company - education - coffee

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dialing in a #Somerville roaster

Keep it local Somerville, MA: barismo's founder, Jaime van Schyndel updates you on our new roasting home in the Aeronaut.

Loading our first Somerville batch
At our new Somerville location, we've had a chance to fire up the roaster and begin some batch testing.  There are a few little details we've been working on to have some more fun.  We got some cool logging software that still needs to be adapted but the basic probes and gas gauges have been installed allowing us to get some test batches out.  (Yes, there are still roasters out there who do not use gas gauges or digital temperature probes.)

We have fired up the roaster and dialed in a few batches.  We went through this exercise when I first opened barismo, but instead of six months, we are going to get comfortable over six weeks.  It only took a couple batches to get a general feel for what this machine does including it's gas limits for the batch size.  I have no perspective for how others approach a new install, but we took a medium gas setting and watched the delta between specific observable color points.  Basically, we went and 'let it rip' all the way into second crack while we logged sight, sound, and smell markers.  (This was initially a shock to The Aeronauts who were concerned by the noise and smoke!) We worked backwards based on our experiences and expectations of what was supposed to be happening and at what rates.  We all felt very comfortable as we were able to dial in our first coffee very quickly for a reasonable batch size.

Even Pete Likes! Picture by @AeronautBrewing 
Over the next few weeks, we will see how the test coffees rest and age, through cupping and more profiling.  We'll also fidget with tinier adjustments, tweaks on the roaster mechanics to account for potential problems, and also do repairs on small issues that pop up.  There is definitely work to be done.

With our operational model, the issues emerging are around our just in time freshly roasted inventory and how it shifts to Somerville, MA.  Basically, we not only have to dial in to a quality level, we have a lot of logistics to figure out.  As a roaster that bikes an extraordinary amount of its volumes around on cargo bikes, there is a logistical challenge that we have in going to bigger capacity, changing storage methods, and addressing a space that will have a lot of other businesses in it.  Luckily, we have been trolling a lot of our tech friends and are adapting different apps/management pieces to upgrade how we work as well.  These are not huge hurdles but we are taking our time to move over slowly rather than rushing and we thank our loyal customers for being so patient.

We have been quiet with events and with classes lately, but that is temporary as well.  Once we get up and running, we intend to be doing constant classes, education events, fun collaborations, and outreach to the neighborhood.  Mid June into July will be a busy time and you'll have lot's of chances to see the new space and will hear a lot about the hub.

We will be hammering home some really important beliefs we have about what makes good coffee great.  Brew methods, storage, roasting techniques, farm and mill improvements, and of course a lot of tasting to share those ideas!  Same old barismo, but this year we are going to work to make the case:

There is great roasted coffee locally and you don't need to go out of New England looking for it.