The Roast – Glen Woodcock

NZRG committee member Glen Woodcock shares his interests and why he got into coffee.
What is your earliest coffee related experience? Like many kids growing up in the 70’s my parents had a percolator & a freezer, mum and us kids would go to the original Robert Harris store in Hamilton, maybe two or three times a year to get some pre ground coffee, & like most kids, thought it smelled awesome, but unfortunately was one of the worst tasting beverages I’d ever tried, until, in my late teens I would make the mistake of ordering an espresso from Guiseppe diMao & his eagle adorned Elektra, I have no idea why I timed his extraction in my head {knowing nothing about coffee let alone espresso} but for the record it was 1 1/2 minutes.

When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I had been working for my dad & I suppose the idea was for me to take over the business one day, so I ran off to Queenstown, where I found out that coffee came green & had to be roasted to coax out any “coffee” flavours, it was at Naff Caff with their vintage Otto Swadlo roaster & Gaggia lever machine that I found out that coffee could taste awesome & I guess I fell ion love with coffee.
As soon as the snow melted & the bank cancelled my Visa I got a job in a cafe, unfortunately not Naff Caff, the cafe I worked at only had a filter machine & my boss would reuse spent coffee grounds & only use half of the portion pack if it was a quiet day, I used say I was off to the loo, then run around the corner to Naff Caff for an espresso instead.
What led you to becoming a roaster?
As soon as I got back to Hamilton, my friend & old flat mate the “other glen” came back from his mums in the states, I told him about roasting coffee, we bugged Craig Miller until he sold us a roaster then off we went, the first roast was a bit of a disaster I was looking down the street at about 1 in the morning saw thick clouds of acrid smoke, thought it was the pizza oven over at Cullens on fire again, then went back inside to find that it was I that was responsible, I dropped the roast out just short of the mystical third crack & the ensuing fire.
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up?
We use an old 30kg Petroncini that we rebuilt, a 5kg “Fuji” ripoff & a three barrel Probat sample roaster.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favourite “tool” you use in your role?
My favorite tools are my compressor & duster gun, my pallo roller brush for cleaning the cooling tray, Cropster Roasting Intelligence & my selection of cupping spoons.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting?
I like that I can’t master coffee, it’s always changing, and there is always a new coffee around the corner to taste
Talk us through a typical work day
I’ll have an Aeropress/plunger/chemex at home, usually a delicious cupping leftover {it’s not unusual to a dozen Geisha, Kenya, COE or natural Yirgacheffe samples to choose from in my kitchen}, then I usually walk to work, thinking about what samples I have coming in or something nerdy like roast profiles.
I am always the last at work, one of the others will have started up the Petroncini & I’ll arrive just in time to start roasting {I like to let the Petroncini warm up for about an hour} I’ll have a flat white, weigh out coffee and roast, afterwards I’ll start up the 5kg roaster to roast any single origin coffees, then cup yesterdays production {we do lots & lots of cupping here}, roast samples on the Probat then clean up….. using my air duster gun.
What are your roles outside of roasting? If necessary & it alway is, I’ll pay some bills.
Have you visited Origin? Any interesting harvest trip experiences or story? or which origin would you most like to visit and why?
I have been lucky enough to have travelled to origin a fair bit, I’ve been to Nicaragua where I stayed with some coffee farmers & helped? harvest coffee for a few weeks, Costa Rica, El Salvador, where I judged in a Cup of Excellence, Brasil also to judge in a Cup of Excellence & last month I went to Hacienda El Roble to cup in their 3rd annual Cupping Extravaganza & to Honduras where I visited a few farms & took part in a cupping & roasting workshop put on by ACE.