Behind the Roaster: Rosso Coffee Roasters
For our next stop, we're landing in Calgary, AB at Rosso Coffee Roasters. Rosso Coffee Roasters needs very little introduction as they have been around since 2007 and have made quite a name for themselves in the specialty coffee industry! With 6 locations in Calgary and a number of awards under their belt, it's safe to say that they know what they're doing! Keep reading below for our interview with their Head Roaster!
BCB: Can you briefly introduce yourself to us?
Paul: My name is Paul and I have been the Head Roaster at Rosso Coffee in Calgary for over three years. I am originally from the UK and have four kids.
BCB: What is your first memory of specialty coffee?
Paul: Buying a bag of Kenyan Peaberry in the 90's. It was so fruity and bright that it changed my perception of what coffee was.
BCB: What did you do before you started roasting at Rosso?
Paul: I emigrated to Canada from the UK in 2016, I had been roasting coffee in the UK for 15 years.
BCB: How did you get into roasting coffee?
Paul: In 2001 I got a job as a barista in a new independant coffee house that had a small roaster. A few months after working there I was shown how to roast by my boss and soon afterward took on all of the roasting. In 2008 we opened a new roastery with a much larger roaster.
BCB: What was the name of the roastery in the UK?
Paul: Redroaster in Brighton.
BCB: What are you passionate about outside of coffee?
Paul: My family, because I love them, healthy food, running and cycling because they make me feel good!
BCB: If you could change one thing in the specialty coffee industry, what would it be?
Paul: The lives of the people who grow coffee around the world, I'd like to see them able to make a living wage from growing coffee.
BCB: What would you say is one of the first steps we can take to make sure that the farmers are making a sustainable living wage?
Paul: Green coffee buyers need to find out how much a farmer needs to earn and pay an appropriate price. Consumers need to be prepared to pay a price that is reflective of the work that goes into each cup. Lots of smaller coffee companies around the world already have prices that reflect the true worth of the product, but still the majority of the coffee sold in the world is underpriced.
BCB: What is one of your favorite things about the specialty coffee industry?
Paul: It's a very dynamic industry, it has changed so much since I started and I'm excited to see where it goes.
BCB: Who is one person in the coffee industry that inspires you and why?
Paul: James Hoffman. I admire his scientific approach and his impartiality. As an industry we are often very quick to adopt a new technique or theory without having tested it first hand.
BCB: How do you choose the coffees that you want to roast?
Paul: Our coffees are all direct trade so we only get coffees from origins that we have a relationship with, from these origins we choose coffees based upon how they cup and where they can fit into our menu.
BCB: What brewed/cupped coffee stands out to you most, why?
Paul: Lactic fermented Gesha from La Palma & El Toucan, it's got so much depth, beautiful tropicals and an amazing mouthfeel.
BCB: Do you have a favorite coffee origin, why?
Paul: As a whole origin, probably Ethiopia. Being the birthpace of Arabica coffee and consequently having a diverse range of varietals make Ethiopian coffees unique and interesting.
BCB: How do you brew your coffee at home on your days off?
Paul: Some kind of pourover or Aeropress.
BCB: Regular or inverted method when brewing Aeropress?
Paul: Inverted usually with a Prismo.
BCB: If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with any one person, alive or deceased, who would it be and why?
Paul: My Dad, he never got to know what I did for a career. He was a tea drinker but I think I would have brought him around to dinking coffee, he would have loved the roasting process and the differences between coffees.
BCB: Do you listen to anything while roasting, music, podcasts, etc?
Paul: I currently roast in a café setting so don't like to isolate myself from what is going on around me, but when I worked alone I used to listen to BBC Radio 4 and science podcasts.
BCB: Anything on the horizon for Rosso that we should keep an eye out for?
Paul: We are soon going to have a much larger roaster in our new warehouse so that is definitely something to look forward to.
I want to take this time to say thank you to Paul for taking time out of his busy schedule to have this conversation with us! Stay tuned for the next interview!