Caffeine fix


Aussies’ love affair with coffee and how you, too, can become a master roaster, as told by David Rosa.

What’s the ongoing attraction of roasting coffee?

Roasted coffee is a sexy beast. That satin-brown bean colour, the incredible aroma… and the flavour is undeniable. Chocolate admittedly runs a close second, but you need half a tonne of sugar added to it to make it palatable.

What initially attracted me to roasting coffee was how natural a process it was. Simply add heat at the correct rate and time, and around 15 minutes later – voila, it’s done! No added ingredients, artificial colours or flavourings!
The green side of coffee production was also still a very natural process, although granted, the washed-coffee process can be rather water intensive. Decaffeinated coffee is another story, but more on that later.

I also liked the blend of art and science in coffee roasting. You need to be in tune with both sides of this equation. The trend of late has been to focus on the science side, with the onset of data-logging software and profile roasting semi/fully automated roasting machines.
I sincerely believe that this technology has helped with consistency and quality. I do, however, feel that good master roasters also need to have a feel for the roasting process itself. This is the art side, and one that I believe is crucial to acquire, especially as an artisan roaster.

Younger master roasters appear obsessed with the science, and I guess it’s a natural side effect of the geek culture/connected society of today. However, all the science in the world won’t get around the natural variation in the green beans that you will encounter on a day-to-day basis. For this you need feel. This can’t be taught with a textbook. It only comes with experience, mentoring and time. This is what I grew to love about becoming a master roaster. If you love cooking and its various techniques (like applying the correct heat at the right times) and you love describing flavours, you will become a good master roaster.

My last tip here is to say this. Become an artisan coffee roaster only if you think you will love it and are willing to put in the time and effort. This will help you get through the highs and the lows, making it all worthwhile in the end – and then you too can live the dream!

Coffee granita by David Rosa

An easy, light dessert and after-dinner coffee all rolled into one.


  • 500ml freshly brewed, strong black coffee (we used 30g ground coffee in a cafetière and brewed for 7 mins)
  • 80g golden caster sugar
  • 100ml coffee liqueur (we used Kahlúa)

To serve

  1. 1 tub mascarpone
  2. 50g dark chocolate, grated
  3. Pour the coffee into a jug and stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Add the coffee liqueur and leave to cool completely.
  4. Once cold, pour the mixture into a freezable container and put in the freezer for 1 hour. Mix it with a fork – you should start to see ice crystals forming at the edges. Return to the freezer for 20 minutes then stir again. Repeat once or twice more until the granita is all clumps of ice.
  5. Serve in glasses or bowls as an elegant dessert. For a more indulgent version, add a dollop of mascarpone and a grating of dark chocolate.

This is an edited extract from The Artisan Roaster by David Rosa, $79.95 and available via