The Roast – Tom Ormond

Tom Ormond is an owner operator roaster from Havelock North’s Hawthorne Coffee. Find out more about Tom here
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
Strong black plunger coffee around the kitchen table at my Grandparents whenever we visited as kids. Granny had these cool Scandinavian coffee cups in different colours with little wooden handles. The coffee was always laffare Primo.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I used to work on film sets for a number of years and spent a bit of time as ‘Unit Manager’ which is basically keeping the crew topped up with snacks, cool drinks and most importantly coffee. I cut my teeth on row of 12 cup Bodum plungers and pump pots. I plunged a serious amount of coffee.
What led you to becoming a roaster?
After moving back from a few years in Scotland and England my wife Benita and I were looking for something to do and it just so happened that Hawthorne was for sale. We both love coffee and liked the idea of moving back to Hawkes Bay. So here we are…
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up?
My roaster is an early 50’s Probat 15Kg. It’s unique in that the manufacturers’ plate on the side says it is a UP15 but according to Google there are no other UP15’s in existence. I’m now sure it’s a UG15 and it’s beautiful.
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favorite “tool” you use in your role?
My ears.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting?
Producing great coffee roast after roast. Our roaster is right out front next to the espresso bar and it’s nice watching people enjoying our coffee while I roast and returning for another day after day.
Talk us through a typical work day
Get into the roastery 730ish. Have a Flat White. Get all the days orders from email/phone/fax and produce an order and roasting spreadsheet with recipes and quantities. Either I or my other roaster Mike hit the Probat. Start roasting. Try and reply to an email or two between cracks. Roast until around lunch, have an espresso or chemex and then its admin, training, more bagging, deliveries etc.
What are your roles outside of roasting?
Owner operator and everything that comes with that.
Have you visited Origin? Any interesting harvest trip experiences or story? or which origin would you most like to visit and why?
Other than the roastery, I also have a baby factory at home so that has put a few wish-list items on the back burner. A trip starting in Mexico down through Colombia then Brazil ending on the beach in Rio would be pretty sweet.
Any fire stories?
Nope. Not yet. I’m sure you will hear about it if we do.