Michael de Renouard is a certified Loring Roast Master, SCA Authorized trainer, and roasting consultant. He has been roasting with a Loring since 2011 at Solberg & Hansen in Oslo and has gained a tremendous amount of experience as a coffee industry professional since he started roasting in 2006. Michael hosts roasting workshops in Europe which aim to empower coffee industry professionals to learn new techniques and improve their overall skill set.
We interviewed Michael to learn more about his best coffee roasting advice, insights on roasting a lighter Scandinavian profile, how to feel empowered and cared for as a head roaster, and more in the interview below.
What is your best advice for people migrating from a traditional roaster to a Loring?
Due to mainly convection heat application, the Loring roaster has a different requirement for reaching a desired sensory preference. It’s not possible to completely use your old profiles from a different ecosystem. By knowing the possibilities and challenges of any roaster, you are able to see more clearly the perimeter of a realistic profile design.
You have more roasting possibilities, you’re less limited by hardware constraints such as the need to soak the coffee and worrying about initial scorching even for naturals. Another advantage is being able to introduce more energy to the beans initially to be able to faster decrease the drum temp towards the end for a gentle ending benefitting lighter roasts.
Another piece of advice is being able to adjust at any time the profile trajectory for a shorter or longer period e.g. the initial roast phase (middle phase) and the primary roast phase (development phase) in a controlled calculated manner and not just hope for the best. You decide at which time to reach 165C and 200C by using Roast Architect to design the baseline and being able to re-edit for perfection. By knowing the possibilities and challenges of a Loring Smart Roaster are you able to, within the parameters, design/redesign roast profiles in a simple way and succeed with your coffees faster.
What mistakes do you see roasters making when roasting lighter Scandinavian profiles?
As more people around the world become fascinated by the Northern European light coffee roast style, roasters are inspired to introduce this style to a discerned customer segment. It reveals the true characteristic of the green coffee, as it exhibits both the positive attributes as well as the flaws of the coffee, thus requiring a high quality green bean. Roasters don’t always realize when this style of coffee is borderline too light, a balanced roasting between bean surface and core development Is crucial to avoid green flavors as well as harnessing the amount of roasty aromas and flavors. Also, new roasters in the market often overestimate how well Nordic style roasted coffee is received by their customers and end up making a different product altogether, changing the whole concept of the Nordic Style roast. Many roasters have carbon copies of Nordic style coffee profiles but still fail to grasp the essence and soul of how to make a wonderful sweet yet fruity/juicy coffee with the exact amount of inside/outside bean development. To make the perfect product, nobody can tell you how to make an ideal coffee unless you yourself have a clear idea of what you aim to achieve.
What is your preferred bean you use to perform a light roast and why?
All beans that possess a certain quality typically with a score of 86+/100 point and with an excellent characteristic. You can cup 30 different flawless coffees but with no particular character and then you come across that special coffee that stands out in the crowd being both flawless and recognizable. That coffee is worth chasing and will obviously come at a higher price.
What are the benefits of a roastery hiring a coffee consultant such as yourself? What services do you provide?
When I started roasting on a Loring S35 in Oslo, we didn’t have access to help from any experienced roasters. It took a long while before we felt we mastered the roaster and the coffees stood out on the cupping table. We spent a lot of money on coffee until the Loring outperformed the old roaster on which we roasted the high-end coffees. Then it was clear to everyone at the roastery that the old machine had to go. Hiring a roast consultant makes you jump straight to a high level of roast quality and gain the remaining few percent to excellence by roasting and evaluating and re-editing the roast profile baseline until the coffee reaches what you believe is the highest potential of the product.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to help educate more roasters and help bring the community to a higher level of consciousness of the quality of roasting coffee. Many roasters/company owners don’t take the time to properly QC their coffee and settle for less in terms of the end result. I’m not talking about buying better coffees but simply getting the most out of what you got. It’s a win/win to both company and customer to be able to improve their product the extra 5% if possible. It requires a little time, dedication and of course skills from a company that allows a roaster to relentlessly try and improve a product if possible. I can most of the time help out to achieve the goal of improving a product working with clients and it’s highly satisfying.
What qualities does your head roaster need to be successful?
A head roaster should be able to help set a high standard for the company. He/she should be able to determine how a good coffee should taste and work relentlessly to achieve the best product. He/she should be able to, to a certain degree, be able to dictate how a good coffee should taste like within the company preference. However the company must allow time, funds and wiggle room for the roast person to be able to improve his/hers skills as well as leaving a little space of craftsmanship freedom to allow the roaster to improve the products. It will of course require determination and courage for the roaster to stand up for his/hers point of views.
How should a roastery/café owner make sure their head roaster is properly cared for?
Any employee should feel accepted and appreciated by the company he/she works for. A head roaster needs to feel that he/she has some leverage in terms of managing the production, otherwise he/she is merely an employee obeying orders. In any case should the job description fit somewhat to the employees level of ambition of having a meaningful job. If not, that person will only last until something better comes along. Salary wise is a similar situation.
The company is only as good as the persons in charge, be that taste wise according to the skillset and ambition, management wise and work climate wise.
There is limited availability for Michael’s workshops, with only a couple spots available in his February workshops, and one seat left for both March workshops. Details of both of the upcoming workshops below. Contact Michael de Renouard to sign up at email@example.com
This two-day workshop will be aimed at the experienced roaster who wants to build their skillset, achieve new levels of control and expand their taste palette. This workshop focuses on chemical and psychical changes during roasting, building a profile from the bottom up, repairing imperfect roast profiles, and so much more. This workshop will help you become a better roaster with software and affordable modern roasting tools.
Time: 10.00 – 18.00
Price: 1000 €* incl. lunch
This master workshop is aimed at professional roastmasters of all skill levels, but a basic proficiency of the process is required. It is a one-day workshop in an intimate setting with only 8 participants.
Some of the topics will include: Roast profiles designs made in Roast Architect, roasting a bright yet balanced coffee/espresso, balancing acidity and sweetness, avoiding underdeveloped flavors, and tasting of Nordic style coffees.
February 23, 2022
March 23, 2022
Time: Start: 10.00, End: 18.00
Price: 500 €* incl. lunch
Covid requirements for both workshops:
Corona passport and a negative PCR/quick test (72/48 hours validity) .
Location for both workshops:
The Coffee Roasting Company
St.Th. 1432 K,