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I bought my first espresso machine in 1971. Once the mechanics of pulling shots became second nature, it was time to pay more attention to the coffee itself. That’s why, in 1982 I decided to start roasting. In 1985, I hired Scott and taught him what I knew about it. Around 1987 Scott took over production roasting, and Walt came aboard and learned from both Scott and me. Today, in late 2015 going on 2016, Scott and Walt...

Roasters Guild is part of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA). They have an annual three day gathering for classes, workshops, and camaraderie. The roasting tent houses over twenty small roast machines of various makes. I think the biggest take-away for me is that a single coffee ends up cupping differently depending on who roasted it and in which roaster. If there are twenty people roasting the exact same coffee, it has twenty different taste characteristics. And that’s even if the roasters and...

Also referred to as coffee varieties or varietals, most sub-species of coffee are cultivars, which means cultivated, or selectively bred - “single origin” simply indicates that the coffee is from one specific geographic location. Some species are native, some are intentional hybrids, and some are mutations that occurred naturally (but those differences are for a more extensive discussion than I have time for here). Types of cultivars available today include Typica, Catuai, Bourbon, Caturra, Pacamara, Geisha, Mundo Novo, and Maragogype,...

[caption id="attachment_1078" align="alignleft" width="250"] The Michigan Contingent[/caption] 13th Roaster's Guild Retreat The Roaster's Guild, a group within the Specialty Coffee Association (SCAA), held their annual retreat in West Virginia for the second time this year. This is the closest it comes to Michigan, and a nice contingent of our state's roasters made the trek. The Guild is a large group, and about 150 people attended. Three full days of roasting, cupping and classroom workshops make up the bulk of the retreat, during...

Previously, we discussed degrees of roasting and the 1990’s trend toward dark roasted coffees. In explaining the trend toward dark roasts, we mentioned American travel to Europe, the growing popularity of coffee houses, and other culinary phenomena, which gave rise – among some drinkers – to a preference for darker roasts.

The Specialty Coffee Association came together in 1984. At that time small specialty roasters and shop owners made up the membership. It didn’t take long for the trade group to grow to what it is today: a broad mix of roasters, both large and small, coffee shops of all sorts, and hundreds of allied members. Eleven years ago, a small group of specialty roasters once again felt they needed a trade group to better represent them, this time within the SCAA. They created the Roasters Guild. (The Barista Guild has a similar background).