Kieley the Coffee Roaster: Update #2

in OWJ Program

Kieley here! I am having an amazing week here in Athens, GA and the past four days have been filled with fun, learning, and lots of free coffee!

I apologize for not posting yesterday as I had planned. To make up for it, I will recap the first few days and post a video tomorrow with various clips from the week and a summary of my week as a coffee roaster.

In case you are new to the blog:

My name is Kieley and I’m a young lady traveling around this summer in search of my passion. In 8 weeks, I will try working 8 different jobs and blog about the whole adventure here at Oneweekjob.com. The first week has already been so helpful in confirming that coffee is something that fires me up!

Charlie Mustard has been such a great teacher this week and allowed me to see many facets of his job. It’s wild to hear how he went from getting an undergraduate degree in Biology to veterinarian school to pursuing a master’s in nutrition. How in the world did he  become a roaster? That’s a fair question and I wondered this myself. To make a long story short, Charlie spent time at the local Jittery Joes coffee shop while he worked on his Master’s thesis. After hearing the company express interest in roasting their own coffee, Charlie had a eureka moment and realized that his science background would be a great fit. After extensive reading and research, Charlie bought the equipment and began to roast. The great coffee he roasts today has been developed over time-it required logging his results, lots of experimentation,  and even making some so-so batches in his early days as a roaster.

What’s the lesson to be learned here?

“Just because you have a degree in something or don’t have a degree in something does not mean you have to or can’t do a certain job.”

Charlie and his wife relaxing on the Jittery Joe's Roastery porch.

I loved hearing Charlie’s interesting path because it shows that

(1) a person is not bound to stick to a job that matches their degree & (2) it shows that a person should be open and ready to take risks because it often produces a great result! In Charlie’s case, he now has a super fulfilling job that’s fun, flexible, and allows him to hang out with his wonderful family.

I will share more about his daily life in the coffee business on Friday, but for now, let me bring you up to speed on the roasting process.

To get your coffee beans for your cup o’ joe, there are many steps:

1. The roaster orders green beans (raw coffee beans) from various farmers all over the world

2. Batching the coffee (scooping & weighing a certain amount of coffee to be roasted) *Charlie usually puts in 26 lbs. of raw beans for one batch. When the roasting is finished, the batch weighs less due to the beans losing their outer membrane.

Green (raw) coffee beans, weighed precisely and ready to be roasted

3. Roasting the coffee (The coffee is poured into the roaster and transforms as Charlie adjusts the heat, air flow, and controls the time. Charlie has certain markers to watch for:

-when the green beans turn “straw” color – goldenish color

-when the beans change to “cinnamon color” – medium brown color

The coffee beans being emptied into the cooling chamber after roasting

-1st Crack- when beans crack for the first time (obvious since you can hear the beans cracking!)

-2nd Crack- A few minutes later, the beans crack again and about this time, it’s time to release them from the heat into the cooling section. After cooling,it’s on to packaging!

So that is basically coffee roasting 101. After spending all of Monday helping Charlie and learning the basics, I spend the next day packaging with another Jittery Joe’s employee, Christian. He is the man behind the packaging and shipping for all of their coffee. After Charlie Mustard roasts the coffee and separates it into 5 pound bags, Christian pours the coffee beans into metal cans, seals them with a fancy gizmo, attaches a label by hand, and packs the cans into boxes. Jittery Joes not only roasts coffee for their own shops; they also ship their coffee all over the U.S.!

Working with Christian was fun and I enjoyed the challenge of keeping up with his speedy pace. It was interested to hear the route he took to end up in the coffee industry as well.

I have so much more to share so tomorrow I will blog yet again!

One added incentive to make the most of this project is hearing feedback from friends and people I meet. Hearing about this crazy program makes people think about what jobs they desire to try. I would love for this blog to be interactive so here’s the question of the day:

“What job(s) would you like to try for one week?”

If you’re really ambitious, work on this follow-up question:

“What can you do today to make your desire to try this job a reality?

So often it’s easy to get caught up in “What-ifs” and think of money, time, and other barriers, but if Charlie had been bound by these things, he would be missing out on his sweet job: roasting coffee!

Think about it friends and comment away!

Want to email me with a job proposal for a week or just say hi? I love emails!

bestweekjob(at)gmail.com

Love,

Kieley B.

  • http://Website Calah

    Yay for Kieley! It sounds amazing. Keep up with the blogging. I can’t wait to read about the rest of your adventures :)