For coffee roasting businesses around the world, sample roasting is a critical step in building a coffee program. Not only is sample roasting fundamental in assessing coffee quality, but developing a structured sample roasting protocol is crucial for your business from planning your next green coffee purchase to providing useful feedback to your partners throughout the supply chain. However, this valuable skill is one not often taught to roasters as they learn and develop the rest of their roasting repertoire. We're proud to share a course that covers the many aspects of sample roasting, from receiving samples to evaluation, in The Comprehensive Coffee Sample Roasting Course featuring Mark Michaelson!
Course Curriculum Overview
The Comprehensive Coffee Sample Roasting Course was designed and written by Ildi Revi, M.Ad.Ed., Ally Coffee's Director of Performance. With her years of experience in both roasting and education she created this course to help roasters learn not only the process of sample roasting, but it's purpose, intention, and function in a global coffee industry. "People think of sample roasting as roasting in a smaller machine, and, on the very surface, that's what it is. But there are very different goals for sample roasting—such as finding suitable replacement coffees that will keep blend profiles consistent—especially when you're evaluating green coffee," explains Ildi. In order to include all of the information that makes this resource truly comprehensive, the course is presented in a self-paced multimedia format that you can return time and again including instructional videos, powerpoint presentations, a digital PDF companion workbook, and a series of video conversations featuring our video instructor, 2017 U.S. Roaster Champion Mark Michaelson, and Ally Coffee COO Ricardo Pereira.
The course’s practical video instruction is presented by Mark Michaelson, a roasting consultant, Q Arabica Grader, and the 2017 U.S. Roaster Champion. His extensive experience as a roaster provides insight into the process of sample roasting in your roastery. “What we'll be learning is how to sample roast correctly, what the actual protocols are, and why we take so much care to do the protocols,” Michaelson explains.
Mark’s roasting instruction is designed to be applicable to roasters using a wide variety of equipment to produce roasted coffee samples. “We tried to show every single type of roasting machine that's out there so that people can have a real life example of how to roast whether it's on a production roaster, a two-barrel, or an IKAWA,” says Michaelson. Instruction details typical use of both one and two barrels of a Probat electric two-barrel sample roaster, an IKAWA electric sample roaster, and Diedrich IR-2.5 production roaster, as well as the relevant maintenance needed to keep your machine running soundly.
Beyond the process of roasting, Mark also instructs on the necessary steps that come both before and after the sample roast itself. This instruction includes details on organizing and managing a program for your business with the appropriate forms and paperwork, taking plenty of notes before, during, and after your roast, and how to evaluate your sample through both color analysis and cupping.
The Comprehensive Coffee Sample Roasting Course Companion Workbook is an invaluable resource bringing together practical roasting concepts, thoroughly researched information, and educational resources like detailed learning objectives, self-assessment quizzes, and several tables, charts, and references to help you get the most out of the self-paced online course. The book is divided into three primary units—The Business of Sample Roasting, Evaluation, Record-keeping, and Documentation, and Consistent, Standardized Sample Roasting.
The Business of Sample Roasting introduces the idea of sample roasting as a formal procedure in the global industry. The unit covers contract and sample types, all of the tasks associated with sample roasting in your business, and the organizational needs to run a successful sample roasting program.
Evaluation, Record-keeping, and Documentation is filled with technical information and scientific explanations of several important qualities to consider when sample roasting. Loaded with explanations and sources, this section details how to evaluate physical characteristics of your green coffee—characteristics like water activity, density, and defects—and how those evaluations can inform your roasting decisions for quality results.
Consistent, Standardized Sample Roasting examines basic roasting principles and how those can be applied to roasting green coffee samples in your roastery. Through both practical and scientific lenses Ildi teaches roasting concepts, the key stages of roasting, the science behind some of the chemical changes happening in your coffee, and provides details on benchmark times and temperatures for different roast stages to occur in order to produce consistent roasted coffee samples. This unit also examines in detail each of the roasting machines featured in our video instruction, including their operation and maintenance, to help you understand your tools more completely.
While the instructional videos and companion workbook are designed to provide all of the information needed to run your sample roasting program, there’s much more to green coffee samples than just technical know-how. In our video conversations bringing together industry veterans Ricardo Pereira and Mark Michaelson, the two of them explore the human element of sample roasting.
A primary function of a green coffee sample, beyond helping you find your next single origin or espresso blend component, is to foster communication and relationships between roasters and their partners. “A sample is a tool for communicating. If you're not communicating back to your importer—the quality of the sample, what you're thinking about that sample, if that sample is fitting your needs or not—there's a broken link. That's why communication is so important,” explains Ricardo. This kind of communication includes both general and specific needs for your coffee program—information like a particular price point, origin, quality level, or sensory profile you’re seeking for your business—and helps to facilitate conversations between you and your partners which simplify your green buying process.
Through these conversations, Ricardo and Mark discuss topics like best practices between importers and roasters, the importance of sample protocol in the industry, and fostering relationships throughout the coffee industry. These videos showcase two coffee professionals from different points in the supply chain talking about their years of experience, shedding light on how establishing a sample roasting program for your roastery isn’t only a wise business decision, but a choice that nurtures the much needed symbiosis between each player in the supply chain.
Ready to Get Started?
Bringing together the experience of Ildi Revi, Mark Michaelson, Ricardo Pereira, and Ally Coffee, The Comprehensive Coffee Sample Roasting Course featuring Mark Michaelson is a fantastic educational resource designed to lift your coffee program to new heights, inform you on how to create efficient and useful results from your green coffee samples, and help you to deepen the relationships that you forge with the people involved in your coffee from the farm to your roasting machine.
Head to The Comprehensive Coffee Sample Roasting Course for all the details. It’s never too late to expand your knowledge, adopt new skills, and find new ways to continue moving coffee forward!