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A Look Inside the Highly Caffeinated Life of a Coffee Roaster

Most people start their day with a cup of coffee, but only a dedicated few turn that one cup into thousands.
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Most people start their day with a cup of coffee, but only a dedicated few turn that one cup into thousands.

Before a bag of coffee beans ends up in the hands of a condescending barista or is coarsely ground in the kitchen of the French Press Hard-On Guy, somebody's gotta turn those raw, green caffeine nuggets into the brown bombshells that we all know and love.

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To give a window into a roaster's daily grind, we visited Cuvée Coffee just outside of Austin, TX and shadowed the staff for nine very caffeinated hours. You'll get a closer look at the roasting process, as well as an incredibly thorough brewing course with an emphasis on the science of flavor. But mostly there are pretty pictures of coffee!

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Each day starts with a cupping session to test the quality of the previous day's roast.

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The entire staff circles the tasting table, slurping spoonfuls of coffee and noting irregularities in the flavor profiles.

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A violent slurp is important because it sends the coffee across every part of the mouth, from the tip of the tongue, which is most in-tune with sweetness, to the back of the mouth, which has evolved to taste bitterness. That bitterness can trigger a gag reflex as protection against dangerous substances. Like instant coffee.

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Meanwhile, Mike, the owner, is breaking open a bag of unroasted beans. The burlap sacks are lined with GrainPro bags that can keep the beans fresh for up to a year. This is important because roasters generally buy a year's worth of product at a time, using an importer as both a credit line and storage facility.

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