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Three Estonian Roasters and Their Work Rituals

While discovering the history of the speciality coffee roasting in Estonia, Kelly Maltsaar had the chance of visiting some of the roasters themselves and could even watch them at work. Maybe you would expect their work schedules to do pretty much the same, but the opposite is true. The three roasters—and their roasting spaces—are organised quite differently. Have a look at what their work days look like!

Coffee People

Coffee People roastery is located in a large building just outside of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. They have a massive room just for roasting and meters high shelves for green beans and packed coffee. It is a remarkable and vast space, where they currently roast on the Loring S35 Kestrel. One can only be impressed when seeing so many bags of coffee around.

Three Estonian Roasters

Johan Rohtla’s roasting day at Coffee People

“The day starts by cleaning out the chaff barrel and heating up the machine. While the roaster heats up I usually brew a Chemex and make a plan for the day.

The plan involves figuring out the coffees I have to roast and also determining what kind of roast profiles I will be using. If there are any changes to the roast profiles that I will be making I will write them out beforehand so during roasting I can focus solely on the roast.

three estonian roasters
Johan Rohtla, Coffee people. Photo – Marek Metslaid

Then when I start roasting I lose myself into the world of cracking beans and sweet aromas for a couple of hours until all the batches are done. When done roasting I collect samples from all the coffees I roasted and cool down the machine.

After that, it’s usually time for a cupping of the coffees roasted on previous days or doing other necessary stuff around the roastery.”

The Brick Coffee Roastery

The Brick Coffee Roastery is located in the heart of the artsy quarters of Telliskivi Loomelinnak (Creative City). Sharing the space with the restaurant Trühvel, the customers get to enjoy an amazing cup of coffee with their dinner or lunch. The room of the roastery itself is quite small, but it hosts the Diedrich IR-12 as well as shelves for both green and roasted beans. A glass door separates the room from the restaurant giving the opportunity to enjoy the roasting process if you happen to be there at the right time.

photo – Näljane Nelik
photo – Näljane Nelik

Henry Politanov’s roasting day at The Brick Coffee Roastery

“First you must take care of yourself and the tools. Every roasting day starts with a decent meal and cleaning the machine.

Then we make the plan of what to roast and how to roast it. That means we do a cupping of the coffee we want to roast before throwing another batch in the oven, so we have fresh insight into that roast profile. Then we compare the results with older cuppings and set a roasting goal. At the end of the roasting day, we pack the coffees.

Henry Politanov, The Brick Coffee Roastery

Cuppings are also important, but sometimes you get a bit of a caffeine overdose. So a beer or a decent meal helps to stabilise the shakes. There are also other alternatives, everybody has to find their own.”

Karlova Kohv

Karlova Kohv is a place that is made to fit perfectly into the location it currently hosts. The area of Karlova in the university city of Tartu is a place of friendly and accommodating people, lovely small wooden houses and wonderful vibe. The café/roastery is no exception to this. Their roaster Probat 12 is in one of the corners of the café, and even though customers usually won’t be able to see the roasting process, one can always imagine when enjoying, for example, their Ethiopian filter coffee.

Estonian Roasting Coffee Scene
photo – Karlova Kohv

Laura Mähar’s roasting day at Karlova Kohv

“We usually set up for the roasting day on the previous day—we plan our batches and weigh the green coffee. As the roaster is in the same room where the coffee shop we have to move around some stuff so that on our roasting day everything would be smoother.

Laura Mähar, Karlova Kohv

I then just log in to Cropster and start the day. Roasting requires concentration and as the Chinese adverb – when You carry water, carry water – we also try to concentrate on one thing—the roasting. Depending on the length of the roasting day sometimes we also package some coffees on the same day.”