

cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #14 on: 21/02/2013, 10:42 AM »
Learning new skills is always a little painful at the start, but when an industry is somewhat protective of their craft as the coffee industry is, a short course can at least offer the new parcticipant a starting point.

That said I fully appreciate and agree short courses are just a small part of any education undertaking, it is what you do with that information that will determine whether you will develop the necessary skill set.

One of the reasons this site exists is to support and grow a community through the sharing of information and opinions (isn't it)  What about the idea (if it hasnt been done already) of the odd open roasting day, a forum member could open his roaster up to the less experienced to bring some green, watch on or get involved and ask questions about the process. Maybe a sticky thread where it could be advertised?

If I wasnt so new to it I would jump on board, maybe in a few months I will be ready!

Good idea, bad idea not sure but you can let me know.

Chester

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Koffee Kosmo

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« Reply #15 on: 21/02/2013, 10:55 AM »
Learning new skills is always a little painful at the start, but when an industry is somewhat protective of their craft as the coffee industry is, a short course can at least offer the new parcticipant a starting point.

That said I fully appreciate and agree short courses are just a small part of any education undertaking, it is what you do with that information that will determine whether you will develop the necessary skill set.

One of the reasons this site exists is to support and grow a community through the sharing of information and opinions (isn't it)  What about the idea (if it hasnt been done already) of the odd open roasting day, a forum member could open his roaster up to the less experienced to bring some green, watch on or get involved and ask questions about the process. Maybe a sticky thread where it could be advertised?

If I wasnt so new to it I would jump on board, maybe in a few months I will be ready!

Good idea, bad idea not sure but you can let me know.

Chester

I have done just that ( demonstrating my roaster ) at every QLD coffee enthusiast meet
We already have a section for State meets to be organised if desired

Thus far we in QLD have had several meets over the last 4 years
Last one was on the Sunshine Coast at member Lacehims home

KK
Bezzera Strega Lever: Mazzer Robur conical grinder Pullman Barista Tamper Convex:  Designer of the KKTO Home Roaster:

Blog - http://koffeekosmo.blogspot.com

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« Reply #16 on: 21/02/2013, 11:09 AM »
......so I guess my question regarding courses was a bit naive and ignorant on my part due to my lack of knowledge and understanding of Coffee roasting.........

Not at all....I think its great that you have an interest, and you have to start asking somewhere !

The thing would be, to divide commercial away from hobby coffee roasting and seek out someone willing to conduct hobby roasting demonstrations. Stating the obvious, home / hobby roasting is probably an "unusual" practice and of course you wont find a course at TAFE.

But maybe its something that groups like this can set up from time to time.....with dare I say it, a small charge to cover peoples time and willingness and goodwill to share their knowledge, supply of their own equipment, beans etc.

That is a fun, interesting, enterntaining way to spend a Sat arvo.

Anyone on the other hand that wants to learn commercial coffee roasting will have to go a different path.

EDIT:
Oops didnt read the next couple of posts to the next reply from KK when I formulated this reply. Well done KK.

Not the same as a roasting lesson but in my own roasterie we have always made those that came in and showed interest welcome. Sometimes they have asked to be shown around the production area BEHIND the "staff only" signs and we have accommodated (depending on time and processes permitting), and sometimes we (I) have asked them if they'd like to look around. In any case we have a very large viewing window in front of the roasting plant, but its not as nice as getting a private viewing. Also we've sometimes incorporated use of our fluid air bed domestic roaster in coffee classes from time to time just for kicks (but it fills the room with smoke) !

Depends on what you  as individuals are looking for, and of course full blown lessons are not the same as private viewings. Suggest you should approach roasters in your local areas and come straight out and ask them. The worst you can get is a polite (I hope) no.

The other thing is the availability of suitable equipment to conduct  a course with. Do you do it with a 30, 15, 10 or 5 kilo roaster. How much coffee do you actually "waste" to run a course, however the time of batch wont be any different ie, whether its a 30 kilo or a 5 kilo, your batch times will still be about the same, and they will generally be longer than what you get with your micro sized home roasters. What do the "clients" expect to see and perhaps more importantly, what do they expect to learn?

Note also. We dont advertise openly that we are happy to show people around BUT the shoe is also on the other foot. We seldom see members of various forums in our roasterie and I guess they may be too timid to ask.  But you never ever know, if you never ever ask. It will be area dependent, but it seems people in our area that might be interested in the hobby of coffee dont mix with eachother, and therefore dont organise things like the QLD contingent here seem to do...(great effort by the way).

Interesting to note that not long ago I did advertise in various forums for people interested to learn the business incl on the ground floor of coffee roasting to please come and see us as we had an opening.  Nobody replied, and it is as well to note that the level of interest we see in forums where groups of people who are interested in a particular topic will congregate, is not necessarily translated over into the real world.
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« Reply #17 on: 21/02/2013, 11:40 AM »
Great info, appreciate it. It's actually a little overwhelming researching and looking up training and courses. By doing so I've realised it's a complete art form, technical yet beautiful and just how much there is to it all. It's amazing and greatly motivating at the same time. We're actually looking at going to a few Coffee tasting venues (similar to Wineries) where we can learn more about blends and bean variations etc.

It would be a great idea to see small roasters hold social events targeting rookies (like myself and my friends) to open our eyes to what's out there (at the same time promote their own brand!) because someone like myself and my friends would love to attend, taste and maybe have a macaroon or two  ;)

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« Reply #18 on: 21/02/2013, 12:45 PM »
In so far as the modern approach to professional coffee roasting, I am afraid I am now firmly in the camp of it being a scientific rather than art form. But for that you need to have the approriate controllable plant rather than old style conventional roasting plant.

That way you really can design profiles that can be repeated accurately, keep records, cup the results, and make fine (or large) changes to the profile to get it better and better....and then repeat it until you decide that a change is required, where the technical scientific process is ongoing. Modern design computer controlled roasting plants have revolutionised professional coffee roasting and put it in a much better place (in my opinion) especially wrt roasted bean quality.

You cant do much of that with the older style conventional uncontrolled machines, and I have seen enough good beans ruined by crap roasting (whether that be lack of roaster operator expertise or equipment / plant limitations).

On the other hand I am happy to agree that other parts of the roasting to cup coffee process are an art form especially coffee brewing!
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« Reply #19 on: 24/02/2013, 04:14 PM »
@cosmic_couple22

Have you tried Coffeeroasters Australia at Arundel, Gold Coast?

According to their website they do offer classes and tuition with both domestic and commercial machines...

Not sure if they can provide what you're looking for, but I've always found them helpful and patient- despite my stupid questions... Lol

I am a Tradesman and have enjoyed a lifelong quest and hunger for additional knowledge and skills in a quite eclectic array of fields...

For example: in my early twenties I did a short course with Dr Bob Rich on building a mud brick house.... Now I'm not suggesting this taught me how to build a house- But being hands on very quickly teaches you the correct consistency, soil choice, etc, etc, etc and with that very short course I'm sure I avoided many pitfalls for the unwary...
I've since become a Licenced builder- but that's yet another story...

I did a short course to get my excavator/bobcat licences and this led to owning earthmoving equipment for a time... That led to a course to get my explosives licence and a subsequent stint in the mining industry... And on and on it goes...

Did a short course (adult Tafe) on welding, no I didn't become a boilermaker, but I can run a decent fillet, rather than spray Cockie Shite....  Did yet another on Panel Beating...

I guess, on reflection, I've always blurred the line between work and hobbies... A short course with a boatbuilder led me to building a couple of wooden boats and a stint with a local epoxy manufacturer building moulds, vac bagging and laminating with Kevlar, dynel, carbon fibre and various other exotics... Including some cutting edge work with vacuum resin infusion...

I'm a great believer in that the day you stop learning is the day you die and that we should never stop investing in our own personal knowledge...

Why not do a course on coffee roasting!

Fantastic idea, I say!

Please keep us informed of what you find and your progress...







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cosmic_couple22

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« Reply #20 on: 24/02/2013, 11:31 PM »
Thank you so much ol Grumpy for your level of support.

It's amazing what a little taste of something can lead to, and your journey is a great example.

Spoke to Mark at Coffee Roasters but his current course is booked out so he will get back to me with a date.
Thinking that I will give the Peter Wolff course a bash and from there who knows, but I do like to get lots of information from a lot of different perspectives so i'm sure there will be other avenues to pursue.

A couple of the local commercial roasters have started to feel a little morer comfortable sharing with me as they recognise my desire to actually learn on a morer serious level.  So thats refreshing.

So whats your next venture ol Grumpy? With all your skills, manufacturing a nice semi commercial 3kg roaster skinned in carbon fibre? Can't wait  :thumb:

Regards

Chester
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