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Red Roaster Coffee

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Red Roaster Coffee

The plan with the TUT blog was to write posts about all the good things in life and while much of that is knitting and yarn, I have a complete addiction to good coffee. There’s an independent company that roasts near where I live and I’m very lucky to know the roaster (his partner is a knitter, naturally). I asked Paul of Red Roaster about his experiences and thought I would share them here for all you coffee addicts out there.

(c) Red Roaster Coffee

Located in the centre of Brighton, Redroaster is an original and independent coffee house that that until recently, hand roasted on the red roaster located behind the counter. Due to demand and popularity of the fabulous blends, a second roastery was required just down the road which Paul., the chief Roaster manages.  Paul was a member of the winning UK team at a specialty coffee competition in Moscow last year and has uniquely been placed in the top four of the Speciality Coffee Association’s annual cupping (tasting) competition for three years so when it comes to coffee, you’re in great hands. Here’s what Paul had to say:

What started your passion for coffee?

I never drank tea or coffee at all when I was young except for a trip to Portugal when I was 18, I tried a coffee in a cafe on the Spanish border, I was slightly surprised to get some treacle-like substance in the bottom of a small cup!

What exactly is your role at Red Roaster and how did you train for it?

I am not sure when I started drinking coffee regularly, perhaps sometime in my early twenties, I progressed from “fancy” instant to filter and then to espresso after buying a machine at a car boot sale. I also started collecting coffee paraphernalia at this time as I was fascinated by all the different inventions for producing a cup of coffee.

My first job involving coffee was at a sandwich bar in Lewes, where I thought we were making really good coffee but looking back it was awful. I left to take care of my sons full time until they went to school and once they were in school I looked for a job and found an ad for a coffee enthusiast to work in a new coffee house in Brighton. I got the job in January 2001, Redroaster had opened the previous September. At the time my boss, Tim, was doing the roasting on a the small 3k roaster but was himself a beginner as he had only recently done a course in the US and practised a bit of home roasting. I started roasting in Easter of  2001 so that Tim could go on holiday. There was no information anywhere about roasting techniques, the coffee industry in those days was still secretive about blends and methods. I persevered and by trial and error I developed my style of roasting and was also learning what beans were available and when to buy them.
Over the years Tim relinquished more control to me so that now I choose all the coffees, create all the blends and calibrate the machines. What I love most about coffee is all the variables there are to play with. The entire process from growing to drinking is full of choices from bean varietal, harvesting,  processing, storage and shipping, roasting, grinding and brewing. There is something of a search for the holy grail of coffee, that one cup that is just perfect, that you don’t want to end. There is also the surprise of a new coffee from a new region or farm that is just so interesting and delicious.

(c) Red Roaster Coffee

Any recommendations for recipes/ unusual drinks including coffee?

I am a  total purist, I have never tried coffee with milk or sugar despite the fact that I have made 1000’s of lattes and cappucinos. The secret to good coffee is to buy freshly roasted whole beans and grind just before brewing, drinking it as black as it comes. My favourite method at the moment is a “Clever Dripper” as it gives you all the flavour and body of a french press but without the sludge. The golden rule when making coffee is to use a ratio of 60g to 1litre of water.

A huge thank you to Paul for sharing that insight into the roasting word with us and making me crave more fabulous coffee. To get your supply of coffee, visit the Red Roaster website here.
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