We roast your coffee using the fluid bed method, commonly called air roasting.
Back in 2011, after Glenn got the idea to start a coffee roasting company, he researched roasting methods and equipment. It didn’t take long to see that, for a company starting out with no capital (investment, loan or otherwise), the Sonofresco one pound air roaster was within reach financially.
After getting feedback from customers on how much they loved the coffee, we invested in a second one pound roaster and a two pound roaster – both from Sonofresco.
Aside from it being easy financially for us to start with a Sonofresco (we never wanted to become a coffee shop, which is a whole different business model), we are in love with the aroma, flavor and clean quality of air roasted coffee. Our customers are too.
Where All Roasts Start
Every roaster starts with green coffee beans. Coffee is grown in a specific geographic area of the earth known as the coffee belt. The coffee plant is a cherry type plant. The coffee bean is the pit inside the fruit.
Roasters typically procure their coffee through coffee brokers, direct trade, foundations like Cafe Femenino, or through forming relationships with farmers and supporting their work directly.
Once a roaster has green beans, the next step is to roast them. Roasting is simply transforming the green beans from hard, dense pits into slightly larger, more porous beans in varying shades of brown or black – light, medium or dark.
The two main factors in coffee roasting are heat and time.
The Air Roasting Method Explained
Fluid bed roasting uses hot air to roast coffee beans. Think of a popcorn popper, or check out our Sonofresco in action.
The reason many people swear that air roasted coffee tastes better than the more conventional drum roasting method, is twofold:
First, as the beans roast, the chaff on the outside of the bean flakes off. Chaff is a thin, membrane like layer that is the final remnant of the coffee cherry pulp.
When beans are air roasted, the chaff flakes off and is blown into a separate chamber and disposed of later. In drum roasting, the chaff falls into the drum where the coffee is roasting, and is burned into the coffee, creating potential for burnt tasting beans.
Second, when beans are air roasted, they don’t touch the surface of a drum – thus no scorching potential from the hot surface. This also produces a more even roast.
You can see more of our roasters in action in this video (which was originally made for a successful Kickstarter project we ran in 2018).
Reflections of a Coffee Snob
In the coffee business there are a lot of experts, but few know what they are talking about.
– Mike Sivetz
I love this quote because, while there is so much coffee snobbery out there, you have to search to find real experts (I also think this holds true in any industry). After doing quite a bit of reading at various times and for various purposes, what I like about Mike Sivetz is that he seemed to have had quite an attitude (he died in 2012) – and the goods to back it up.
Mike Sivetz invented the air roaster for the coffee industry after designing a fluid-bed system to remove water molecules in magnesium pellets. With a background in chemical engineering, and positions with General Foods and Folgers early in his career (where his sole concern was volume – roasting coffee 24/7), he met a German engineer who was working on a fluid bed design for roasting coffee.
He liked the idea of applying fluid bed technology to roasting – and when he decided to open a retail coffee roasting business, he wasn’t happy with the choice of roasters out there. So he invented one! And tirelessly advocated for air roasting after doing so.
Of course I am biased, but to me air roasted coffee has a distinctive and superior taste and aroma.
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