“As the roaster at Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company, I have been roasting Specialty Coffees over an oak wood fire since 2001. The reasons I choose to roast with wood are numerous but most important is a traditional method of roasting. For centuries coffee was roasted over a wood fire at the kitchen hearth. It was not until the last 150 years or so that other roasting methods were introduced.
What's unique about your process?
Well the way I roast it, yeah everything about it is unique. There’s no computer on the roaster. We have a temperature gauge and timers on the wall that basically say “hey, pay attention now!” at certain points in the roast. The first timer tells me to change the settings to get the coffee turn effective - the low point in the temperature has to come up at that time. So I open the fire box to get oxygen in, make sure it's properly loaded and that the vent is closed so we’re getting a maximum temperature to the beans. At that point the next step is building towards the first crack. That's my last chance to feed the fire box without having a smoke impact on the coffee. After that it's maintaining consistency through the process, and doing it the same every time to ensure the quality stays consistent.
What's the biggest challenge to keeping the coffee consistent?
Managing the heat source. If I look at the firebox and see that I need to put in a 16 oz chunk of wood, and what I put in is 20 oz, I can lose the whole batch. If I account for that it’s not a problem, but if not, those 4 oz of extra wood can throw it all off. So that’s my obstacle, but that's part of what makes this an art. This is my craft - having a handle on this sort of thing.
What keeps you up at night?
What keeps me up is the usual cashflow things - paying bills on time, etc. The coffee itself never keeps me up. What I do - it’s a gas. I get paid for the business aspect of things but the coffee roasting - I do that for grins and giggles. After 16 years it’s still an absolute joy
At Wood-Fire Roasted Coffee Company of Reno NV — we are all about the quality of the bean and the art of the roast
As the roaster, I personally source these coffees through reputable importers and have established relationships with our suppliers — in most cases going back more than a decade. All of our coffees are about the quality and consistency of the beans, which are hand-roasted, in small batches to show off the individual characters of each represented coffee growing region. " - Tim Curry