The Roast – Mike Youmans

What is your earliest coffee related experience?
My memory isn’t that good, especially for distant past memories, however a glass knob peculator bubbling away stirs in the depths of the grey matter along with memory of drinking too much instant coffee over the years!
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
Quite recently, Aug 2011. A chance meeting and the opportunity to watch some coffee roasting, which really intrigued me, eventually led to an offer to be the roaster!
What led you to becoming a roaster?
The opportunity to learn/do something completely different with hours that suited what I was looking for at the time. I’m always looking for interesting new challenges in life.
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up?
A 15kg Petroncini. Nothing unique about it that I’m aware of but I guess every set up is somewhat unique.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favourite “tool” you use in your role?
The raw power of the afterburners pretty cool!
What do you find most rewarding about roasting?
Success in getting the roast profiles as consistent as possible and the positive comments back from customers as to the enjoyment and pleasure they get from our coffee!
Talk us through a typical work day
Working part time with hours as required, I don’t really have a typical day with the possible exception of the 2 days a week that are roast days. On these days first up in the day is a quick clean out of the chaff collector and cooling tray, check over the roaster and begin roaster warm up. During warm up the roast schedule for the day is determined; records, bins etc prepared. Some blending and bagging may get done. I roast between about 140 and 200kg green per day. By the end of this I’m pretty knackered!
What are your roles outside of roasting?
As well as roasting, roaster maintenance and associated green and roasted bean stock management, I also look after equipment repairs (company and customer espresso, grinders etc) and am involved in some broader business processes ie. staff customer satisfaction training, events support and other things make for an interesting and varied role.
Have you visited Origin? Any interesting harvest trip experiences or story? or which origin would you most like to visit and why?
No Origin visit yet, but early days! Any Origin would be interesting to visit to see the bean processing and more fully understand the lot of the farmers and cooperatives.
Any fire stories?
Fortunately no fires yet but I have had the chaff burner smoldering away on a couple of occasions towards the end of a big roast day.