heat waves

January 22, 2015

Heat waves shimmer off the cyclone of the chaff collector. I stand atop the ladder, trying to get a good Instagram of the cooling tray.

The warehouse was forty-five degrees this morning, but thanks to the 90-kilo, it warmed to a balmy sixty-five. 

"It's these heat waves." I think to myself, singing the "Heat Wave" tune, grateful.

Last year we were only roasting on the 12-kilo and it doesn't generate nearly as many heat waves.

Standing over the cooling tray, I remember stressing over the batch size of the Probat.

We went from outputting 15lbs of coffee per batch (on the 12-kilo) to 60 lbs per batch. Pouring half a bag of specialty grade fully washed Burundi Kinyovu into the stainless grain elevator was pure ecstasy. "I'm gonna cook 75 lbs!" The coffee sitting in the hopper seemed so massive, so deep and so fragile. 

I wrung my hands as Mark trained us on the control panel, trained us on the special ways you gotta treat a roast machine if you want it to serve you well. 

My co-workers watched as I tentatively charged my first batch. I was almost guessing at the proper charge temperature and air to bean ratio for this system. Remembering that, while sample roasting, the Burundian seeds had blown my mind with their density, requiring a much higher charge temperature than the others I had sampled that day. 

The first big roast went fine. Fifteen minutes later the beans were lifting into the silo. Our quality control cupping the next day confirmed with my boss that I could do it. Thankfully. 

Now, as I peer into this cooling tray, I'm grateful. I'd have to work my fingers to the bone, if I still only had that 12-kilo to roast on and I'd be cold too!