Roasting Q & A with Chief Roaster Lowell Grosse

You could say that we are obsessed with coffee, and you’d be right! In order to produce the best cup of coffee, you have to start with the best beans. Then you have to carefully roast them to bring out their intrinsic flavor.

At Charleston Coffee Roasters, we select the world’s best coffees and then slow-roast in small batches to create those special tastes. We only roast what we sell, so you are GUARANTEED to receive the freshest coffee possible!

The roasting process is part science, and part art form. The science part is that by applying heat, the beans are transformed from their green grassy state to their deep, rich and complex roasted state. The artistic aspect is that a skilled roaster listens, smells and watches as the beans are brought to life, delivering all the distinct regional characteristics hidden inside the bean. The trick to roasting coffee is to bring the coffee along slowly rather than rushing it, by understanding what it’s telling you and responding.

 Charleston Coffee Roasters - Roasting Q&A with Chief Roaster Lowell Grosse

To learn more about the fascinating process of coffee roasting, we sat down with our President and Chief Roaster, Lowell Grosse, for a Roasting Q & A…

WHAT IS ARTISAN ROASTING?

Every one of our coffees is roasted by hand, every day, by our skilled roasters. We also taste every one of our coffees, every day, to ensure quality consistency.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT ROASTING?

Roasting coffee is a continuous challenge. It’s a creative process and a high wire act each time you push coffee in a roast. Like music, you only know how good a note is when you hear it, and you only know how good a coffee is when you taste it.

WHAT DOES ROAST-TO-ORDER MEAN?

At Charleston Coffee Roasters, when you order coffee from us today, we’ll roast it for you tomorrow. Not until then will your coffee be packaged and on its way to you. This is our commitment and the main reason our coffee tastes so rich and flavorful. Only coffee that has been recently roasted can taste so good. 

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHARLESTON COFFEE ROASTERS AND OTHER ROASTERS?

We roast coffee in small batches so that the entire roast can be monitored by a single experienced professional. Our roaster doesn’t rely on complicated machines to monitor the roast, just her own senses and attention to detail. Micro-roasting offers, by far, the best coffee value: better taste, aroma and quality.

Slow roasting is bringing out as much body as a coffee’s flavor and acidity will allow. Body is the sensation of heft or viscosity on the palate. It increases as a roast progresses, but at the expense of acidity. This is the lively, effervescent feeling on the tongue that may be lost in indifferent dark roasting.

HOW DO YOU COOL DOWN ROASTS?

Our coffee is cooled with a process known as air quenching. Immediately after the coffee exits the roasting drum, a fan pulls cool air through the beans. Larger roasters cool their coffee by spraying water into the drum, which adds oxygen and speeds the staling process. It also adds weight to the coffee, which is paid for by the customer. 

DO YOUR DEEP ROASTED COFFEES CONTAIN MORE CAFFEINE THAN OTHER, LIGHTER COFFEES?

Actually the longer the roast or darker the roast, the less caffeine.

What questions do you have about coffee roasting? Feel free to reach out to us anytime or visit our roasting facility!