For Josh Crane, coffee has taken on a different meaning. It is the end goal, rather than the first thought. Josh has passion for coffee and, ultimately, passion for enhancing the morning cup for everyone he serves…
As you walk into the Coffee Ride garage, a wave of controlled chaos washes over you. Brown burlap sacks adorn the walls, the telephone numbers of Colombian growers stamped across the front. In the middle of the workspace, a well used, black and chrome roaster sits, tirelessly roasting, grinding, and drying the many varieties of beans.
Josh, usually carefree and laid-back, carries a look of determination.
Josh’s day as a small batch roaster is anything but typical. Prior to firing up the roaster, he creates a roasting schedule for the day, which consists of calculating weight losses of all the coffees that need to be roasted. Once the roaster is up to temp the dance begins.
“Roasting coffee is an intricate balance between time and temperature of which environmental elements and the amount of coffee being roasted can greatly affect these important factors.”
Each coffee has a roasting profile, which has been predetermined by something called “cuppings”. Josh’s job is to stick to these profiles all while packaging and weighing out the next batch.
“Multitasking is a key skill for a coffee roaster… but If it was the same, I’d get bored. One of the best and hardest parts about small business is that every single day is different and full of surprises.”
For Josh, coffee isn’t just about developing the best cup he can; it’s a passion that has come after a long pursuit of different careers and skills.
“I was in the process of applying to medical schools when I found my love for coffee and cycling. I have been forever longing to find a skill in my life that can give back to others. Roasting coffee is just like a gigantic science experiment where the end product is something you can consume and share with others. It’s that impact that I can have on others which truly drives my passion for roasting coffee. All the way from having the ability to choosing on sourcing coffee ethically to sitting down and blowing someone’s mind on how intense coffee flavors can be, all play a roll in the passion. The coffee and cycling community are pretty amazing here in Boulder, and coffee and bike riding may just go together better than pizza and beer…maybe.”
“One of the reasons I fell in love with coffee was being able to taste the different flavors that can be represented by different regions and processing techniques. I love sharing that same eye opening experience with others and finding which coffee speaks to them.”
Being a smaller coffee roaster allows Josh to have total control of how the coffee is roasted, when it’s roasted, and where it comes from. In fact, a main reason for his interest in coffee was that he couldn’t find fresh coffee with the flavors he was looking for.
“Coffee’s flavors transform over time and will increase for the first 15-20 days. My goal is to provide the customer with this experience of increase in flavors, not just the decrease that you may find in other traditional coffee retail locations. Coffee is extremely complex, even more than wine, and it’s fun to taste these changes.”
“The artisan portion of coffee roasting begins on choosing which coffees to source, and then deciding how each of these coffees are roasted and which flavors you want to be represented in that particular bean. Even if every roaster in Colorado sourced the same bean, because of the machine and the roaster, they would all taste different. I put my own spin on things and bring in diverse coffees that highlight unique flavors from different regions.”
The bike delivery portion is a small way for Josh to cut down on the environmental impact that coffee has. The beans travel so far to get to his roaster and Josh does his part to lessen that environmental footprint, although, he certainly seems to benefit from all that riding.
So, how does this all work? How can you come home to fresh coffee, waiting for you at your doorstep, every week?
“I’ll always have between 8-10 different varieties at a time. On the website we have subscriptions called “roaster’s choice”, which offers an ever changing variety of coffees so individuals can try a little of everything and hone in on their favorites. All the coffee I roast is delivered the next day and I offer weekly/bi-weekly subscriptions so you never run out of fresh beans.”