We love nerds. Nerds are a very, very important asset to the specialty coffee industry – for ANY industry, to be clear. Nerds push quality; nerds demand results. Nerds are why we have it so good these days, across all and sundry spectrums of modern life. We regard nerds very highly, perhaps in no small part because we are ourselves huge geeks, in our own obsessive bloggy way.
For coffee in particular, there are all different kinds of nerds – a rich tapestry of dorkyness that helps raise the tide of quality all around the world. There are the barista nerds, of course but also the green buying nerds; the cafe design nerds; the packaging nerds; the run-your-own-business nerds; the home barista nerds; the blogger nerds (guilty!); the QC nerds; the slow-brew nerds; the espresso nerds; the micro-finance nerds; the import nerds; the export nerds; the producer nerds; the cupper nerds; the GCQRI nerds; the fermentation experiment nerds; the build-the-best-washingt station nerds; the TDS nerds; the competition nerds; the single origin nerds; the blending nerds; and so on, with many of these categories overlapping atop themselves to form a glorious global dogpile of total coffee geekery. Bless you all.
But there’s one special kind of nerd we want to focus on today, and that’s the roaster nerd. A feature that appeared recently on the Dogwood Coffee Roasters blog is so deeply, totally nerdy – so full of obsessive detail and exacting, demanding specificity – that it could have only been written by one of your very own. Which is was, of course: the article’s author, Stephanie Ratanas, is a complete and total roaster nerd, and we mean that as a very high compliment.
So to roaster nerds around the world, read this article - go and get your geek on. Stephanie Ratanas is one of your own, and here she is in her own words, talking through her experiences roasting for the inaugural 2012 World Coffee Roasting Challenge in Vienna, the very pinnacle of international coffee roasting nerdery. It’s like watching Athena herself, goddess of wisdom, holding hands with St. Isidore of Seville, patron saint of the of database, as together they ascend Mount Olympus in pursuit of ethereal, celestial geekery.
For the rest of us, consider it a kind of anthropological essay reading; a look in on a culture of geekiness perhaps foreign to our own, but very much a part of the tapestry of geekery that makes specialty coffee so special, and so delicious. Then go back to whatever else it is you’re a total nerd about, and be on your merry way.