The Coffee Roaster's Companion by Scott Rao

Task: to translate and publish a book on roasting coffee.

The book covers all preliminary stages that coffee goes through before it becomes a drink, from transporting raw beans to storing roasted coffee. The author does not reduce his extensive experience to a set of clean-cut rules, but instead shares important principles. Following them will help professionals quicker achieve the ideal roast and consistently maintain it.

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Carefully visualized technical information helps better understand physical processes that happen with coffee beans when subjected to different roasting methods and apply the findings in practice depending on the bean variety and roasting machine used.

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Talking about the roasting process, Scott Rao gives diverse practical advice that will be useful for roasters, baristas, coffee producers and suppliers.


I don’t claim to have all, or even most, of the answers. Despite my ignorance, I offer the ideas in this book to begin a long-overdue conversation about how to systematically roast coffee. Merely claiming that coffee roasting should be subjected to a systematic, objective, evidence-based approach is sure to offend some coffee professionals. Many roasters believe their special “feel” for roasting makes their coffee great. However, as recent technological advances have improved our ability to measure roast development and consistency, those “intuitive” roasters’ results have usually been found lacking.


From the preface by the author


As a roaster and a consultant over the past nineteen years, I’ve had the opportunity to cup and view the roast data for each of more than 20,000 batches roasted on a variety of machines by various methods. About five years ago, I spent several days poring over reams of roast data in an attempt to find the common elements in the best batches I’d ever tasted. To be clear, I’m not referring to “really good” batches. I focused only on the data from batches so special that I could “taste” them in my memory months or years after physically tasting them. That effort yielded what I think of as the “commandments of roasting.”

A method graduated to a commandment only if it seemed to apply to a great variety of coffee and roasting machines. I’ve been testing and refining the commandments for five years, and so far I’ve yet to find a situation in which coffee tastes better when a commandment is broken. I’ve also had opportunities to test the commandments in reverse; the times I’ve tasted stellar roasts from others and the roaster was kind enough to share the roast data with me, sure enough, the profiles conformed to the commandments.

I can’t fully explain why these methods work. But I’m confident that if you remain open-minded and apply these techniques carefully and completely, you will be impressed by how much better your roasts taste.


From the chapter “The Tree Commandments of Roasting”

Scott Rao became interested in coffee in 1992. Since then, he has roasted and tried over twenty thousand batches of coffee beans, made several thousand coffee drinks, opened and successfully sold two coffee shops and wrote four books. Today, Scott consults coffee vendors.

Chapter "Physical Changes During Roasting"

(pages 50–59 of the book in PDF, 1,6 MB)

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  • Hardcover
  • 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 144×216 mm (5,67″×8,5″)
  • Press run: 3000
  • ISBN 978-5-98062-101-8
  • The studio wishes to thank Coffee Laboratory and its head Sergei Stepanchuk for their help with photographing the roasting process
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