A Day In the Life at Our Roasting Facility
POSTED. Jul 7, 2021
Monday is typically our busiest production day. We fulfill all online orders that came in over the weekend as well as any wholesale orders that were placed. Many of our wholesale partners order on Monday morning, and since all of our coffee is roasted to order, that means we typically have our work cut out for us. Here is a breakdown of what a standard Monday looks like at our roasting facility in Bay City, MI.
Our production roaster, Bailey, dropping a batch of roasted coffee
8:00 - I (Logan) come in first. I don’t roast all of the coffee anymore, but I still like to roast on Monday. This gives me an opportunity to continuously work on the roast profiles, take inventory of our green coffee, and forecast new coffees for the coming weeks.
8:01 - I immediately put water on to boil in our electric kettle. I pull samples from previously roasted batches of coffee to brew. This first coffee is of a more utilitarian nature than anything. There will be more time to do more in depth quality control later.
8:02 - I start the roaster. We do three heat cycles before roasting our first batch of coffee. Meaning we heat the roaster up to operating temperature and then cool it back down again. We do this to ensure the roaster itself is fully warmed through, and no heat will be lost in the metal once we begin the roasting process.
8:10 - The water is now warm in the electric kettle and I brew some coffee. I like to use a V60.
8:15 - Coffee is now brewed, while the roaster is still warming up I begin to process all of the orders that will need to go out that day. This includes wholesale orders, orders from our website, and orders from 3rd party services like Mistobox. We tally up quantities of each coffee and determine how many batches of each we will need to roast.
8:30 - I begin weighing out the first handful of batches I will need to roast for the day.
A batch of green, un-roasted coffee
8:45 - I try to have my first batch of coffee in the roaster by 8:45.
9:00 - Our production roaster, Bailey, is now in.
In between roasting I begin printing the different labels we will need for each coffee. We have specific label stock for the different bag sizes, all of which are labeled with the name of the coffee and the appropriate roast date.
9:05 - Bailey begins putting the labels on the appropriate bags and organizing the production workflow for the day including the shipping labels and invoices for the corresponding orders.
10:00 - Production is well under way now. We can usually roast around 3 or 4 batches of coffee in an hour, depending on the specific profile and batch size, this includes time to cool the roaster down between batches.
10:05 - On Mondays we usually listen to the new episode of the Dave Chang show. I start to think about food and will text my wife and ask if she has any ideas for dinner that evening.
11:00 - We continuously package the coffee once it is cool and begin to pack the orders.
11:30 - Our green coffee order usually comes on Mondays. We work with a couple of different coffee importers, so the deliveries are usually between 6 and 12 bags depending on what we need that week. The delivery driver is nice.
We don’t have a garage door, so we cut down the pallets and bring the bags in one at a time on a dolly. It isn’t the most convenient way to do it, but I don’t mind it as long as the weather is decent.
12:00 - If we receive a brand new coffee in the order, I typically add it to the roast queue as I am always eager to roast new coffees for the first time.
12:15 - Following the first batch of a new coffee, I like to print the roast curves from Cropster, our roasting software, and take a moment to analyze them. I look for certain benchmarks we aim for when profiling coffees. How quickly did it reach certain temperatures? How long between 300 degrees and first crack? How quickly does the rate of rise decrease? I make note of this information and get an idea of possible changes I will make next time I roast it.
12:30 - After I have assessed the roast curves, Bailey and I cup the sample roast and assess the flavor. I am looking for characteristics such as sweetness, acidity, and body. I then draw parallels between the flavor profile and the roast profile. For instance, “the aroma isn’t as bright as I’d like, I could increase the charge temp to speed up the drying phase”.
1:00 - Back into production now, the latter of the day is when we roast most of our blends. Because the blends, such as Espresso Clutch, are sold in such large quantities to cafes, they can be upwards of ⅔ of the amount of coffee roasted in a day.
2:00 - Still roasting away.
3:00 - Most of the roasting is done now, we finish packaging any remaining coffee and pack orders.
We clean the roaster and the production space at the end of the day. This includes emptying the chaff collector, vacuuming any stray chaff from the various nooks and crannies, sweeping up any stray beans, green or roasted, and wiping down all services.
4:00 - The coffee for the online orders is off to the post office and the wholesale coffee heads to UPS where it is shipped to our wholesale partners.