To celebrate our industry and highlight our Kiwi ‘can do’ nature we decided to contact some of the ladies we knew roasting our tasty brown stuff in NZ and ask them a few questions. The answers were inspiring, surprising and creative.
We discovered that there are at least 30 women roasting, operating 1kg sample roasters through to a behemoth 250kg sized roaster. Some words, themes and practices jumped out at us. They all have similarities in who introduced them to coffee, (Dad and his percolator), how they approach roasting, (no distractions and a game plan) and many are passionate sustainability advocates. We are looking forward to creating events with them and building an online support network.
We invite you to grab a tasty coffee and read their inspiring stories.
Name: Tasha Dimitrof
Company: Excelso Coffee Roastery
Your roaster: Direct heat Proaster 10kg roaster and 20kg Buhler air roaster with afterburner.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: My Winter Seasonal Blend, it is the first blend that I have created from scratch by myself and I couldn’t be happier with it. It is incredibly flexible in terms of brewing, but my favourite way to brew it at the moment is through Espresso 18.5g : 30mls : 33 seconds, gives a beautiful full velvet taste and with a nice chocolate sweetness.
First taste of coffee: I had three times in my life where I had “First Coffee moments” that really stuck with me. First was as a 7 year old annoying my mum at a café to let me try her drink, it was a long back and it ended as expected. The second time was as a teenage barista, and experiencing the satisfaction I got from making a coffee and it tasting excellent. The third time was starting at Excelso. I was introduced to the world of specialty coffee, cupping and filter methods and since then my perception on coffee has never been the same.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: I would have to say that is retaining consistency. I have two different roasters that actually have fundamentally different roasting processes, on top of a product that is ever changing. It sure keeps things interesting.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Tasha’s top tips – soaking green beans at the beginning of a roast. This technique is a go-to especially for coffees that can be difficult to roast evenly.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Bjorn Waling– When I first started at Excelso he was the coffee roaster at the time, he even spent some time with me while back from Europe to help guide me when I took over the roasting position! He has a lot of drive and passion when it comes to coffee roasting and had the knowledge to back it up. His willingness to teach and ability to explain techniques laid down the foundation to my drive and desire to explore into coffee roasting. He is who I emulate when I roast coffee.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: Considering my previous background as a coffee trainer and barista, I have seen many aspects of the New Zealand coffee industry from different perspectives and heard many opinions. But I would say that the biggest changes I would love to see is more accountability for environmental sustainability. We have made significant changes to combat this at Excelso, but I would like to see more roasterys and consumers take accountability for our predominantly single use industries and make the changes necessary.
Name: Betsy Tipping
Company: Rush Coffee Ltd.
Your roaster: Diedrich IR-12 with Zenith II automation (aka Roasty McRoastface – I know, original and hilarious!)
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: We currently have a stunning Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Halu Beriti Natural which is exquisite as a soft brew. We have extended the development time & are taking it to a smidgen past first crack to approx 210 Celsius… heavenly!
First taste of coffee: When I was a child mum and dad used to take us to a different café every now and again as a special treat. I vividly remember that every single time they would rate the coffee out of 10. I wasn’t a huge fan, but soon grew to love the whole café culture – including the coffee itself! I feel embarrassed to say that I previously indulged in – sorry, dad – Vanilla Lattes….with extra sugar… Hey, don’t judge me – we all have a past! I have since learned the error of my ways and now delight in a perfectly extracted long black.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Brute strength… I can’t shift the large sacks as well as my husband Aaron can (a constant source of annoyance of mine) – yet if I go to the gym, my arms are too sore to fill the hopper. Total first world problems here!
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Pay attention to details! Consistency is key – and so is regular cupping. Don’t be afraid to tweak blends and experiment with new roast profiles to ensure you are providing the most consistently delicious product possible.
Most influential person in coffee to you: My dad (Hayden Prujean). He started Rush Coffee in 2006 – taking a huge gamble as he began from scratch. I joined the company in 2012 and he has been a wealth of knowledge – both in roasting and teaching me how to run & manage a small business. He is the first person to offer advice and help (regardless of whether someone is in “competition” with us or not) and is so generous with both his time and knowledge. He is hugely inspirational to me and I feel so blessed to be a part of such a supportive family unit.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More reusable/sustainable packaging – this is something we are really striving for within our company, yet the costs are so prohibitive for a smaller business to successfully implement. There is a lot of “greenwashing” so trying to find solutions that are genuinely compostable and eco-friendly has been exceptionally difficult. Watch this space!
Name: Chanté Claassen
Company: Far East Coffee Co.
Your roaster: We have a 6kg drum roaster and it’s name is Rangi.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Currently obsessed with our house blend, ‘Free & Easy’. Brewed in a stovetop first thing in the morning with alternative milk, because it’s cool to be kind to Papatūānuku (Mother Nature).
First taste of coffee: I started my love for coffee at a young age. My Ouma gave me my first cup. Instant in a big mug, two sugars with cows milk! A classic grandma brew.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Moving coffee sacks… they’re heavier than I am! Being a woman in the industry also comes with its own set of struggles, but nothing will stop me from giving anything a go.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Learn from others who currently roast in Aotearoa, and do your research. A book by Scott Rao, ‘Coffee Roasters Companion’, was my gateway into understanding roasting. My boss, Steve King, has some solid experience in the industry. He took me on as an apprentice, so everything I know has come from asking him all the ‘dumb’ questions.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Jessica Godfrey – what an absolute legend.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More representation of our mana wāhine and fair pay for the epic hard work we do. Having our feminine qualities seen as a strength rather than a weakness. I’d also like to see female roasters connecting with each other.
Company: Vanguard Specialty Coffee Co.
Your roaster: Probat Probatrone 5 – Patricia
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Guatemala Diego De La Cerda, Maracaturra, washed process. Brewed on a V60 or the Fetco batch brew
First taste of coffee: Dads coffee as a kid – I hated it. But the first one I loved was a latte from Seven Seeds Carlton while a student at the University of Melbourne.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Combating the lack of education around coffee, where it comes from and what roasting actually consists of is a constant challenge.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Consistent between batch processes – doing the same thing every time! cupping every coffee you roast and recording everything
Most influential person in coffee to you: It’s a tie between my current employer Jason Moore/Mr Miyagi and my former employer Mark Dundon/the Dude – both out there speaking the truth and always looking to do right by the coffee farmers.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More honesty and transparency over sourcing and quality. I’d like to see more discussion on the farmers themselves, what they’re being paid and how they’re developing their processes to continually produce better quality and better-tasting coffee and what we are doing at the roasting level to make the most of their hard work.
Name: Stephanie Hall
Company: Suntory Coffee
Your roaster: Not the one I currently use, but the one I made my bones on, it’s a Coffee Tool from Greece, 5kg
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Tough question! I think I would say the first coffee I ever roasted was the most delicious. To be honest, I was in training so I had help to develop that profile, and I had some pretty good beans to start with – Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It was the most delicious because I was so nervous about roasting and so happy and surprised to discover it tasted good.
First taste of coffee: I had a part-time job as a barista while at Uni even though I didn’t drink coffee. I began to love the smell of the ground coffee on my hand and so that’s what got me hooked.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: This is probably true for anything but it’s trying to discern between trend or convention and quality. There are a lot of things we do ‘because we are supposed to’ but it doesn’t mean it’s actually affecting quality. It takes a lot of study and a lot of sensible questioning to develop that discernment.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Have peace!!! I started roasting in a very challenging situation with not a lot of people around to turn to should things go wrong (and they did) so just stepping into the roastery made me really anxious. I would put music on first and wait till I was chill before I even began setting up the space for work. I was involved in all other parts of the business as well sales, marketing, customer relations and so on, but somehow it made sense that as roasting coffee was the very core of the business, I needed to establish that creative process as being a peaceful one. And I did!
Most influential person in coffee to you: I could give a lot of answers for this, but probably my dad, he set up the roasting business that I took over. He loved the geekiness of coffee but also loved that a coffee business was a really good excuse to connect to people, not that he needed an excuse. In fact, he loved people so much that sometimes they got a way better deal than the business did. Connecting to people in a meaningful way was the foundation for him.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: Just anything that makes us world-famous and industry leaders would be alright by me.
Name: Anna McGregor
Company: Coffee Lab
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Hard to pick one as there have been so many but in the last month the new crop Ethiopia Hache Grade1 Sidama natural with amazing sweet blueberry in the cup brewed as a black Hario filter and also delicious as a flat white. A new crop Kenya Mweru which is a delicious filter with blackcurrant sweetness. Mmm, I would drink them both right now if I could…
First taste of coffee: My first real coffee taste would have to be the Panama Cup of Excellence winner in 2010 from Hacienda Esmeralda which was a natural geisha from the Petersons. It was at the Coffee Chemistry class in Melbourne and snuck onto the cupping tables “number 8” by Joseph Rivera. I thought I had tasted coffee before but that was a whole new experience that blew my mind. Apricot flavours, clean, sweet and it was my first real specialty coffee, a game-changer experience for everyone in the room that day in our coffee journeys.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Hitting the flavour bullseye with every single-origin in each changing season through the year with consistency. Auckland has humidity that can vary from 40% low -100% high humidity so its quite a challenge with a touchy natural process to make it shine. Once I can get my hands on importing good quality specialty green then its the awesome challenge to find the sweet spot and repeat it every time.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Good green that has been stored well at least with grain pro packaging, a good roaster that has even heat transfer, airflow and drum speed VSD controls (Love the cast iron Probat drums!!) Cropster real-time graphs using 2mm probes in the right spots for bean and air temps, Manometers with .01 Millibar control coupled with a digital linear gas valve is the bomb!!! manual log each roast as well recording everything for referencing, Agtron analyse bean and ground of every roast, roast single-origin and get as many different ones as you can, taste the way you want to brew, cup before you buy, never stop learning, ask questions whenever you can. The coolest thing about specialty coffee is there’s always something new to learn and new crop coffees each year to figure out and taste. There’s so much more but yeah-Have fun and try new things!!!
Most influential person in coffee to you: There are many many people who all were and are significant on my journey.
A few are: Jeff Kennedy who inspired me to believe in myself and roast, David and John Burton who have always been gentlemen and such good guys, Geoff Marsland who keeps it fun & real, Rocket Glen who is always inspirational, Scott Rao who has my permission to offend me any time to make me roast better (that’s a funny story), Joseph Rivera who introduced me to coffee chemistry and taught me how to really taste, Geoff Watts who is just the coolest dude who loves coffee and growers and started Direct Trade, Drew Zent who took me to so many farms in Brazil and Costa Rica and taught me so much, Sean and Kristine Edwards who champion people all around the world and just make you part of a global family, Menno Simmons and the team at Trabocca for doing amazing things in Ethiopia and beyond to help farmers through the OCR project and the Ethiopia Cup which I loved judging at last yearn Amsterdam, Nolan Hirte the classy dude who is the biggest coffee geek I’ve ever met, Anabella Meneses the first woman grower in Guatemala to win CoE – visiting her farm and cupping with her was nek level awesome. Steve Smith from Machine who helps me figure out so much technical stuff and find answers and is a gift to the NZ industry, all the people I work with every day who are on the journey to excellence in the cup who inspire me when we learn together and keep the coffee tasting awesome which is truly a team effort from farm to cup.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More informal coffee industry events where we can hang out and share information, learn more from each other and try each other’s coffee and keep it real.
Company: Espresso Workshop
Your roaster: Probat 25kg called BOB
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Oooo I don’t pitifully have a favourite I’ve roasted personally, but I am a fan of a light Roasted Colombian La Cabana natural.
First taste of coffee: My first ever flat white was at Brazil cafe Krd at 13 years old and I’ve never looked back
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Hmmmm well for me, not panicking when things don’t go right. Things don’t always go right and you need to be really focused on what you’re doing. Learning to say “come and take back control of the roast” if it starts to go a little silly haha.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Don’t overheat the roaster and try to keep the time and heat consistent between roasts. Ohhhh and stay calm 😄
Most influential person in coffee to you: Hahaha, well that would have to be a great friend of mine Masako Yamamoto.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would love to see more woman getting on the roaster toaster and taking over 🙂
Name: Tia Guyton
Company: Roast Co
Your roaster: She’s a 60kg Petroncini, I tried to call her Beatrice but it didn’t really catch on. I had forgotten until now.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Oh it would have to be from the forest Agaro of Limu in the west of Ethiopia, processed at Hunda Oli. I kept it easy and brewed it in the mocha master. I remember this coffee as I love jaffas and it had a distinctive chocolate orange linger.
First taste of coffee: Before I could remember. I had an old school espresso machine as a kid. But I remember being at a training session in Australia and being wowed at how to dial in a grinder properly at about 20yrs old. At that moment I was sold on “coffee is life”
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Understanding roasting defects and how to identify them correctly. Secondly not burning down the building, or should that be first? Lol
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: I like to roast a little under capacity 50kgs. I find it gives consistent development throughout the bean.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Hard one, In New Zealand Green (David Green) who taught me so much about brewing and single-origin coffee. He always showed up to training with a wee brew of something outstanding and kept my head full of coffee possibilities.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: We have a great coffee community, and adding more people to this would be great. We did a “Careers in coffee” evening which was wicked hearing other people’s stories. More events like this would be cool.
Name: Anne-Lise Mornard-Stott
Company: Ripe Coffee
Your roaster: 30kg Otto Swadlo as old as time, I call her “Swadlo” or “Big Machine”. Also, a 5kg Joper, that I started on. I nicknamed her “Jolly Joper” after Lucky Luke’s mare (a French comic, I’m not sure how famous it is in New Zealand).
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Tough one. I think I’m gonna go with last season’s Ethiopia Gedeb 1 natural from Tibebu Roba. I was going to use it for the barista champs in April but now we’re almost out of it. It was super fruity and clean, with a fresh minty aftertaste. Very temperamental coffee that I took a while to roast well. I brewed it all sorts of ways, from Aeropress to espresso.
First taste of coffee: Probably in my home when I was a child as my dad would always have a pot on in the morning. Black espresso is very popular in France even amongst the youth so I started drinking it early in high school.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Finding good learning resources and progress in my learning is really hard because I don’t always have time or coffee to waste experimenting new techniques and also because there are so many different views out there and at the end of the day, it’s just you and your cupping spoon, so it requires a lot of self-confidence and humility at the same time. Sometimes I feel like learning roasting is like navigating through a thick fog trying to find your way while a bunch of voices shout at you from all directions.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Keep it simple. I always try to find the profile that gets me where I want to go with the least amount of manipulations possible, so it’s easier to reproduce consistently or troubleshoot. I only have one batch size and plan my roasts accordingly. When possible, I prefer to roast as much as I can back-to-back rather than scatter roasts throughout the week. This way most of the coffee is roasted under similar weather conditions.
Most influential person in coffee to you: For roasting, probably Scott Rao. Otherwise, I have a massive celebrity crush on James Hoffmann.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I’d like coffee pros to take more pride in their craft and customers to respect the labour and price of coffee. I’m not a snob by any means, but coffee is still widely seen as a cheap, commodity product that we don’t need to be too careful about. But even average coffee requires a lot of work and a long value chain where exploitation is unfortunately very common, from farmers down to the barista. Charge more for coffee, get trained, pay living wages! ✊
Name: Cristina Fuzaro
Company: Espresso Workshop Roastery
Your roaster: Probat Probatone 25 – A.K.A Bob
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: It’s difficult to pick one! I am happy to say that throughout my 17 years in coffee I roasted and tasted many memorable, thrilling and certainly heartwarming coffees. They were most enjoyed brewed by v60 or Chemex.
First taste of coffee: As a toddler at around 3 years old – dunking fresh buttered baguette in filter coffee.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: The challenge of being better at what I do every day. Roasting, tasting and expanding my coffee knowledge.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: You control the roast, don’t let it control you. Be mentally prepared to focus on being proactive and not reactive. Staying one step ahead of what is happening during the roasting process and anticipating what will happen 30, 60 seconds in the future will help with decision making and a successful outcome.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Not one, but the team of producers and importers we work with. Their love for the land and craft never ceases to amaze me. Learning from all those wonderful and extremely humble people never ends!
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: The recent crisis highlighted the need to streamline guidances, processes and knowledge sharing within the industry. It would be great to have a forum (virtual or not) where people could discuss challenges and also share ideas on a regular basis. A safe space that all industry would benefit from and grow together.
Name: Kirsty Fowler
Company: Arrosta Coffee Roasting Co.
Your roaster: Toper 15kg affectionately named ‘Pete’.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Chelchele, on a V60/Wilfa brew
First taste of coffee: As a kid back in the ’70s, my Dad brewed percolator coffee in a Corningware ceramic stovetop – bought to NZ from Corning, New York. He had a very particular way of brewing: wet the metal basket to ensure there was surface tension across the perforations, add freshly ground coffee from a hand mill attached to the wall. I can’t remember, but there were a certain number of rotations for the amount of beans put into the mill. Bring the water to the boil and add the filter with grinds and bring back to the simmer for 7 mins(!) timed on an old egg timer. It was a sad day when the original percolator was broken and the hunt was on for a replacement – needless to say, one was found!
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Consistency – considering there are so many interesting variables!
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Trial and error, trial and error, trial and error, knowing your equipment, and experience.
Most influential person in coffee to you: My Dad – his weekend coffee rituals and the aroma’s associated with brewing influenced my relationship with coffee hugely.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: 1: NZ roasts amazing coffee – continuing education for the end consumer and sharing the coffee love and love of coffee. 2: Given the recent interpretations of ‘essential business’ during COVID19 with MBIE and MPI, greater advocacy and visibility for the specialty coffee industry at central government/agency level would be awesome.
Name: Jessica MacDonald
Company: The Roasting Department
Your roaster: 35-kilo Kestrel Loring
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Suke Quto, it was brewed for competition espresso tasted like peach tea!
First taste of coffee: Nescafe that my parents used to drink, I still have a soft spot for it as it’s very nostalgic.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Being at the bottom of the world, it would be not having access to loads of delicious coffee that doesn’t cost a fortune in shipping to NZ! Communicating to people why we need to pay more for coffee and that it’s not too expensive. Changing peoples mindsets if you can pay $18 for a wine that’s literally poured into a glass you can pay more for the coffee that’s freshly prepared for you!
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Don’t over analyse, taste everything and use a program to record your data like Cropster, so that your data points are accurate and consistent and you are free to do whatever you need too.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Steve Leighton (taught me to believe in your own product), Dale Harris (taught me to keep trying always), Estelle Bright (taught me to take no shit and woman can have a career in coffee) and James Hoffmann (Taught me to think outside the box ) any of the OG UK coffee crew who I learnt from and grew with early in my coffee career.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: Less competition more collaboration.
Name: Ulala Nakama
Company: Ark Coffee Company
Your roaster: 2004 Probat L25. His name is PRINCE.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Kenya Ngutu AA. It was the first coffee I roasted. Whether it was the most delicious I don’t know but it was certainly a very special moment for me… through both Chemex and Moccamaster. It was beautiful.
First taste of coffee: Dad’s leftover coffee when I was a little girl. Yuck. First one made from a professional was my friend and former two times Barista Champion of Japan, Shunichi Takemoto’s espresso. It blew me away.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: To not switch to autopilot.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: keeping it simple. Eye on the beans.
Most influential person in coffee to you: My good friend Shunichi. He shared his passion, dedication in coffee and helped me find my own path. Also, Silvio Leite. He was one of my first teachers and just one of the friendliest people I’ve met in life.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More casual events and also cupping seminars with guest cuppers.
Name: Luise Metelka
Company: Flight Coffee
Your roaster: Loring, 70 kg, known as the helicopter.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: The one that comes to mind at the moment (because it was quite recent) is the Shyira from Rwanda. We brewed it on our Fetco machine in the morning. The first coffee is always the best, but that was outstanding!
First taste of coffee: I was 13 and it was a dark European blend on Filter at my parent’s place in Germany. I used more milk than coffee. Not my cup of coffee anymore, but the smell makes me nostalgic.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: At the start I was really struggling with the physical labour that this job brings. I’ve gotten stronger since then.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: It might sound ridiculous, but it helped me a lot: Eat breakfast! I used to skip it and since I started eating in the morning, I feel like I’ve got enough energy for lifting and concentrating on the task, which means fewer errors and more efficiency.
Most influential person in coffee to you: The beauty of coffee is its diversity. I have different people I look up to in different fields. But I would say Richard Corney and Matt Graylee have had the biggest influence on me. When I learned about Raw Material and Flight Coffee when I was working in Australia, I knew I wanted to be part of that journey. Their vision is the reason I want to keep growing as a coffee professional.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: It’d be great to bring back competitions like the “Brewer’s Cup”. New Zealand has a great coffee industry and that should be represented at more World Championships.
Name: Tania Kitto
Company: Pomeroy’s Coffee & Tea
Your roaster: Petroncini 60kg also lucky enough to use Emma’s 1kg Diedrich Bob.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Tough one… Probably a Colombian, Geisha brewed with a V60.
First taste of coffee: Embarrassing but would have been my Mums favourite instant coffee.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Probably the fact I’m constantly paranoid about setting the building on fire.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Stay focused, don’t get distracted.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Got to be my good friend Emma Markland Webster, honestly don’t know where I would be without her guidance, training… and Bob the roaster!
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: We have so many great coffee events in NZ it would be nice to have some more casual events that even people just beginning their career in coffee will enjoy and benefit from.
Name: Ria Lingad
Company: Your Local & Co
Your roaster: It’s a 4 kg drum roaster called EVO4 from Bella in Taiwan. Her name is Rosie 😁
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: This natural coffee from Bumbogo, Rwanda I got from David at Society Coffee. So tasty, and was batch brewed.
First taste of coffee: Do you mean my first time? Must have been my dad’s morning brew, its Liberica coffee roasted real dark, very earthy.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Time, never enough time to do stuff!
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Watch that RoR curve!
Most influential person in coffee to you: I’d say Scott Pepler.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I wish to see more places have a really good culture of hospitality, and be more involved in their local communities.
Name: Abby Diaz
Company: Suntory Coffee NZ
Your roaster: Brambati 240 KG roaster
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Best brewed in a Chemex/ Clever Cup.
First taste of coffee: I had my first taste of coffee when I started uni. It was a packet of instant coffee with lots of sugar. 😀
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Selecting and the best green coffee for each of our coffees. We have 15 types beans!
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Have a good colour meter to check consistency of roasting. Of course, cupping each roast helps to check for defects – green bean or process related ones.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Scott Pepler – Suntory’s Master Roaster.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: Energy efficiency in roasting.
Name: Sally Collins
Company: Suntory Coffee
Your roaster: Brambati 240kg
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: I really enjoyed roasting our Kenya AA coffee, brew with chemex .
First taste of coffee: University
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: understanding of the roast curve is a challenge.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Green bean inspections is very important especially moisture, follow by the size and the defects in the beans.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Scott Pepler our master roaster & Candice Morgan our Innovation Technologist
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would love to see more reusable packaging in the industry. Maybe we can use solar energy to roast coffee in the future ? who knows.
Name: Elise Murphy
Company: Suntory Coffee
Your roaster: Brambati 240kg, integrated into a Brambati-designed coffee transfer plant. It’s big!
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Fair Trade Ethiopian single origin, brewed in a French Press.
First taste of coffee: I remember drinking the 24hr ‘bottomless’ filter coffee at Denny’s back in the day…
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: We roast at scale, so small slip-ups can have a big flow-on effect. I’m constantly monitoring the performance of not just the roaster, but the whole plant – beans need to be delivered to the roaster, and roasted coffee taken away again, in a continuous flow to maintain consistent results.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Know your equipment, and keep excellent records.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Gianfranco Gravaghi, from Brambati. He was responsible for the control system design of our plant, and working with him in the commissioning phase has been a real highlight for me here.
Name: Candice Morgan
Company: Suntory Coffee New Zealand
Your roaster: Brambati 240Kg
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Honestly the most delicious coffee is the one you don’t prepare yourself and it arrives and it is surprisingly delightful. So you get another.
First taste of coffee: First taste ever? A plunger coffee with family Sunday brunch
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Finding more time to practice and learn
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: See above 😉
Most influential person in coffee to you: Genevieve Kappler
Name: Otila Sega
Company: Suntory Coffee NZ
Your roaster: 240kg Brambati
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Our new Robert Harris product which is infused with Plum & Cascara
First taste of coffee: Instant Coffee along time ago.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: New to roasting I am learning heaps about origins, roast profiles. We always making improvements.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Cup each batch!
Most influential person in coffee to you: Scott Pepler
Name: Heesun Lee
Company: Atomic Coffee Roasters
Your roaster: 35kg Kestrel Loring and 1kg Probatino
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Black Honey Processed Geisha from Finca La Estrella in Colombia. That was for the New Zealand Barista Championship last year. Also natural processed SL28 from Finca Chispita in Costa Rica which is serving as espresso at Atomic right now! Both of them I brewed as espresso.
First taste of coffee: Maxim-the famous Korean instant coffee when I was about 10? I still drink Maxim sometimes and think that they are the most balanced instant coffee J
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Getting consistent results from each batch, it lots of learning. I think a passion to learn more is absolutely important part of the job and to keep challenging yourself.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Know your beans from A to Z before turning on the roaster.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Jess Macdonald and Masako Yamamoto! I am lucky enough to get trained from these cool ladies in the NZ specialty coffee industry last few years. From how to taste coffee to how to be myself at the competition and most importantly, how to be confident at what you do.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would like to see more varied career opportunities coming up. This would inspire many newcomers in the industry to become choose coffee as a career.
Name: Sally Quantock
Company: Ebony Coffee
Your roaster: Petroncini 30kg drum roaster – assuming she is a girl? She is referred to as Petra.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: 2014 a lovely PNG Ulya from John Burtons and in 2017 a clean filter roast of Colombian La Cabana from Garzon had me reaching for toast as the aroma from the cooling tray of strawberry jam had me salivating. We currently have a lovely Tanzania Matunda from LCM. Trade Aid’s Ethiopian Sidama is yum too. I like a well-brewed Chemex, love a syrupy summertime cold drip on ice or a daily 6oz|177ml FW or LB. Probably fair to say I lean towards a Colombian or PNG espresso base.
First taste of coffee: First coffee I remember drinking was in Istanbul, gorgeous little glass with gold patterning and a piece of Turkish delight at the bottom of the glass. The hot sand and cezve pot fascinated me at 22yrs old but I will say I didn’t return to NZ as a coffee drinker! Owning Ebony Coffee for the past eight years has changed that somewhat 😊
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Consistency with a dear old drum roaster is one step forward, sometimes 1 back! Realising that not everyone understands our industry jargon or terminology. Continued customer teaching on brew methods – for them to get the best from their coffee experiences. Single-use cups … Argh! “Just get reusable and use it or take 10 minutes to sit enjoy your coffee break”
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Warm-up routines, chart daily environmental factors, nailing a between batch process, green stock storage conditions and ease, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Collecting and constant analysing Cropster data, cupping, different brew methods for different roasts. Know your beans – moisture, profile, processing, where it grows – in what, with what? Better for espresso or filter? Knowing that certain days with better air pressure is going to be a good day at the office. Have that Thirst for Knowledge.
Most influential person in coffee to you: I think we all admire many sources of coffee knowledge. Annette & Vicki’s (team members) intro to the world of coffee some 8 years ago and the learning continues. Books, blogs, & international Instagram accounts. Leigh, Henrik, Hemanth, Danny & Alice, Hugo, Carlos or Garth – always great to chat with suppliers. Rene at Peoples usually has had a gem of teaching. Love Supreme’s flare. Kerry Murray makes me think I should have studied more science! Roaster Joe is calm and insightful. Love Dorothy Park’s latte art.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I liked Anna’s (Coffee Lab) idea from our online AGM recently regards more connections with growers, roasters etc. perhaps as an alternate bi-annual option to barista comps, which seem to take up a lot of organisation for very little uptake of competitors. Emma and the team work hard to stay ahead with Baristas globally I know but as a roaster, you look for other aspects of the industry to grow too. Mix it up a bit. Bring more growers, processors, international roasters to NZ. The more community-based events, particularly provincial, with national support to continue with NZSCA is a good move. Standardising cup sizes? Faster improvement on sustainable, truly green packaging in bags and cups, ultimately with no single-use cups required. In the interim, NZSCA could canvas Government to ban single-use cups in the near future?
Name: Sarah Macnab
Company: My own with no name (yet)
Your roaster: I currently have a small 2 kg shop roaster that is in my girl shed. It’s nothing flash or fancy, in fact, it’s a bit old school which is how I learnt to roast back in ’99. I have been away from roasting for a few years and have been missing it, so have been accumulating things to be able to have my own super fresh coffee and who knows where this project is going to take me.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Ooooh that’s a tough question. I love sooo many different sorts of coffee and it depends on my mood and time of the day… I guess the biggest thing for me is the most delicious coffee is coffee that is made in clean equipment and is fresh coffee so you get that aroma when you grind it and then brew it. I got to do a lot of cupping when I worked at Trade Aid importers. and tasted a lot of coffees… it opened my palate so much more to the subtlety of single origins. Hmmm, it actually took me years to not be scared of trying other ways to roast and that’s what I am loving not having a commercial operation as I can play!
First taste of coffee: As a child in the ’70s, I used to make coffee for my parents in their electric percolator. I used to love to see how strong I could make it and fully had no idea what I was doing. I got to pour the cream over the spoon onto the top of the coffee!
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: I am not roasting in a commercial scene so my challenges are fitting it into my working life.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Paying attention to your beans.
Most influential person in coffee to you: I have to say that Ewan Cameron has been awesome and I first met him when he was at Atomic. He is exceedingly knowledgeable and has taught me a lot and is a great guy in the NZ coffee industry.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: Ooooh, to be honest, I am a bit out of touch with the actual coffee scene. At the top of my head would be the recognition of the barista who in some places still seems to be not fully appreciated. Obviously some companies are great at this, but I believe that the roasting company selling their beans to cafes etc really needs to encourage the owners to pay these people well as we all know that the barista can make or break your profit margins. Love your barista!
Company: Tohorā Coffee Co
Your roaster: We operate a 15kg Yucel. We imported from Turkey in 2017.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: Our first roaster was a lovely little 4kg beast that would change with the wind. If you didn’t hold your tongue right it would get the devil inside and throw out a bunch of heat. At one point we had a fork holding the belt in place…. ANYWAY one time, the wind blew just right and I remember the smell just as the beans were cracking was extra delicious. At the time, we were brewing coffee with a wee stovetop. From memory, it was a Colombian Organic bean.
First taste of coffee: My first taste of espresso coffee was at a Palmers Garden Centre in the ’90s with my Grandmother, Sylvia. She bought me a cappuccino.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: My biggest challenge as a Roaster is that it is not my full-time job…. Yet! Our business is still relatively tiny so my Husband and I still have full-time jobs whilst running Tohorā
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Consistency! Passion and patience.
Most influential person in coffee to you: I love the founding story of Coffee Supreme, Chris Dillon and Maggie Wells. I feel we may have started with the same naivety thinking we could create something better than what was on offer in our community. I find their story very inspirational.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would love to see more of sustainability focus on all coffee-related products in the industry. I think we are on the right track with the great folks at Innocent Packaging and many others.
Name: Thalia Te Koeti
Company: Miscela Coffee Roasters
Your roaster: 1957 Probat UG22 (I call her Emmie, short for Emmerich) and 3kg TJ-067.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: A gorgeous Cuban; rich, smoky and strong… Oh wait, you meant coffee…
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: A clear mind, intuition and a good relationship with your roaster (gotta treat the old girl right).
First taste of coffee: Something From Dad’s percolator on the fireplace.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Getting consistent quality and pricing with green beans in such a fickle market.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Jed and Lily Dye, the ones who gave me the opportunity to prove myself in a field where I had little experience. Passion goes a long way though!
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: More collaboration and community. And care for the craft rather than the almighty dollar, which I can really see with all these passionate women here!
Name: Kate Volkerling
Company: Espresso Workshop
Your roaster: Probat Probatone 25 – nicknamed Bob.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: I learnt to roast about 16 months ago, so most of the coffees I roast are used in our blends. However, I have had the chance to roast some single origins and one that stands out was honey processed Red Bourbon from Rwanda – brewed as espresso.
First taste of coffee: My first taste of coffee was in my early teens. My Mum always drank strong roasted Italian coffee using a French Press and every birthday she would make a New York-style baked cheesecake and serve a big pot of fresh coffee with it. One year I got curious and tried it. It was exceedingly strong, but the sweet richness of the cheesecake helped balance this out. It wasn’t really my beverage of choice back then but she later introduced me to the wonders of cappuccino and I have never looked back!
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Staying focused and not letting myself get distracted by what is going on around me. Time has a habit of speeding up on you and if you let your mind wander you can miss critical cues in your roast.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Before every roast, have a plan outlined in your head of how you want the roast to go. Make notes and carefully watch the beans and the temperature, so you can tweak your plan if/when necessary. Also, try to be consistent in your between the roast process.
Most influential person in coffee to you: A lot of people have helped me on my coffee journey to date. But so far Cris Fuzaro has been the most influential and I continue to learn from her. I also think James Hoffmann and Scott Rao have helped fuel my coffee knowledge addiction.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would like to see more training courses available to people just starting out in coffee roasting and also more widespread use of compostable packaging and reusable cups.
Name: Alla Heta
Company: John Burton
Your roaster: Probat twin sample roaster, they didn’t have names, but I’ve just named them – Penny & Boris.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: It’s so hard to choose, honestly I don’t remember what I tasted last week as so many coffees come through every week. This year’s crop of natural Ethiopians are delicious
First taste of coffee: It was instant coffee with milk and sugar when I was 13, tasted my first espresso when I moved to NZ in 2001.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Staying focused on the task at hand, I easily get disturbed by the outside world.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Record what you’re doing, make sure you taste every roast. Get to know your roaster like it’s your best friend.
Most influential person in coffee to you: There are so many people in this industry that are doing great things! One person who stands out for me the most is Stuart Hargie who taught me a lot about coffee quality and sourcing.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I’m not sure we need changes as we are part of great industry, but it will be great to have more educational events about coffee quality and roasting.
Name: Saskia Strand-Saseve
Your roaster: Petroncini 7kg.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: The most delicious coffee I’ve roasted was a Tabi Natural, it was literally like drinking a smooth, hot mulled wine. I popped it through my Chemex at home and on our filter at work, lawd it was good.
First taste of coffee: My first taste of coffee was a petrol station flat white as a kid, that was supposed to be a hot chocolate. Things have only gotten better since then.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: The biggest challenges I’ve faced as a roaster is the confidence to know I’ve roasted well and will continue to roast well, despite being of a young age.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: The little hack I have for roasting is watching the temp change closely and using the burner as well and the airflow to control the temperature and expression towards the end.
Most influential person in coffee to you: The most influential person in coffee to me isn’t a singular person, but the farmers who work so tirelessly to grow and process the green stock to the highest of standards. I hope to visit and work alongside them one day, in a variety of countries.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I hope to see more young people given the chance to learn to roast, particularly WOC and POC. I believe it’s important not to define who should be given the opportunity to learn, and recognise the huge potential that young New Zealanders of all genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic classes hold.
Name: Amy Nunn
Company: Ozone Coffee
Your roaster: 45kg Probat
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted and how did you brew it: At the moment I can’t get enough of a Bolivian Waliki. Its been running through the Moccamaster at home and it is impossible to get the brew wrong.
First taste of coffee: I couldn’t tell you the brand but will guarantee you it was pre-ground and vacuum packed, as it was during the 90’s.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Christmas and public holidays…
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Routine, find yours, and stick to it.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Since you are highlighting women in the industry, on a trip to the Solomon Islands I met a woman named Florence Aplos she was part of a village that owned smallholder farms. We spent a day walking around each farm and showing them the basics of pruning. The following day going back around, she had done almost half her crop while the men were still trying to decide if it was a good idea. This has influenced me ever since to just get things done.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: The industry has come a long way in giving back to the producers, but we could always do more.
Name: Hannah Cho
Company: Kokako Organic Coffee
Your roaster type & size (& does it have a name): Probat probatone 25kg – “Gunther” and Sometime, I take Ikawa sample roaster home and enjoy the late night roasting before I go to bed.
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted: & how did you brew it: Washed Ethiopian Yirgacheffe roasted on Ikawa roaster and brewed on V60. Full of strawberry jam in the cup.
First taste of coffee: I dipped my donut into mum’s unknown morning brew filter coffee when I was young. sensational!
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Coffee has so many variables and reacts differently. One day is so smooth and easy and the next day is not. Now, my baby bump is getting bigger and can’t fit into my roasting-overalls anymore.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: In my opinion, reading books and blogs is definitely helpful and that’s how I learnt it but, you need to trust yourself and play with coffee. Keep tasting it and keep recording it and keep adjusting it.
Most influential person in coffee to you: So many people are doing an amazing job to keep me excited about the industry but Mike Murphy! My mentality has changed since I work with him. He always supports me to push my boundaries and find something new! “What’s next? What’s new?”
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would like to see more collaboration events to discuss and share knowledge together.
Name: Laura Gauthier
Company: Allpress Espresso
Your roaster type & size: Sivitz Hot Air Roaster 70kg
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted & how did you brew it: Rasuna Longberry from Wahana Estate in Sumatra. My favourite way to brew most coffees is for filter or pour-over, which is how I enjoyed this roast.
First taste of coffee: I can’t remember how old I was exactly (maybe 11 or 12), but I remember being out for dinner with my parents and their friends from Turkey and having a double espresso as a ‘digestif’. Wasn’t too sure what to think of it at the time.
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: Lifting and moving coffee sacks and our current space.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Good time management and paying attention.
Most influential person in coffee to you: Although I don’t know them personally, Catherine Gauthier (coffee.mommy on instagram). Their posts showed me that coffee was something for everybody and that you’re not always going to get it right. They also share information on other people around doing cool coffee things.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: It would be cool to see roasters from different roasteries get together and talk about their challenges and triumphs and work together on solutions.
Name: Elana Haldane
Company: Allpress Espresso
Your roaster type & size: Sivets Hot Air Roaster 70kg
Most delicious coffee you’ve roasted: & how did you brew it: Colombian Pescador. Areopress
First taste of coffee: helping my dad with his lawn mowing round in the school holidays. It was instant coffee but great memories dunking gingernuts and hanging out with dad
What are your biggest challenges as a roaster: We roast using Hot Air Roasting which is a really consistent way of roasting coffee and eliminates a lot of the challenges you come up again using more traditional roast methods. As 2IC of the Auckland Roastery my biggest challenging is managing the team and the daily operations.
Top tips or hacks for smooth roasting: Hot Air Roasting! One of the key benefits of roasting this way is a smooth, long lasting finish every time.
Most influential person in coffee to you: The people out there growing our coffee. Got the opportunity to go to Sumatra last year and seeing the amazing people out there who grow and produce coffee was incredibly inspiring.
What changes would you like to see in the NZ coffee industry: I would like to see a bit more understanding and respect for coffee. It’s mind-blowing how much goes into producing a cup of coffee and not enough people appreciate that.