What Is a Master Roaster Anyway?

What Is a Master Roaster Anyway?

The master roaster, an excellent connoisseur of fine nuances of coffee types

To introduce this interesting topic, a quote from the French politician Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, who lived from 1754 to 1938. He already knew then: “Coffee has to be hot as hell, black as the devil, pure like an angel and sweet as love”. In order to meet these certainly not low requirements, the roast master has an important task among the large number of professional coffee experts.

What is a master roaster?

A master roaster is a coffee professional who has above all experience in roasting coffee beans. He is responsible for the process that refines the green coffee through roasting. To do this, he must have both theoretical knowledge and practical talents. He should, for example, be able to know the different origins and types of coffee and have knowledge of which type can be refined with which degree of roasting to achieve the respective aroma and to bring the character to the best possible development. So he has precise knowledge of how the respective beans react during roasting. Based on the color and smell, the coffee expert can tell when the coffee is ready to roast. It should not go unmentioned at this point that small drum roasters for domestic use are also referred to as roasting masters.

Someone who calls themselves a master roaster has to develop a real relationship with coffee. A keen sense of smell is of crucial importance, since, according to professionals, more than 3000 substances are contained in coffee beans that influence the taste! A good master roaster therefore needs experience, passion and intuition.

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What secrets are hidden behind the roast that the master roaster knows and uses?

The art of roasting lies in the decision at which point the roasting must be stopped in order to obtain the best possible taste from a green coffee. Because during the roasting process, it is only a few seconds or minimal temperature deviations during the process that generate coffee beverages with different tastes from the same green coffee.

The roasting process is described in a little more detail below so that you can get a detailed picture of the diverse skills of a master roaster: In
addition to the origin and quality of the beans, roasting is one of the elementary components of a good coffee. Did you know that there are over 6,000 types of coffee and up to 1,000 flavorings? This gives the coffee a tremendous taste potential. Therefore, the right technique in combination with a wealth of experience makes the work of the master roaster a very special craft, even if, that is already revealed at this point, the master roaster is not a classic apprenticeship.

During the roasting process, “small becomes large”, both in terms of taste and in the physical sense

From a purely superficial point of view, not too much happens during roasting: The beans get darker and bigger. In truth, however, highly complex processes are at work here; This is because complex physical and chemical processes are activated within the coffee bean because the different ingredients of the raw bean react with one another.

Here is an overview of the most important processes during roasting:

  • The color appearance changes. Because after the outer bean skin has loosened, it begins to color from green-yellowish nuances to brown, depending on the duration of the roasting.
  • The internal pressure causes the bean to expand to double its size due to the evaporation of the water and the roasting gases. Furthermore, there is a weight loss, the so-called “burn-in”. Due to the evaporation of water at 100 degrees Celsius and the escaping gases, the weight of the bean is reduced by around eleven to 20 percent.
  • The aroma formation is known by connoisseurs as the “Maillard effect”. Due to the breakdown and conversion of carbohydrates with proteins and free amino acids, innumerable new compounds in the form of aromas and bitter substances are created from a few basic substances.

Light or dark roast: the right timing makes it all!

During this process, the master roaster can access two variable factors, namely the roasting duration and the roasting temperature. The optimal acidity and the formation of the aroma is caused by the duration of the roasting. As a rule of thumb, the longer the roasting process (15 to 20 minutes) and at low temperatures, the more complex aroma compounds can develop.

The correct timing determines the type of coffee. Depending on regional preferences and the type of preparation, the roasting master must be able to achieve the right degree of roasting. Because the secret of roasting lies in this fine coordination. Sometimes it’s about seconds that are decisive for success or failure.

For the master roaster, cracking the heated coffee beans, known as “cracking”, is an important orientation aid, as the “first crack” heralds the exciting stage of roasting and thus the development of the coffee taste.

How do you become a roasting master?

The master roaster has not been a traditional apprenticeship since the 1970s. But many institutions offer seminars. This activity is currently experiencing a real revival, with many people entering the profession through their hobby.

There are over a thousand coffee roasters in America. Because they attach great importance to excellent quality and professional roasting, a large number of master roasters can assert themselves well in the market. Many insiders appreciate that the best chances for economic success as a passionate coffee roaster lie in your own business. Since almost all master roasters are truly ambitious in their profession, the salary and working hours are difficult to estimate – all the less so since, as mentioned, most of them are self-employed.

Keyword “Röstmeister”: roasting at home with the Dieckmann “Röstmeister”

If you want to try your hand at the art of roasting at home, the Dieckmann coffee roaster, appropriately named “Röstmeister”, is just the thing. Roasting coffee beans in your own four walls, how does it work? Quite simply, because the “roasting master” offers every coffee lover – regardless of whether they are experts, connoisseurs or beginners – a simple possibility to carry out the roasting process themselves.

The “roasting master” is a device consisting of a rotating roasting basket made of stainless steel and a heat source in the form of hot air. With a capacity of 300 grams and seven roasting levels, two of which are for espresso, the roaster can be used to refine any beans for different areas of application such as filter coffee or portafilter machines. The operation with only 4 buttons and automatically controlled roasting profiles is particularly simple and thus enables (but not only) beginners to enter the world of roasting.

You can not only discover extremely fresh coffee enjoyment and great aromas and fragrances, but those who roast beans themselves have also carried out a decisive step in coffee bean production with their own hands. This not only inspires your own taste, but certainly also friends and acquaintances. Not only the refinement of one of the four supplied green coffees – whether Guatemala, Brasilia, Kenya or espresso – succeeds superbly with the “Röstmeister”. Cleaning is also particularly convenient because the roasting drum is dishwasher-safe. In addition, maintenance-free and easy to connect to a normal socket, the Dieckmann device is the perfect opportunity to get to know coffee roasting at home.

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What is the “Coffee Diploma System”?

Abbreviated as “CDS” , the system of the “Specialty Coffee Association of Europe” (SCAE) was completely revised in 2014. The high school of coffee knowledge is conveyed. A central component of this training is the targeted expansion of general knowledge about coffee through to its preparation. A clearly defined curriculum as well as courses and exams form the basis. With this system, the SCAE has launched a training program that is unique in the world in this form. Depending on the level of knowledge required, different scores are awarded that determine whether the exam is passed. The subject areas at the CDS are divided into six modules:

  • Introduction to the world of coffee
  • Green coffee
  • Sensory skills
  • Roast
  • Broths
  • Barista knowledge

If the candidate reaches the total number of 100 points, he is awarded the SCAE Coffee Diploma, which certifies that the candidate has a deep knowledge of the field of coffee.

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The job of a master roaster is not only extremely interesting, but also places diverse demands on know-how. Love for coffee, intuition and the absolute will to achieve an excellent result are certainly important conditions that a master roaster must meet. The following knowledge is essential:

  • Thorough and extensive knowledge about roasting
  • Knowledge of the types of coffee and their provenance
  • A good sense of smell

Further facts:

  • There has been no special training to become a master roaster since the 1970s
  • Obtaining the “Coffee Diploma” is a good alternative to previous training
  • The best ways to earn a living in this profession are to set up your own coffee roasting company
  • The working hours and also the earnings depend on the orders
  • First and foremost, the particular love for this delicious drink is certainly the most important driving force to become a master roaster!