The fine art of roasting

Jared Truby

Photo By Alexis Harmon

Jared Truby, 23, doesn’t sleep much. When I caught up with him before his shift at The Naked Lounge, he was running on just three hours. He’d stayed up late writing a paper and studying for tests in his Butte College classes. Though Jared wants to transfer to Southern California to study marine biology, he’s currently living the java-filled life of a Naked Lounge barista. For the last year, until recently, Jared roasted all of The Naked Lounge’s coffee beans himself.

How exactly do you roast coffee?

[First] you weigh it all out. We were doing 26 pounds, but when it comes out it’s only 20 pounds. So you throw it in there. It’s all about temperature control and paying attention. It takes 15 minutes to do a whole batch. There’s a crack—you’ll hear a pop. It’s called first crack, and that will mean that the oxygen is leaving. Then there’s a second crack. During the second crack you have to pay close attention. It only lasts a minute. The second crack is when the carbon dioxide is leaving the beans. It will sound like breaking toothpicks. So you are actually pulling them out and checking the beans literally every 5 to 10 seconds. You’re looking for little spots of oil and once you see one to two spots of oil on most of the beans, you’ll take them out. It’ll take like five to 10 minutes to cool.

How often did you roast?

We would roast once a week. Start around 4:30 in the morning and get done around 6 at night. Yeah [he laughs], long. Long day. It was a long process. We’d go through, on a busy, busy week, like 115 bags of coffee, times five pounds. And that’s after roasting. Basically, you’re roasting between 500 and 600 pounds of coffee every week.

Why don’t you roast anymore?

I went back to school. I was off school for a year. I worked at the restaurant [Sin of Cortez], too. So I was all over the place. There was a month where I only got two days off.

Do you want to keep roasting?

I’d love to, because there’s a lot of experimentation. Actually, I went to a barista competition in Petaluma—the Western Regionals. It was intense. You’re basically sitting in front of eight judges that’ll scrutinize you and just tear you apart in any way possible. You’re miked, and you’re sitting in a conference room with 200 people staring at you, and you have to make 12 drinks, explain them, serve them like you would serve a five-star meal to these people. It was the most intense thing ever. It was scary. We scored in the middle of the pack. Right in the middle. We would have done a whole lot better, but we’d never done it. For first timers, they were actually surprised we did as well as we did. We could do a lot better—and we will, guaranteed, next year.