Andrew bloostein | Oren's Daily Roast - our first American customer one year on

Oren's Daily Roast are one of our first ever customers in USA to use our 120V version of the IKAWA Pro Sample Roaster which they use in their New York roastery. They have 8 cafes in central New York, and a rich history of innovation and fine coffees!  

We met their Director of Coffee (and lifelong 'worker') Andrew Bloostein at SCAA and he has been kind enough to share more about their business, and the role their IKAWA plays. 

Over to Andrew...


"Oren’s Daily Roast started as a true micro-roaster. My father, the eponymous Oren opened the first store in 1986 with beans and merchandise in front and a 7lb Gothot roaster in the back. He chose that particular roaster mainly for its size and built in catalyzer to clean the exhaust. However, the unique roasting style of the machine helped get us to where we are today.
 

Andrew roasting on the Oren's Daily Roast modified Gothot roaster

Andrew roasting on the Oren's Daily Roast modified Gothot roaster

Our original production roaster was built to do small, fast roasts and run virtually continuously—something I’m sure IKAWA’s designers can relate to. We’ve since upgraded to a separate roasting plant with two larger batch machines, but we’ve stuck with that unique Gothot design and made our own customizations. Our machines are overpowered for their batch sizes, but we use the additional energy and airflow to make quick adjustments to the roasting process so we get full development despite the shorter overall roast time.

The original Oren's Roast cafe, shop and roastery on 1st Ave, back in 1986

The original Oren's Roast cafe, shop and roastery on 1st Ave, back in 1986

I’m part of the family, so I like to tell people that I’ve been working since birth, but I’ve been paid since I graduated college in 2010. I’ve filled many roles at the company, but currently I am the Director of Coffee—supervising our production roasters and sourcing all green coffees for Oren’s and our new Galahad Coffee division.

I had been on the hunt for a better sample roasting option for a long time. We had an electric Probat at one time, but there was no way to set it up in our Manhattan office. I used old home roasters like the amazing Sirocco, and ripped open many newer machines trying to modify them to get an acceptable and repeatable roast out of them. Spare parts were difficult to find, and my modified roasts were rarely consistent enough for sample roasting.

The IKAWA Pro Sample Roaster amongst a selection of other coffee paraphernalia and old coffee home roasters

The IKAWA Pro Sample Roaster amongst a selection of other coffee paraphernalia and old coffee home roasters

I first heard about IKAWA through a tweet from James Hoffmann of Square Mile Roasters. He had apparently been given an early prototype of the roaster to evaluate and commented that the profiles were nothing like what he was used to — reaching first crack in a couple of minutes. A light went on in my head. A tabletop roaster that had profiling and managed to roast in times more similar to our production roasters?

That was it for me. I emailed IKAWA to ask about a US model, and kept bugging them. I first saw it in person at SCAA Seattle 2015 and couldn’t wait for it to finally be ready for the US market 2015. 
 
We’ve been using it for all our sample roasting for just over a year now.

It took a little while to develop some solid profiles - since my goal is just to have a repeatable standard - but once I felt I had it down, the machine has been virtually flawless. It’s such a relief to have a sample roaster that can crank out great, consistent sample roasts at a moment’s notice. The small batch size is also helpful, since I can usually get at least two roasts—even out of micro-lot samples. 

Below is the profile I've been using for Sample Roasting. It’s currently set at 222 degrees Centigrade end temperature, but usually I listen for the end of first crack and push it into cooling mode a little early if needed.

The roast profiles show the curve in degrees Centigrade (left) and Fahrenheit. Read about how to change this setting here

My current obsession is trying to map an IKAWA profile to our production machines. It’s tricky, since the IKAWA Pro profile is primarily based on the exhaust temperature, not the bean mass temperature, but I’m confident I’ll get it eventually (more on this topic in Rob Hoo's guest blog)

While I haven't found the magic formula yet, I think that the IKAWA is a closer match in roast style to our production machines. That’s a huge reason I like the roaster so much.

In my spare time I still like to tweak the profiles and experiment, and I also plan to explore some of the educational opportunities the roaster enables and hope to work with the NYU Coffee Club to develop a roasting workshop this fall."

A big thank you to Andrew for sharing his experience and sample roasting profile. Oren's Daily Roast coffees are available from their cafes, or online for those not based in New York!