I've been wondering for a while what led me on this journey to becoming a coffee roaster, and it finally dawned on me. I have had a passion for coffee for a long time, but what was the original attraction? Nowadays coffee is available 24/7, in many formats and locations, good quality and bad. The industry is in it's 5th wave, with coffee shops in the daytime, that become pop-up bars at night. But when I started working in my 20's there was a lot less choice. The first branded coffee stores were starting to appear on the high street and I could barely walk past one without wanting to pop-in. With their shiny espresso machines, dim lighting and promise of a a few moments of watching the outside world tick by while I drank my coffee - my coffee, my time. I was hooked! That was it......the ability to stop time. In those days the coffee wasn't great, and the service was patchy, but I still loved the relaxed experience of squishy sofas, newspapers and chilled music, while other people's lives rushed by.
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it
Over the years since, the choice and quality of coffee has improved, and you can decide when you take your coffee time-out. A coffee shop, a meeting place, a bar, or at home. The speciality coffee industry has been developing since the 1970s, focusing on the whole process from farm to cup, developing the best way to roast and extract coffee, to give you the taste and feel that is personal to you.
When I was lucky enough to be given the gift of a barista training course for my 40th birthday, I loved it, but what surprised me the most was how fascinating I found the science of the development of the coffee beans themselves. Being a 'people' person it was an unusual interest for me. So, that's where it started.... and from then basic and more advanced roasting training followed. I now understand much more about the science, and I am lucky enough to run my own micro-roastery. But every day is a school day and I continue to develop the taste of coffee that works for me, my friends and my customers, to give them their coffee-time, just how they like it.
In the words of Ferris Bueller "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it"