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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...

[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...

Anyone who's pulled a shot of espresso knows temperature and humidity can affect the pour.  Many baristas adjust the grind and dose to compensate. Similar factors influence the way we roast. You've probably noticed how light our dark roast coffees look the first day of 15-degree temperatures. We get at least one call per year wondering if we sent the right coffee! Rest assured we tell them, it will darken in a day or two at room temperature. Warm summer temps age...

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).

Folks who make coffee their profession understand – there are many steps to a great cup. It starts with green beans, and involves roasting, brewing and serving. The green beans alone require a certain depth of knowledge, including genetics, growing regions, processing techniques, sorting, and shipping. Let’s take a look at how we choose our coffees.

A word on degrees of roasting. The popularity of coffee houses brought with it a taste toward dark roasts. Prior to the 1990s, the preference for dark roast was limited. Espresso brewing changed that, and the Starbucks Phenomenon has popularized even darker roasts.