A lot of people start their day with a cup of coffee. Some people can’t get through their day without at least a few cups of Joe. But some people have to get that coffee out there – ensure that it’s crafted to perfection so that people get the maximum lift from their coffee while also being able to bask in its nuanced taste.
These people are known as coffee roastmasters, and it’s a great job for somebody who is passionate about coffee that does not require a college degree!
College can act as a major roadblock for many people and the access to their dream career. Just because you don’t want to or cannot go to college for whatever reason does not mean you cannot have a great job – as coffee roastmasters prove.
Roastmasters are the people who make the coffee that gets to your cup. They bring coffee all the way from beans to your mug.
Over the course of the following article we will take a more in-depth look at what a roastmaster does, starting with what they do on a daily basis but also looking at the skills needed for the role, benefits, how to become one, and importantly, what the salary of a coffee roastmaster is.
Table of Contents
What Does a Roastmaster Do?
Roastmasters are the people who oversee the coffee roasting process. Coffee is one of the biggest industries across the world and roastmasters are the people at the head of it.
The craft of coffee roasting is as integral to coffee and the coffee industry as a brewer is to the craft beer industry, to put the role into perspective.
What is roasting in a coffee perspective? It is the method by which green coffee beans – seeds from the berries that grow on coffee plants – are turned into roasted coffee (what we drink) and also what gives it its distinct flavouring.
So, what does a roastmaster do? Well, a coffee roastmaster is involved in all parts of the coffee roasting process in some capacity.
They must choose where the coffee beans they will be roasting will come from, which is done by communicating directly with the farmers that produce them This requires both connections and an extensive knowledge of the coffee’s origin.
Once they have the beans, they are required to operate the machinery that roasts and subsequently bags the coffee for distribution to shops, cafes, restaurants and more.
They must also maintain profiles of the roast, which includes taking samples of the product for laboratory analysis to ensure it reaches the required standards.
Outside of roasting itself, coffee roastmasters must do administration work and maintain and clean the machinery they use for their work.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Roastmaster?
As working as a coffee roastmaster is an artisanal skill in itself, it is a role that requires you to be trained well and have many requirable traits. Listed below are some of the skills that will see you excel in the role.
Having an extensive knowledge of the coffee industry is of the utmost importance as a coffee roastmaster. Being able to understand, assess and review different types of coffee beans will be essential during the roasting process.
Working as a coffee roastmaster is not a black and white job and requires the roaster to be a crtical thinker that can make decisive decisions. If there are anomalies or problems during the roasting process, it is imperative that the roaster is able to make perhaps difficult choices to attain the best result.
There is a lot of negotiation and communication needed when working as a coffee roaster. Whether it is dealing with the people you are sourcing your beans from or working in tandem with your colleagues you will need to be a capable communicator and listener.
What sets a great roaster aside from a good one is their attention to detail. The ability to distinguish between the most intricate of nuances when it comes to taste and smell may be integral to success as a coffee roastmaster, so if it is a skill you possess, it will hold you in good stead.
There is also an admin aspect to roasting – coffee roastmasters must record the production data of the coffee, which extends to the dates of the roasting, the amounts and other things, all of which is recorded within daily logs.
How Do You Become a Roastmaster?
So, does working as a roastmaster appeal to you? Then you’ll be interested in finding out how to become one.
There are no specific requirements to becoming a roastmaster, but in saying this, you’re also extremely unlikely to walk into a job without some qualifications to back you up.
As this ebook from Craft Beverage Jobs outlines, there are 3 main paths to becoming a roastmaster.
The first is what could be considered the traditional route in the modern world – education. There are several coffee roasting programs available across the United States. These courses aim to equip would-be roastmasters with the skills in roasting and perception required to excel in the role. Accreditation is one way of gaining access to the career of a roastmaster.
The second path into the role is to become a roasters apprentice. From on-the-job training you will learn so much – it is likely even if you go down the educational route that you will have to do this, as such is the benefit you receive from it. It’s also a great way to experience the day-to-day tasks of the role in person.
If you have an undying passion for coffee, then perhaps the third way may be the most appealing way to you – the self-taught approach. This method originates from the backyard of a would-be roastmaster, in that the intricacies of the job are figured out through experimentation and a do-it-yourself attitude. If this is your entry-point to the coffee world and you still choose to go down a different access path, be sure to include it on your resume all the same.
Salary and Additional Benefits
While there are close to 20,000 coffee roastmasters currently working in the United States, there are no accurate figures on what the average salary of a roaster is.
Payscale, a salary listing website, cites the average salary as $14.47 per hour but others cite it to raise as high as $20 per hour. The same source lists annual salaries as high as $50,000 per year. These sources do not take into account self-employed people.
There are a number of factors that will determine your salary as a roastmaster. What your seniority in the role is; where you are working; how large the production and workload you have is; and what region you are working in will all influence how much you earn in the role.
In terms of additional benefits to the role, alongside working in an industry that you are passionate about, working as a coffee roastmaster may entitle you to benefits from your employer such as health insurance, pension contributions and sick leave/vacation days – but consult with your employer about these, as it changes from outlet to outlet.
There is great scope for entrepreneurship as a coffee roastmaster. You may choose to set up your own business providing coffee to other businesses, and as such, will have flexibility over how much you work and what hours you undertake.
And, as someone whose passionate about coffee, you’ll also get to enjoy the smell of your favourite beverage as it roasts, which will no doubt be appealing to coffee-lovers!
While there may not exactly be a similar job to that of a roastmaster within the coffee industry, there are similar occupations out there – that also don’t require a college degree – like that of a beer cicerone or a wine sommelier.
Beer cicerones are experts when it comes to beer and the brewing of beer. They are able to assess and identify the quality of a beverage by its taste, as well as provide tailored recommendations.
Wine sommeliers are the people who can tell you everything you could possibly want to know about wine. They work in establishments and provide patrons advice as to what the perfect wine for them is – tailoring it to their tastes and accompanying food.
Working as a coffee roastmaster is perhaps the perfect job for somebody who is deeply passionate about coffee and the coffee industry. It’s rewarding, challenging and provides a good salary. It’s also a job that does not require a college degree.
College may sometimes seem like the only way to break into a career that you would be interested in, but this isn’t the case. Jobs like that of a roastmaster are proof that there are great jobs out there that do not require a degree, so do not be pressured into attending college as there are other options – be sure to consult them!
I never went to college, and it ended up being the best decision I ever made. Almost a decade ago I learned how to create my first online business, and now I work full time from home. The best part is that I set my own salary, and set my own schedule. If I want to make more money, I work harder. If I want to work less, I just take the day off!