mike kauai coffee roast plant manager, jorge kauai coffee quality assurance technician, tadashi kauai coffee roast plant supervisor, kauai coffee roastmaster mike

Meet the 'Ohana – Roast Masters and Q Graders

Is there anything that smells or tastes better than freshly roasted coffee? We think not! The endless flavors, textures, and sensory experiences coffee offers makes it one of the world's most-loved beverages. Did you know that describing all of the characteristics and nuances of coffee is an art and a science? Much like a sommelier evaluates wine, a Q grader is a professional licensed to cup, classify and assess coffee quality based on a strict set of standards. Becoming a Q Grader is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, and years of dedication to hone the craft and develop a palate for tasting. In this month's Meet the 'Ohana story, we introduce you to Jorge, Mike, and Tadashi, our Q graders, and roastmasters! They are the innovators responsible for the consistency and quality of Kauai Coffee. Find out what's in their cup and keeps them inspired. jorge kauai coffee quality assurance technician

Jorge, Quality Assurance Technician, Q Grader

How long have you been a part of the Kauai Coffee 'ohana? Eight years. I started as a seasonal harvester and now work in Quality Assurance. What keeps you excited about working with coffee? I love seeing what changes and development can be done using the same variety of coffee in different ways. What is your favorite Kauai Coffee to drink, and how do you brew it? Kope Olenalena is my favorite, and I like to brew it with a Chemex. Do you have any advice for people who want a career in the coffee industry? Where should they start? I think they should start with harvesting coffee followed by processing, roasting, and then tasting. This is the only way to appreciate how much work goes into a single cup of coffee.

kauai coffee roastmaster mike

Mike, Roast Plant and Institutional Equipment Manager, Q Grader

How did you first get into working with coffee? I've been with Kauai Coffee for 30 years. When the first processing plant was built, I was hired as a teenager to help our electricians run wire through the conduit in the wet mill. Then I became an operator in the wet and dry mill and eventually a supervisor in both operations. I spent the 90's grading green beans, sample roasting, and cupping in the factory lab and then started the roasting program when the Visitor Center opened in 1998. Tell us about your favorite kind of day at work. My favorite days are when the roasting plant and finish goods warehouse operations are running at high capacity, and all of our staff are working together as one unit to get things done. What keeps you excited about working with coffee? The positive impact we make on the people in the community and the reputation we have created through our hard work keeps me motivated. Working with coffee is also a continuous learning process. What is your favorite Kauai Coffee and how do you brew it? I agree with Jorge – Kope Olenalena with a French Press or Chemex. Kope is a brighter, more complex cup because of the lighter roast profile. What surprises you about working with coffee? There are always ways to make changes and improvements by being creative. We are continuously improving our fermented, sun dried coffees, and experimenting with aging green bean coffees in rum barrels. tadashi kauai coffee roast plant supervisor

Tadashi, Roast Plant Supervisor

How did you first get into working with coffee? I was a summer hire as a teenager in the 80's and returned as an adult about 11 years ago. I've worked everywhere from the machine shop to welding and roasting. What is your favorite kind of day at work? The busy kind! The roast plant starts at 5:30 a.m. and keeps running until the job is done. On a typical day, I schedule products for production, help the crew troubleshoot problems with equipment, and calculate the green beans needed for the week's roasting. What is your favorite Kauai Coffee to drink? It always changes, but right now, I love Mundo Novo. I drink cold brew in the summer and French Press in the winter. If you could tell someone who has never tried Kauai Coffee one thing about it, what would it be? With all of our different varieties, blends, and flavored coffees, we have a coffee for everyone! What advice do you have for someone who wants to start a career in coffee? No matter where you start, take the time to learn everything you can about the coffee cycle, from seed to cup. Most people don't know how much work goes into making a good cup of coffee. At Kauai Coffee, we see ourselves as a family, and you are a part of it. Shop for 100% Kauai Coffee online now.
TAGGED WITH: coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting, hawaiian coffee, kauai, kauai coffee, ohana