Introducing Echo Coffee’s roaster

January 31, 2010

Weíve been roasting coffee in small batches for nearly six months now, offering samples of approximately one pound to friends and family.† It’s unlikely the folks sampling our coffee have ever seen a coffee roaster, and while we will have it in the shop when we open, it seemed like a good time to provide a look at the roaster with you today.

coffee-roaster-1 coffee-roaster-2 coffee-roaster-3

What we have, is a Diedrich IR-3 coffee roaster.† With nothing in these photos to provide scale, you may be wondering how big it is?† Itís a little over six feet tall and two feet wide.† The silver funnel at the top is where we load the green coffee beans.† When the drum temperature is right, the silver lever at the top releases the beans into the drum.† The nob sticking out the back on the right is an air flow adjustment.† The control panel on the lower right allows us to turn everything on.†† The silver left middle left is used to open to door and release the beans into the cooling tray, which is the circular silver thing at the bottom.

In the photos above, the picture to the far left was taken just before releasing the beans into the drum.† In the next two pictures, you can make out the beans tumbling past the sight glass in the center of the release door.

We roast the beans for 13-14 minutes per batch, depending on the darkness of the desired roast, and then the coffee cools in the tray for about 10 minutes before we clear it out and make room for the next batch.† We can do the cooling and the roasting simultaneously, so we can do 4 batches an hour, if we work in a full production mode.† Honestly, we usually do 3 batches an hour, taking a little more time between batches with note taking and planning.

Although the roaster is rated for 6.6 pounds per batch, weíve found that this roasterís realistic capacity is closer to 5 pounds.† Beyond 5 pounds we donít feel there is quite enough heat to achieve our desired roasts in 13-14 minutes, so we keep the batches between 2 and 5 pounds.

When is Echo Coffee opening?

January 30, 2010

opendate Construction for our 68th Street & Thomas location in South Scottsdale is set to start any day now.† While we are frustrated with the delay in getting to this point, we have the right people working on the tenant improvements and they believe the shop can be completed in approximately 6 weeks.† Adding some time buffer to their potentially optimistic schedule, we expect to open in late March, 2010.

More Than Fair Coffee

January 30, 2010

MoreThanFairOn Friday, January 29, 2010, Ron Cortez of Cortez Coffee and Steve Belt of Echo Coffee agreed that Echo Coffee would feature coffees from the More Than Fair Program.

What is More than Fair?† It is a direct trade program between select coffee growers, coffee roasters, and retailers, similar to Sweet Mariaís Farm Gate Coffee Program and Intelligentsiaís Direct Trade Program.† But More than Fair is more than just a direct trade program.† The programís transparent goal is to provide a solution for sustainability and continuing quality for the growers, roasters, and retailers of specialty coffee.† Sustainability starts with price paid to the farmer that is, quite frankly, more than fair (the comparison pricing being that paid by the Fair Trade Program).† In exchange for this higher price, the farmer is supported by the Program to maintain the highest quality coffee they can produce.

Price paid to the farmer and the quality control that those farms maintain are actually just the start of the More than Fair Program, however.† Itís a transparency to the entire process of producing excellent coffee in the cup.† Itís a fairness in the way employees are treated, the safety and working conditions of employees, support within the community, and of course, environmental sustainability.

We think the More than Fair Program fits perfectly within the goals of Echo Coffee to produce excellent coffee for our customers and we are thrilled to be able share those coffees with you.