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Firebean Coffee Roasters
Michael started Firebean Coffee Roasters in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Firebean Coffee Roasters?
I’m a life-long learner.
I believe in play, and I love to create stuff. I’m a teacher by trade, turned to stay at home dad. The joke has been if you leave a guy at home long enough, he will find hobbies...and they sometimes involve fire.
Talk to a small group of peeps that are not being served in a certain way and provide that small group a really awesome experience.
So, I started hand spinning ½ pounds at the campfire and fell in love with the whole process. I had zero coffee roasting background. My roasting apparatus was made up of 2 stainless steel strainers and a hot-dog roasting pole I found in the shed, the whole thing ran me like 11 dollars and an hour or two. Total humble beginnings.
My first batch went to flames (hence the name Firebean) but I stuck with it. I did a lot of research online regarding roasting, and watched many many videos on roasting theory ect, but nothing taught me as well as trial and error. Getting out there and roasting. Under developing, over developing and finding that sweet spot. Always learning. I loved every bit of it, the sights, and smells, and sounds, the taste of freshly roasted wood-fired beans, the danger of the fire, the excitement and drama of the roast. It was hands-on, multi-sensory and I was in love...
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
We use old school technology, we are unplugged and its pretty labour intensive.
The bike chain is connected to the drum, so each pedal revolution spins the drum of beans. Spin it too fast and the beans tumble to quickly and as a result don’t get any heat, too slow and they hang out on the sidewall too long and they get too much heat. It’s a fine balance, and a constant read to get the rate of rise we want.
The woodfire is another variable that needs very close attention, drying and splitting the wood in the right way helps to create consistency in the heat. Also in the Yukon the ambient temp can go from plus 30c in the summer to -30c in the dead of winter, this comes with challenges too.
Trial and Error for the win! Like we mentioned earlier, we set our first batch of coffee on fire (and earned our name) It really is all about learning, and the creative process. Lots of back and forths, snipping and adding.
There is so much to be said for diving in and figuring it out as you go. We didn’t start wanting or expecting perfection, instead, we thought of this as a craft, and knew that after practicing we could nail it.
Now we’re happy to share the fruits of our labour.
We are at the point where we can work in finely tuned windows under a variety of circumstances and obtain roasts that are within 5 degrees celcius each and every time, and considering we lit our first batch on fire, we are quite happy with that progress.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater