BARRINGTON COFFEE ROASTING COMPANY

AUDIO SLIDESHOW - PART II/ ROASTING THE COFFEE

Barrington Coffee Roasting Company is owned by Gregg Charbonneau and Barth Anderson. (www.barringtoncoffee.com) 

The Company was founded in 1993, and over the years has grown to include a select staff of professionals. With Gregg and Barth, this team prepares coffee every day at the Roastery in Lee, MA.

THE COFFEE ORCHARDS OF GRAND-ANSE,  HAITI, WITH PIC MAYA IN THE BACKGROUND

THE COFFEE ORCHARDS OF GRAND-ANSE,  HAITI, WITH PIC MAYA IN THE BACKGROUND

INTERVIEW:

GREGG: "Part of what keeps us going is our love for coffee, our desire for quality all the time, trying to find the best coffee we can from every country. And every time there's a harvest, really checking them all out and finding ones that excite us and that people will enjoy. And then the challenge is to take that coffee and figure out how to roast it. Because, they're all different and they all seem to react differently to heat, time, temperature, air flow. So, every time we get a new coffee in, it's a whole new adventure trying to figure out where we want to roast it. Hoe far, how fast, how hot. How much we want to develop that coffee to really let what it has inside shine through."

Photos: Neighborhood drying patio, Peralta, Dominican Republic/ The 2008 Haitian Highlands Harvest.

BARTH: "Within a year's time we may work with over 40 different farms around the globe. The experience of being able to work with so many different small and driven family farms, private farms that have been cultivated in a more recent specialty-coffee time period. These are rich, heritage agricultural projects producing coffees that for years have been extraordinary. The notion, whether we're working with a family farm or a cooperative, is the coffees that come to us here are from very specific provenances. They are what make it possible for us to, in turn, roast beautiful coffee. Coffee is only ever as good as it is grown."

GREGG: "Barth is really the green coffee buyer, he has all the contacts and deals directly with the farms. He gets the samples here and we have to sample roast them, and then we get them in the cupping room on the table, get everybody there and that's sort of the moment of truth. We'll taste the coffee and the first round is really figuring out 'is this a coffee we really want to bring in? Do we feel that good about it? Can we be proud of it?' And then the next part is really determining the degree of roast. And, there's a lot of different things you can do to the coffee. We try not to do too much to the coffee. What WE try to do is roast the coffee to that special place, where all of the most interesting qualities it has to give us can be tasted can be developed, and come out - if we roast it a little too much, things tend to go the way of French roast, which we do enjoy, but it takes a particular coffee to do that with. Not every coffee is well-suited to that degree of roast. So, of course we're all involved in that. And, someone might say 'you know this is really great, and I think we could use this as a French roast or a Vienna roast or, more typically, this is wonderful as it is. Maybe let's go a couple of shades lighter, or maybe one shade darker to knock down a little of that acidity, bring out those earthy qualities, accentuate the body. Or, the opposite. You know, someone might say, 'You know, I taste a little fruit in here and I think we could get more out of it if we could lighten up on the roast just a hair.' So, it's like wine, very much, in that the same grape grown under different conditions can yield a very different result. And, that's part of what's so romantic  and what's so much fun about the coffee business. It's basically the same tree or plant that's grown in different climates, it's in different soil, exposed to different amounts of rainfall and sun. There's different minerals in the soil. And, depending on all these factors, as well as the way that it's picked and processed and how carefully it's handled, it can effect the flavor of the coffee really dramatically."

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BARTH: "I think our biggest challenge is to stay small in a culture that rewards being big. And, it's antithetical to the hands on, crafted approach that we take in what we do. The coffees that those farms produce, and our relationships with those coffees as we roast them, and then the relationships we have with our customers that happen on an intimate level, on a small scale, that is why our company is so special. "

The Company was founded in 1993, and over the years has grown to include a select staff of professionals. With Gregg and Barth, this team prepares coffee every day at the Roastery in Lee, MA.