Thursday, June 22, 2006

Back To School

For the 2 people who probably read this thing, when I last left you, I was faced with a fork in the road.
Well... I made a lane change. I am no longer with Grounds For Enjoyment. I have taken on the position of apprentice roaster/wholesale manager at The Coffee Klatch. I felt bad about leaving GFE with two days notice, but I did what I had to. Employers need to keep their word to their employees. That's all I'm going to say.

I regret not spending more time with Cliff, the company’s founder and head roaster. I feel I could've learned a lot about roasting and coffee in general from him. And, my other regret is leaving the employees in such a weird position. Now they have to train their new manager. Ugh.

So, I started at the Klatch this past Wednesday. Wow!! This wasn’t one of those, "...stand back and observe for a few days while we teach you how to do some basics." This was in-your-face training. I watched Mike, the owner, plot out a batch of coffee we were roasting and then he handed me the pen, paper and timer and I was off!!

You may ask yourself, "If he's roasting coffee, why does he need a pen and paper?" Well, when roasting coffee, every batch roasted has to be tracked as far as the temperature it reaches, how quickly it reaches such temperature, and other elements. So in actuality, while I'm roasting a batch of beans, I'm also plotting out a graph and taking detailed notes about all that's going on. It's crazy. Seriously.

So I was handed the tools I neede, pen, paper, and timer, and was instructed to 'go to it'. I had no idea what the hell I was doing, but at the end of each batch Mike would come over, check the graphed plot, check the color of the beans a few times and then out they came. It was exhausting too. I haven't been this sore in a long time. My body feels like it s been lifting weights two days straight. Did you all know coffee came in 150 lb. bags? And we don't have a forklift!!

Today, I did much better. I'm getting the hang of plotting and time management. I'm not up to three batches an hour (what a quality roaster can do), but I'll get there soon.

Honestly, can anyone remember back to the first time they took the portafilter out of the machine? How awkward it felt in your hand. You can see it on the faces of new hires going through barista training. That’s kind of how I feel. AWKWARD. But, I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. This is just another step in the coffee process, and so far... I'm liking it a lot.
Peath Out Nepolean,