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Annoying Article

I’ve read a recent article in the Daily Mail (on Friday) where a few industry folk were asked about their opinions of Specialty coffee. One comment from a “prominent persona” of whom I thought I held in great esteem said (excuse the not exact quote I left the paper on the train) I wouldn’t sell green beans to home roasters as I know the best about roasting it.

I find this statement incredibly arrogant, he may know best for his tastes and his customers but that doesn’t cover everyone. Some people want to go that little bit further and have that home roasting experience. No one knows best in coffee, there are no right or wrong answers. Of course completely up to them what they sell and to whom, it was just the reasons given. The cynic in me says because they are so big that it’s too small a niche for them, maybe I’m wrong.

Has Bean will continue to support the home roaster as much as we can, and we will also not tell you what you can and cant do. I was/am a home roaster and understand the joy it can bring and the way it can raise Specialty coffees profile. We will also strive to not tell you what to do and what it right or wrong.

11 Comments

  1. Got a link to the article? Who was quoted?

  2. How did I know youd ask that James?

    It was Steven Macatonia from Union, and it was in the Mail. I’ve tried to find it on line but couldn’t.

  3. I wonder sometimes why there is this sort of attitude among roasters. There are economic reasons why roasters what you to buy their blend roasted their way, but I think it’s deeper than that. I think the professionalisation of roasting in the past century has created the feeling among even the people that do the roasting that it can only be done by a highly skilled practitioner.

  4. I’ve often wondered how a professional roaster feels about us home roasters buying greens and “bypassing” their skill as a roaster. I started home roasting simply because the supplier I had been using at the time (not you Steve) seemed to be quite inconsistent on the level of roast he was using for the same type of bean. It was therefore a bit hit and miss as to whether the results were to my taste.

    Now when I order greens for roasting I use the advice on the Has Bean tasting notes, but occasionally I find that for my taste, and admittedly uneducated palette, the advice is way off the mark for what gives me what I’m looking for in the cup.

    If think you may be on the right lines when you say it may be too small a niche for them…

    Just my £0.02 worth…

  5. It would be interesting for him to blind taste the homeroast of certain people. His reaction may let him down if he was not aware of the source.

    Conversely to his opinion, I and many others don’t like much of what many “professional” roasters produce. It’s horses for courses.

    Often in this world we find individuals who become arrogant because of their perception of how the world sees them, I put it down to self proclomation and insecurity in most who act that way. His bahaviour highlights the quality of Has Bean and all those involved. Class always shines through.

    I wonder if it has occurred to him that we wouldn’t want to buy his beans ……..

  6. “I think the professionalisation of roasting in the past century has created the feeling among even the people that do the roasting that it can only be done by a highly skilled practitioner.”

    This is true but the irony here is that sometimes the home-roaster is actually more skilled/experienced than the “professional”. Certainly home-roasters know what they’re aiming for more specifically: ie. their own taste preferences.

    I happen to be a “professional” roaster (and barista), working for a company in nz that supports it’s green-bean customers. And I value the opinions of our home-roaster-customers very much. I’ve often spent hours on end chatting about roasting, brewing and all matters coffee with them and consider many of them very good friends, just to offer another different perspective.
    However i also roast coffee at home as well at work, simply for the fun of it.

    I also often sample coffees from other roasters and find that they are not roasted to my own tastes.

    End of the day, home-roasting means more educated consumers out there, and that can only be good for the industry, the only reason for roasters to be afraid of this is if they’re not doing a good job themselves.

  7. Guys fantastic opinions, couldnt agree more with you all.

    Phil bang on the money I learn so much from my chats with home roasters, who just will do everything to get the best out of a bean. I’ve also learnt a lot from my home roasting experiances, the foundations of my roasting career.

    Keep it coming.

  8. Next week: Union Roasters tell us all that only a professional knows how to make a cup of coffee, as only they have the experience to know what that coffee should taste like!
    Sounds like I’d better go to Starbucks for a “caffe latte freddo” rather than the cup of home roasted Sitio Boa Sorte I was going to have from my aeropress!

  9. Phil – Which company is that? I’m living in NZ and haven’t found many green bean suppliers here at all.

  10. I was wondering if he’s shot himself in the foot.

    I’m in Australia and have been home roasting for about one month.

    Today I dropped in to my roaster to show off my new bottomless portafilter.

    She actually mentioned to me I should get into home roasting long before I was ready to ask if she’d sell me green beans.

    Well today she asked my opinion on heatguns, as she is thinking of trying that method of roasting for sample batches that would be way too small for her commercial sized roaster.

    It’s attitudes like hers that grow the industry.
    Attitudes like his don’t.

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