The Sample Coffee Roaster Linking Origin with Roasteries

It’s no secret that specialty coffee roasteries, cafes and consumers are interested in exceptional flavour experiences. All these flavour experiences start at origin: crop quality, processing quality, drying quality etc., and the pressure from specialty coffee roastery’s and consumers for a producer to produce interesting, high-quality coffees is significant.

However, for Sam Corra, one of the tools that is fundamental to achieving this has been glaringly absent: a roaster that reflects the way the coffee would be roasted (and therefore, the way it tastes) in the roastery buying it. If a producer could access the same technology that the roastery has, their vision for improvement and innovation could become a lot clearer.

"...a big driving point for me is seeing technology in producer’s hands, empowering producers to have the same standards and same resources that we have the luxury of having in the Western coffee market."

Nucleus Coffee Tools, in collaboration with Kaffelogic, have developed the Link Coffee Roaster. Sam Corra, the product developer and visionary, says “a big driving point for me is seeing technology in producer’s hands, empowering producers to have the same standards and same resources that we have the luxury of having in the Western coffee market. This has several benefits, one: consistency, two: reliability, and it also allows us to speak a common language. Sometimes, if you’re focusing just on agriculture and growing the best coffee you can, I think that it’s a little bit of an overreach for us to also expect you guys to be amazing sample roasters, but sample roasting is such an important part of the supply chain. It’s the one transaction that makes the key decision between me as a buyer and producers.”

I had the privilege of attending a workshop given by Sam Corra at PRF El Salvador in 2023, just before the Link was being made available to the public. His vision is clear: to put modern roasting technology into the hands of producers. The two pillars of the product that are in line with this goal are its accessible price and its prebuilt roast profiles. It has over 205 prebuilt roast profiles and an accompanying app that helps you to find the ideal roast profile for your coffee. The app will prompt you to answer a couple of questions around processing, origin and varietal. The roaster also comes with a density tube that can give a reading of the density of the coffee. Using the answers and the density reading, it will select a suitable roast profile, specific to your coffee.

 

 

"...sample roasting is such an important part of the supply chain. It’s the one transaction that makes the key decision between me as a buyer and producers.”

All the roast profiles have been built by Sam, who has been the Head Roaster at Ona Coffee and is the current Director of Coffee at Ona Coffee. Sam has roasted coffee for the World Barista Championships, one of which was used to win in 2015, as well as for the World Brewer’s Cup. It could be argued that the custom roast profiles might lead to everyone tasting only what Sam would like them to taste, his roasting has been objectively proven to be exceptional and world class.

The price is one of the most competitive on the high-end sample roaster market. At $1850 (about R35000), it is much more accessible than other 100g commercial sample roasters in its class. For example, a second hand Ikawa Pro100 (a sample roaster with similar capabilities) would sell for around $5450 (R101 000).

The Link facilitates access to a roaster that replicates the roast approach of one of the world’s leading specialty roastery’s. This could transform a producer’s ability to replicate what their product tastes like at the final link of the supply chain, creating a new avenue for quality and flavour to be explored at origin.

The Link requires no prior coffee roasting experience, is completely portable (fits into a brief-case size case), created very little mess and has some of the most advanced roasting technology built into the experience. Since it’s release, it has already undergone a software update (which can be performed remotely), which illustrates the dedication that Nucleus has to innovation. . This sample roaster isn’t only for your favourite roastery, but for your favourite producer too.

Originally published on Wednesday, 20 December (2023) by The Coffee Magazine, South Africa