Take This Job: Roasting coffee with Wild Gift Coffee Roasters

Take This Job: Roasting coffee with Wild Gift Coffee Roasters

Coffee roasting is a delicate process that requires attention to detail and minor adjustments to ensure the perfect cup of joe.

AUSTIN, Texas — The day starts early but easy at Wild Gift Coffee Roasters in North Austin.

The small team sits around a table – drinking coffee, of course – to start out and process the orders of the day.  

KVUE joined them on a recent morning to observe and give coffee roasting a try.

“We will do exactly what we’re doing now, which is have some coffee, process orders, you know, watercooler type,” said Sylvon Stevens, one of the key members of the Wild Gift team.

He clicks through the online orders that come from retail and wholesale customers, getting the order slips and spreadsheets ready for the roasting room.

“We’re trying to help more people have great coffee experiences,” he said.

By then, it’s about time for a second cup of coffee. The actual roasting is the next step in the day.

Jared Hill leads the roasting process at Wild Gift. Each batch is 20 pounds, which gets poured in at the top.

“We have a couple of probes down below [in the roaster] and it’s giving information on temperature, things that are happening with airflow and changes,” Hill said.

The data from the probes is tracked on a computer and displayed as a graph. Hill keeps a close eye on the graph throughout the roast.

Various gauges on the machine adjust the gas flow to ensure the perfect temperature. Consistency is key.

When the roasting process was nearly complete, we turned on the agitator, the arm that spins around the cooling tray. The tray sucks air from the room to help with the cooling.

After the beans are let loose, smoke and the smell of fresh coffee beans fills the room.

About 30 batches are roasted each day.

When the beans are cooled, they go through a de-stoner machine.

“Just helps us get any little pieces of debris out of the coffee,” Hill said.

Wild Gift also bags the coffee. The bag is filled with the exact amount of coffee depending on the customer (wholesale usually gets a larger bag) and then sealed using a hot press. It’s boxed up on location and shipped out for delivery, usually the same day it’s roasted.

KVUE’s Bryce Newberry asked Stevens what he thinks it takes to do this job.

“I think it takes that attention to detail. I think it also takes just the love of the industry. If you’re not a relational person, you’re not very social, I think coffee is going to drain you. Especially if you don’t have attention to detail – you might ruin someone’s day,” he said.

The owners of Wild Gift, Rob and Jenée Ovitt, are planning to install a new, larger roasting drum soon that will be capable of roasting up to 40 pounds at a time. It’s to account for more orders they’re getting more often.

Wild Gift’s coffee is served at some popular coffee shops around the Capital City, including Quack’s, Cenote and Bouldin Creek Café.

For more stories like this one, check out our Take This Job page.

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KVUE on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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