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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Roaster Spotlight: Arsaga's

Today's roaster spotlight is a long time Fayetteville shop. My very first experience in coffee was my dad taking me to their first store on Block St. for a cappuccino. They were instrumental in fostering my love of coffee. They will always hold a special place in my coffee filled heart. 

Arsaga's Roastery is owned by Cary and Cindy Arsaga. They have been in coffee since 1993 and have had a huge impact on the coffee scene in Fayetteville. I got to ask Braden Bull, their chief roaster, a few questions about his work at Arsaga's. Here are his answers.

FPC: How did you get into the coffee industry?
Braden Bull: The Arsaga's are long time family friends, and when I heard about the position I thought it sounded like an unusual and stimulating profession.

FPC: How long have you been in your current position?
BB:  I've been involved with coffee now for three years. I've been roasting for Arsaga's for all three of those years. Cary Arsaga trained me and then got out of the way to let me explore.

FPC: Why do you do what you do?
BB: For me, roasting coffee is a meditative activity. It's about roasting a new varietal for the first time, putting some good music on, getting my head in the moment, and then reacting to the heat and the beans. It is a Zen/yoga experience.

FPC: What do you like most about the coffee industry?
BB: I like the international aspects of coffee and the way that coffee brings different cultures together. Even though much coffee history has an element of exploitation regarding indigenous cultures, this history gives room for the creating of models for progressive business practices.

FPC: What is your mission?
BB: To my mind, a simplification of the Arsaga's mission is community connection and quality coffee. My personal mission is to cultivate and maintain the aspects of roasting that define it as an art and a science. I don't want to support the idea of roasting as a repetitive, computerized act, plugging profiles in to a hard drive and hitting "go." That would kill the art of it for me. One of the things that really turns me on about coffee is the mystery. Over 800 compounds are created inside the bean during the roasting process. The majority of these are not identified by coffee scientists. This level of subjectivity leaves a lot of room to bringing in art as an element of the scientific process, making the roasting of coffee a truly expressive endeavor

FPC: Tell me about the Kenyan coffee.
BB: Our featured coffee is the Kenyan Peaberry. It is grown in the Nyeri region of Kenya by farmers of the Kiri Mara cooperative. It is grown in red volcanic loam soil at altitudes between 1,700 and 2,100 meters. It is hand picked, wet-processed, and sun-dried.

FPC: Why do you think this roast level is best for this coffee?
BB: We roast the Kenyan Peaberry light to medium-light. To us, to roast a rich and nuanced African coffee like this any darker would be a small tragedy. Simply put, the lighter the roast, the more you taste the nature of the bean.

Don't forget to stop by and get some of Braden's lovingly crafted coffee. Use the promo code FRESHPRESS to get 15% off your entire order all through August.

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