Hasbean Coffee: Roland Glew, head roaster, talks about the craft of coffee roasting

Hasbean Coffee: Roland Glew, head roaster, talks about the craft of coffee roasting

Hasbean Coffee, head roaster, Roland Glew, reveals his path to coffee roasting and how partnerships are the backbone of the business.


How did you get into the coffee industry and what made you want to become a coffee roaster?

I was working in quality control for a software company, where there was not a lot of opportunity to progress. After being made redundant I was looking for a new opportunity so decided to try coffee. It was something I had a passion for as a hobby.

I started working as a barista and knew Hasbean as a consumer. I spent a lot of time chatting with them via twitter and social media. When they were looking for a new roaster they asked me to come in and have chat. Turns out I was much better at roasting coffee than I was as a barista and jumped at that chance.

Roasting is really tangible and it’s really hands on.  You get to take something, craft it and see the end result. It is a satisfying process.  I was really passionate about telling the stories of the farmers and where the coffee comes from, and to work at Hasbean took me a step closer to understanding that.


What has been the biggest lesson in your career so far?

The most important thing is relationships. You can have good coffee but if you find good people to work with that is the most important thing. The foundations of our success in the business are based on finding good partners to work with both in terms of our customers which we supply, and in terms of the people that supply us.


What are the key challenges facing roasteries at the moment?

We are seeing a lot of trends in the market place that people get very excited about. But they are not necessarily for the long-term. You have to be careful when buying coffee as you are purchasing 12 months ahead. When we are working with our partners and they want to bring a new type of coffee to market,  they are looking at three years to plant and get a crop. If they or we make the wrong call about what is going to be needed, then that is going to have a massive impact long term. 

The market is going to push towards more diversity of brands with roasters having a clearer identity about what makes them unique. We are a young market, with a lot of businesses trying very hard, and doing very similar things. We are going to see more people try to identify what makes them different than the other roasters.  It is an interesting period as we are starting to mature as a market.


You are showcasing at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo Roastery Masterclass Live.  What made you want to become involved?

It is a good opportunity to share with a wider audience what we do and why we do it. The overall steps of how you get your cup of coffee is really important for us as a business and as an industry.

I am going to be talking about seasonality. This is massively important to us as we have a varied range of coffees from all over the world. There is definitely an art and a craft to know how coffee is going to hold in terms of quality, and it is really important to manage that.  



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