The artisan skill of coffee roasting is as important to the coffee industry as a brewer is to craft beer. You can’t have coffee shops without coffee and you can’t brew coffee without someone to roast the coffee beans. As the specialty coffee industry has grown, coffee roasting has become a viable career choice for coffee lovers around the world.
Growth Of Specialty Coffee
Specialty coffee has become big business over the last 10 years. Consider that in 2005 there were 42,909 coffee shops in the United States and by 2015 that number had increased to 53,987. Is this a result of the third wave coffee movement? It certainly is a factor, as coffee drinkers are more savvy today than ever about what makes a quality cup of coffee. (If you’re not familiar with third wave, we wrote about it here, The History of First, Second, and Third Wave Coffee.)
There are 30 million coffee drinkers in the United States who order specialty coffee from a coffee shop every day.
While roasting coffee is the primary skill of a professional coffee roaster, it’s only one of many responsibilities that comes with the job. Coffee roasters will have some part in almost every step of production. From assisting the purchase of green coffee, to quality control in blending and packaging, today’s coffee roaster is a “jack of all trades” for the business.
Coffee Roaster Job Description
To illustrate the diversity of a coffee roasters role in the industry, here is a recent job description for Coffee Roaster, posted on our Coffee Jobs page:
The Job Summary: The Coffee Roaster position requires the key elements of a commitment to quality and a passion for coffee. You will be required to collaborate in coffee tastings and cuppings, learn and demonstrate an understanding of the fundamentals of coffee roasting, and manage quality control throughout the roasting process.
The coffee jobs listing further outlined the Coffee Roaster’s Job Responsibilities:
- Running all roasting systems, which includes greens thrower and batcher.
- Maintaining accurate and thorough data collection
- Ability to perform maintenance on roasting equipment
- Ability to troubleshoot production issues and communicate those issues with the team
- Have an understanding of roaster curves, burner ratios, and roast styles
- Participate in daily coffee tastings
- A knowledge of product coding and date/lot coding
- Knowledge of safety standards and maintaining a safe work environment
- Demonstrate basic computer skills
If you love participating in every element of the production of coffee, coffee roasting will be a very fulfilling career choice. Interested? Here are three ways to get your start as a coffee roaster.
3 Ways To Become A Professional Coffee Roaster
In our Coffee Jobs: A Complete Guide To A Career In Coffee eBook, we outline three opportunities for making coffee roasting a career.
1.Invest in a Roasting Program – There are a number of reputable coffee roasting programs available across the U.S. They are designed to not only train you in skills of professional roasting, but educate you on the full production process. This route will be a financial investment, but rewards are significant. [ Our Top 3 Picks For Roasting Education Programs ]
2. Become a Coffee Roasters Apprentice – A roasters apprentice is a great way to learn the coffee business from top to bottom. On-the-job training from a seasoned coffee roaster allows you to experience the day to day responsibilities first hand. A bonus – learning how to react to the unexpected and patiently work through roasting challenges.
3. The Self-Taught Approach – This do-it-yourself approach usually starts with a passion for coffee and honing roasting skills right in your own backyard. Many coffee roasters have begun their career this way. When working on your resume, don’t hesitate to share the details of your home-grown “Roasting Experience”.
Ready to make coffee roasting a career? The industry is ready for qualified roasters who have a passion for coffee. To learn more about job opportunities in the coffee industry, click below for our Coffee Jobs eBook: Complete Guide To A Career In Coffee.
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