The Roast – Richard Goatley

Meet NZ Roaster guild member Richard from Auckland…
What is your full name and the name of the company you work for?
Richard Goatley, Altezano Brothers
What is your earliest coffee related experience?
We grew up in Central America. I remember first trying coffee as a four year old: black, sweet, boiled with maize, and served with a pan dulce.
When / why did you first get working in coffee?
I started Altezano with two of my brothers as a means of avoiding a legal career.
What led you to becoming a roaster?
The belief that there was room for a small roaster buying specialty coffees from origin to roast here … and my Jurisprudence lecturer inadvertently convincing me that law was not for me.
What do you roast on, anything unique about your set up?
A 24kg Diedrich with infrared burners … which we have modified, modified, and modified some more. We may never stop!
Apart from your roasting machine (in its factory floor form), what’s your favourite “tool” you use in your role?
I think my favourite would be Skype. I can have a “face to face” with a grower at origin … and that still seems novel and incredible to me.
What do you find most rewarding about roasting?
It is a process that cannot be rushed … a ritual that takes precedence over the phone or an email … a constant in the busy-ness.
Talk us through a typical work day
There really is no such thing … which is a mercy.
What are your roles outside of roasting?
The usual admin fun of having a small business … and it’s no secret I like to keep up to date with how the pastries taste.
Have you visited Origin? Any interesting harvest trip experiences or story? or which origin would you most like to visit and why?
Absolutely. Part of the idea of Altezano Brothers germinated while visiting a coffee Estate in Nicaragua called Selva Negra. Our mother lived in Nicaragua at the time, and we ended up staying at the plantation. Although we don’t buy from Nicaragua, we do source a lot of our coffee from the same communities where we grew up, and in particular, El Salvador. We buy directly from Andreas Giron who came to NZ to be with us for a year and get a better understanding of our role in the journey from crop to cup. He is a fine example of the next generation of coffee grower: a Cup of Excellence finalist focused on quality, and eager to see his coffees appreciated at the most discerning end of the world’s coffee market.
Any fire stories?
None on the Diedrich … touch wood – we keep it spotless!