The Roast – Aaron Wyatt

What is your earliest coffee related experience? Delivering tea & coffee to customers with dad during the school holidays 70’s & 80’s ( all office coffee in those days ). Picking up coffee from Murray Connelly at Robert Harris pre Cerebos Greggs.
When/why did you first get working in coffee? My father has been involved in the tea & coffee industry in NZ since before I was born so I guess there was always a pretty good chance I to would end up selling coffee
What led you to becoming a roaster? The sale of “Burton Hollis Coffee” to “Bell Tea”
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up? I am currently roasting on a 10kg “Leogap” in the mornings and a 30kg “Petroncini” in the afternoons.
The Leogap is a Brazilian made roaster with an interesting double burning system, although it has no external afterburner it produces no smoke or chaff.
The Petro is just an awesome old girl. Built in the mid 1960’s, it has no bells or whistles, indirect gas train produces a beautiful soft roast.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favourite ‘tool’ you use in your role? My blender saves a lot of mucking around. Not having to do the blending in the cooling tray is great. 100kg Petroncini same age as the roaster.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting? I get the most satisfaction from selling fresh fresh coffee to the public direct from the roastery.
Talk us through a typical work day At the moment all I seem to do is roast coffee. 6 days a week, Kingsland (Central Auck) in the AM and Drury (Sth Auck) in the PM.
What are your roles outside of roasting? Part time barista, managing director ( 4 companies ), father, husband, lifestyle farmer, not necessarily in that order
Have you visited Origin? No, but would very much like to get over to Brazil.

Any fire stories? In the “Mansion House”- “Burton Hollis” days fires seemed like quite a common occurrence . The staff were on a first name basis with the guys at the Manukau fire dept. One in particular was a beauty and could have been much worse. In more recent times, I had a fairly good one a couple of years ago at Roma that resulted in an exploding chaff collector. I am touching wood and thinking “I need to clean out my flues” as I write this.