The Roast – Kerry Murray

Meet Kerry Murray who is now based in Wellington but has worked in Auckland and Nelson. He is head roaster at Caffe L’affare, find out more here:
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
That’s so long ago in the mists of time past, when instant ruled and a café was somewhere you could get a slightly dried up sandwich with luncheon sausage in it.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I brought a café on Waiheke Island in 1995, so it was in at the deep end with no previous experience. One way to learn rather quickly.
What led you to becoming a roaster?
A chance conversation! I was on holiday visiting family in Nelson and was having an espresso at Pomeroys Coffee & Tea’s shop, when it came up that their roaster was leaving. Two hours and an interview with Hayden and Leigh later, we were working out how to move to Nelson from central Auckland.
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up?
Our main roaster is a Probat 120kg, we also use a 10kg Trabattoni and
A Dietrich for sample roasts.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favorite “tool” you use in your role?
I don’t really have a favorite; I like all the tools we use, from the moisture meter to the P.I.D controller for cupping water temperature.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting?
Taking green beans and making them into something that people enjoy consuming. Also the fact that this is an industry where you never stop learning about what you do.
Talk us through a typical work day
Start up the roaster and while it gets up to temperature cup some samples.
Then a typical roasting day is 5-6 hours on the Probat followed by maintenance and clean up
What are your roles outside of roasting?
Cupping, blend development and maintenance, particle testing, basically a lot of QC. And trainer for our internal sensory training module for cerebos
Have you visited Origin? Any interesting harvest trip experiences or story? or which origin would you most like to visit and why?

Yes Ethiopia – Yirgacheffe, Sidama and Harrar growing regions.
Being the first Europeans to visit café Jenatata farmer co-op in the Harrar region, where we camped out in tents, brought and slaughtered a goat (we called him Stu). Who was then cooked over an open fire.
The coffee we tried there was fantastic.
Any fire stories?
At Pomeroys Coffee and Tea we had a hot air roaster that decided to run in reverse after a power cut, the end result was a lot of smoke and the local fire brigade….