Westword: Tell us a little about your history as a coffee roaster. Jeremy Turner: I've been doing it now for about eight-and-a-half years.
WW: Why did you decide to start working as a roaster, and when did you know it was what you wanted to do? JT: I decided to work as a roaster after working in coffee shops for a few years and the opportunity presented itself. I knew it was what I wanted to do when we bought the roaster and started roasting our own coffee. I wanted to make something better (and cheaper) than what we were getting from our coffee supplier.
WW: How would you recommend someone get started in your field? JT: I would recommend reading as much as you can find about coffee; there aren't many good books out there about coffee that are written for anyone beyond the casual consumer, but one book I would recommend is Espresso Coffee: the Science of Quality, by Andrea Illy. It's a very detailed, comprehensive book about coffee, from its cultivation and cultivars to the harvest and processing. It's also a very detailed examination of the roasting process, as well as an exhaustive examination of the brewing of espresso. It really has more info about coffee than anyone would ever need. I read it a few times.
WW: Can you describe an average day? JT: My day starts at 6 a.m. I start by pre-heating the roaster for about 20 minutes. While the roaster is heating up I usually check our website to see if there are any online orders to fill. I also take this time to check our store voicemail for any wholesale orders. After the roaster is heated I roast the coffee I need for the day to fill my orders. Then shut down the roaster and clean it out before heading to the post office to ship out any online orders. Lastly I return to our coffee shop with any coffee I have to sell in the shop.
WW: What's the best part about your job? JT: It pays well and I pretty much set my own hours. I get to be creative with blends and I get to make a product that a lot of people really enjoy and couldn't make it through their day without. It's a pretty sweet deal now that I think about it.
WW: What's the worst part? JT: I guess dealing with coffee shop owners. For a business with the name "coffee" in its name, coffee shop owners are really bad at remembering to order coffee.
WW: How about the biggest misconception? JT: I'm not sure if there are misconceptions about roasting coffee. Maybe people believe that coffee has to be from Columbia in order to be good. While coffee from Columbia is good, I don't think it would make it into my top five favorite origins. My favorites would be, in order: Ethiopia, Sumatra, Flores, Kenya and Costa Rica.
WW: Anything you're particularly proud or embarrassed of? JT: I am really proud of building a coffee brand that has been so successful from scratch (with a lot of help from my coworkers).