The Roast – Emma MW

You might not have known that our fantastic Guild member and Event Manager Emma MW is also a roaster. She’s just branched out from her already remarkable industry strengths to launch her own wholesale roasting company & a new blend that alludes to her English heritage
Find out a lot more about the Emma Markland Webster right here
What is your earliest coffee related experience? My father spent some time in Kenya with the Royal Engineers when I was around 5 years old. One of the things he brought back was coffee, along with some tasty chocolate covered animal biscuits. I didn’t drink it, being only 5, but I loved the smell of it being freshly ground.
When / why did you first get working in coffee? I used to be a chef and have always been in and around hospitality. My first real job in coffee was being a barista at the Dixon Street Deli in Wellington a few years ago now…
What led you to becoming a roaster? Well as much as I am learning about roasting, I don’t technically roast just yet. Maybe one day. I read and study about roasting and profiling, and cup regularly. I profile/develop my blends of course. My latest one is aptly named ‘The Geezer’ My roasters called John!
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up? A 60kg Petroncini drum & a 0.9kg Belaroma hot air roaster. The big boy used to live in the Caffe L’affare College Street café in Wellington.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favorite “tool” you use in your role? My cupping spoon, it’s an Indonesian wood & sliver number.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting? I love talking to people on what they taste in coffee. It is a constant surprise as to how people taste so differently. I love to hear the language coffee drinkers use, as apposed to coffee people use. We can learn a lot if we take the time to listen.
Talk us through a typical work day. 1st thing first; coffee, mac & nicotine, breakfast of champions! Check emails, herd cats and generally run around a lot fueled by espresso. No day is ever the same in my world.
What are your roles outside of roasting? Event Manger for NZSCA, which brings a huge variety to my day. I could be working on the NZ latte Art, barista guild, symposium or AGM or on any number of different events in any given day. I do quite a bit of training and of course working on Small Batch Roasted by me (the coffee side of things). I’m also a very active committee member on the instructional design committee for World Coffee Events. Charged with developing and designing training modules for the various WCE events.
Have you visited Origin? Of the 14 or so years in coffee I have never stepped foot in a coffee farm or plantation. One day I would like to visit Kenya or Ethiopia. If I had to pick one, I’d go Kenya as it is my all time favorite origin.
Any fire stories? No not me apart from setting fire to myself a few times!… I have heard so many fire stories. I think David Burton is the best fire storyteller there is. Guaranteed to put off anyone considering to start a coffee business.