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Thank You To The Roaster Camp Partners

Hannah Davies

The inaugural Roaster Camp has come to fruition through the hard work and contribution from a range of avenues. The Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group have generously given up their time and experience to offer world class teaching at Camp; SCAE executives have listened to the needs of the roasting community to create an exciting program; and last but my no means least, a whole host of companies have come forward to partner with RGE to make the event happen. 

Hands-on roasting experience was high on the agenda when planning for the Camp educational program so we are pleased to work with a selection of highly regarded manufacturers in Loring, Giesen, Diedrich, Probat and Coffee Tech. Each attendee will have the opportunity to explore and test out the machines during the event with advice from company representatives and experienced peers. 

There'd be no roasting without green beans so for that we must thank our six Green Coffee Partners – Algrano, Cafe Imports, Caravela, Falcon Specialty, Nordic Approach and Panama Varietals have all contributed a generous amount of high-quality coffee for attendees to practice with, taste and learn from. To ensure that none of these contributions are wasted, the roasted coffee will be donated to a local Pärnu community centre following the event  We're also stoked to be giving each of our Green Coffee Partners a slot in the schedule to present their coffee through cupping – check out the program here. 

During breakfast, breaks and, well, anytime really there'll be coffee brewed through equipment from Marco and espresso drinks will be available from the Black Eagles supplied by Nuova Simonelli. Good news is that all coffee will be brewed up by a representative from each of the roasters giving Roaster Camp attendees the best chance for connecting to and learning from the wider coffee community. To ensure our partners are extracting the best possible flavours from the cup we have water partners BWT on hand to filter all the water used for espresso and brewed coffee. Campus at Union, Five Elephant and local roasters; Rocket Bean will deliver the coffee during breaks.

To tie the event together, Roaster Camp Equipment Partners Sinar have supplied essential lab tools; Ikawa has provided their market leading sample roasters and Cropster software will help to aid teaching and add some fun to the team challenges!

What'll be in my goodie bag? Cafe Imports, Klean Kanteen and W.Wright have contributed to the Roaster Camp tote – you'll have to wait and see what's inside ;)

Finally, we'd like to say a huge thank you to Tamper Tantrum for their support in producing the afternoon program at Roaster Camp and also to our three key media partners, Barista Magazine, European Coffee Trip and Jordan Sanchez Photography.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Estonia next week!

Trierside Chat

Hannah Davies

Our counterparts at SCAA have reached out to us at Roaster Guild of Europe to join one of their regular Trierside Chats. These online meetings play host to a series of mini presentations on a particular topic before opening up to the listening audience for questions and input. 

You can listen again on a previous chat regarding Regional Roasters Groups for an idea of what to expect this Wednesday evening.

Join us for the next Trierside Chat on September 28, 2016, at 11pm CEST as we discuss what the SCAA/SCAE Unification means for the Roasters Guild and its members moving forward. Stream the conversation at and join the conversation by asking questions on Twitter by tagging #RoastersGuild.

Panelists for this Trierside Chat will be Roasters Guild Executive Council chair Mary Tellie, Vice Chair of the Communications Committee Andi Trindle-Mersch, and Communications Committee Member Adrienne Blasky, as well as Sonja Grant of the Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group, and SCAE's Guild Manager Isa Verschraegen and Guild Coordinator Hannah Davies, and SCAA's Director of Professional Development and Director of Special Projects on Unification Ellie Hudson.

We hope you'll tune in live and participate by asking questions – we want to hear from you! If you can't make the late schedule then we're happy to take questions prior to the meeting. Send them through to us at

Roaster Guild of Europe – An Introduction with Sonja Grant

Hannah Davies

Coffee has slowly changed over the years, from an industry once focused on selling a mainstream product to one which now prides itself on the story of coffee’s journey, from seed to cup. 

But while there is much support for baristas, until now there has been less education and networking available to roasters. Although there are many theories about roasting, very few have been based on studies that roasters can learn from. Most roastmasters have come to their own conclusions about what is best for their coffee and their customers – sometimes by asking, other times by just assuming. 

The third wave of coffee shops and the coffee championships have highlighted the importance of a strong professional network. Being inspired, transparent and open to sharing knowledge prompts more questions regarding roast profiles, quality control and the art of making the character of the bean shine. 

And so enters the Roaster Guild of Europe. Launched by SCAE this year, we want to look to the future and learn what we can do better. The changes over recent years have delivered more transparency and cooperation with producers at origin and more communication from the roastery, through to the barista and on to the consumer. Machinery and equipment for quality control have developed so consistency has improved. Micro-roasteries have been established worldwide, and the outcome is that we now have a new generation of roastmasters. In addition, over the last 10 to 15 years, many baristas have embarked on a roasting path – either roasting in their coffee shop or working closely with local roasters. This has encouraged more questions and debates about roasting and profiles and, as brewing methods have changed, these questions have grown in volume.

Unfortunately, it is common for roastmasters to closely guard their secrets. They have learned the hard way, so many have been unwilling to share. We believe that this will change with Roaster Guild of Europe. It will provide a platform and an open space where roasters can come together and learn from one another. The Guild will have an important role in networking and sharing knowledge in our industry, which, in turn, will help to improve the quality and output of this new generation of roastmasters. It will support roastmasters in Europe to grow, to be inspired, and to network. And in the end everybody will win – the roastmaster will have more fun and self-confidence in their daily roasting, the consumer will be drinking better coffee, and the farmer will be happy that his coffee was not ruined in the roasting process. 

Creating a New Learning Platform

When Yannis Apostolopoulos, now SCAE Deputy Executive Director, and Cosimo Libardo, Past President of SCAE, first approached me and asked for my thoughts on creating an educational event specifically for roasters I was thrilled. Barista Guild of Europe had just been launched and it was abundantly clear that we also needed to create a platform for roastmasters to grow and share knowledge. I was excited that this could bring change and lead to more transparency in the chain, from seed to cup. 

Inspired by the success of other platforms for education within the community, we decided to create Roaster Camp – a place where speciality roasters can congregate and progress. To gather the working group which has led the development of Roaster Guild of Europe was easy. The personal network I had developed through events such as the championships, Nordic Barista Cup, Nordic Roasters Forum, and through the network of Authorised SCAE Trainers, enabled me to bring professionals from different parts of Europe to work together. Members were recruited on the basis of both their professional skills and their openness to share and learn. They had to be fun to work with as well! When you serve as a volunteer, it is important to have fun while working on projects and events outside of your day job. 

Members of the Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group are roastery owners, managers, ASTs, roasting championship competitors, roasting researchers or professionals otherwise connected to roasting. They are Filip Åkerblom, Sweden; Lisa Lawson, Scotland; Kostas Kalafatis, Greece; Konrad Oleksak, Poland; Michael de Renouard, Denmark; Joanna Alm, Sweden; Andreas Idl, Austria; Morten Münchow, Denmark; Filip Bartelak, Poland; Edoardo Quarta, Italy; Grace O'Shaughnessy, Ireland and of course, me, Sonja Björk Grant, Iceland. 

Our first meeting was held at World of Coffee Gothenburg in June 2015 where many of the group knew of each other, but until then had never met. Our second meeting was held in Frankfurt in September where we brainstormed about the format and the future schedule. After these two meetings, it got real! SCAE staff came on board to help and Isabelle Verschraegen and Hannah Davies are the amazing heroes that help the Working Group with organisation and administration. 

Our first Roaster Camp is planned for October and this is just the beginning. All of us want to be better professionals and challenge ourselves and I believe that Roaster Camp and Roaster Guild of Europe will offer priceless support to roastmasters and pave the way for transparency, knowledge-sharing and passion. 

SONJA BJÖRK GRANT is Chair of the Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group and a Regional Coordinator for SCAE. 


Roaster Camp – Highlights

Hannah Davies

If you've had the chance to glance over the program for Roaster Camp, you may have felt a little overwhelmed by all of the incredible items in store over three days. We've packed in a host of informative and useful classes, inspiring talks & tastings and the chance to connect through evening socials. To make the whole thing a little easier to digest we've compiled a run-down of the highlights at the inaugural Roaster Camp – if you haven't got a ticket, yet then you can register here now. 

Hands-on Roasting Experience on a Variety of Roasting Machines

Each day at Camp there is a class focussed on encouraging attendees to have hands-on experience with a range of roasting machines. Guided by knowledgeable trainers, this is your chance to broaden your understanding of how to operate alternative models. 

Meet the Creators and Trainers of the SCAE CDS Roasting Module

Several of the Roaster Camp trainers are highly qualified ASTs and have ample knowledge of the CDS Roasting Module – the classes at Camp are bitesize chunks of what you would expect to find on the CDS course. 

Connect with Roasters on an International Level

This is the very first Roaster Guild of Europe event and a special opportunity for Roasters to come together to learn, share and connect with one another. 

Take Unique Classes

Each class at Camp has been tailored especially to meet the needs of a range of attendees from 'Sample Roasting' with Morten Münchow to 'How to Win a Roasting Championship' with Joanna Alm there is something for all levels of experience.

Enjoy Pärnu and the Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

The venue for Roaster Camp 2016 is in a beautiful setting on the cost of Pärnu – it is a modern hotel with excellent facilities and a top notch chef!

Join in Yoga or a 5k Run

One for the gym bunnies – participate in our early morning exercise groups to connect with like-minded folk and wake up your mind and bodies for class!

Team Challenges

The team challenges have been created to unite attendees and test your skills. Think Blind Cupping, Speedy Protocols and Sack Races ;)

Exposure to New Research

Morten Münchow will be presenting results from a recent project in collaboration with CoffeeMind and SCAE aimed at analysing Business Models used in Roastery Businesses. Talor Browne will also be presenting data collected from her Roasting Machine project alongside a large cupping. All of the program can be found in detail here.

Meet Potential Green Coffee Suppliers

RGE has support from a broad range of international green coffee suppliers – this is your chance to sample their coffee at your leisure. See here for the full Roaster Camp Partner list. 

Be a Part of Roaster Guild of Europe

Now is a very exciting time for SCAE, SCAA and the Roaster Guilds. As we plan how the Guilds will look following the positive unification vote, there are plenty of opportunities for you to input into the future of this growing community. Be sure to talk to us or any of the RGE Working Group at Roaster Camp if you would like to get involved. 

Tourist Guide – Roaster Camp 2016

Hannah Davies

Coming to Camp? You'll likely be flying into either Tallinn or Riga airport so we highly recommend taking the time to visit these beautiful Baltic cities. For those of you lucky enough to tag on a few extra days away before or after Camp, we've put together this handy guide to the surrounding areas.


The location for Roaster Camp 2016 is also a place where Estonians head when they need a break. For nearly two centuries this has been the nation´s premier resort town and spa getaway. Nestled on Estonia´s west coast, just 1.5 hours by road from Tallinn and 2 hours from Riga, the city´s history as a group travel destination began in 1838 when its first heated seawater baths opened. Since then Pärnu has been making its mark as an international spa centre and also boasts an active arts scene – each year Pärnu hosts some popular music, film and dance festivals as well as countless concerts and exhibitions.

Just outside of town, you´ll find more coastal beauty, golf centres, and the vast Soomaa National Pak, where peat bogs mingle with rivers and forests to create spectacular scenery.  Pärnu is the perfect place to slow down, breathe fresh air and get some perspective. 

Visit the Pärnu Tourism Portal with lots more information on the city


Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is located on Estonia`s northern coast on the Gulf of Finland, only 80km south of Helsinki. Tallinn has been a meeting point from its very early days as it sits at the crossroads between East and West. Despite devastating wars throughout the history, Tallinn's Old Town is one of a few places in Europe where the fairy tale of medieval walls, turrets, spires and winding narrow cobblestone streets has remained mostly intact. In 1997 UNESCO added the Old Town into the World Heritage List, acknowledging its unique value.

Tallinn is a maze of contrasts – medieval and yet dizzyingly dynamic, small, but still very lively in its heart, buzzing with visitors and business-like locals, but quite easy going and relaxed.

Visit the Tallinn Tourism Portal with lots more information on the city.

Other handy links:

Tallinn and Estonia

Top 21: Must-see sights

Practical information

Recommended cafe´s in Tallinn:

Renard Coffee Shop

Gourmet Coffe


Need a place to stay? We have secured favourable rates at the following hotel in Tallinn.

Prices are per night, per room:

Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn

  • Guest Room: €65
  • Premium Room: €75

Rates include VAT, buffet breakfast, high-speed WiFi and gym access

Contact information for reservations office via e-mail and include SCAE as a subject title.


Similar to Tallinn, 800-year-old Riga holds it's heritage in being a medieval spa town with a dynamic cultural life. The Latvian National Opera Hall gathers world-level artists in the city where there are regular classic and popular music concerts and exhibition halls present works of world-known classical and contemporary artists. The traditional cuisine of Latvia is well represented amongst the city's thriving gastronomy scene and there are a few specialty cafes well worth checking out too! Friends of RGE, European Coffee Trip wrote a handy guide to the cafes of Riga which you can check out here.

Riga was European Capital of Culture in 2014 which is still apparent when discovering the new and old city juxtaposed – Riga is a city with an irresistible charm of old times. 

Visit the Riga Tourist Board with lots more information on the city.

Staying the night? We have secured favourable rates at the following hotel in Riga.

Astor Riga

  • Standard Room: €65 for single or €75 for twin room
  • Business Room: €85 for single or €95 for twin room

Rates include VAT, breakfast and high-speed WiFi.

Contact information for reservations office via e-mail and include SCAE as a subject title.


Thumbnail image: 📸 Andres Putting

Roasters Guild Retreat – Lake Lawn Resort, Wisconsin

Hannah Davies

It's not every day that you get the chance to fly stateside for work so when the powers at be offered me a trip to the US I jumped at the chance! A fantastic opportunity was presented to attend Roasters Guild Retreat in Wisconsin where I would go to meet our new colleagues at SCAA, Roasters Guild and also build a good picture of how the Retreat program would run in preparation for us hosting our first Roaster Camp this October. 

Roasters Guild does a brilliant job of creating a solid community through the Retreat which all starts well in advance of the event. All attendees are connected to their RGR team via email a couple of weeks before to complete their team poster challenge. As a newbie I thought this was a fantastic way to engage with your team members before the retreat - arriving at Lake Lawn I already belonged to a group despite not knowing anyone. Our team, Live Free or Tri Hard came second in the poster challenge. Here's a few of the favourites including the winner from team Rhost:

Day 1. Optional Pathway Classes

On day one attendees arrive at a steady flow to register and collect their goody bags filled with treats from sponsors including a travel mug, towel, clipboard, Toddy lip balm and Roast Magazine before Retreat is launched at 3 pm with welcome drinks and a New Member Orientation meeting. This meeting for members or attendees is a great initiative to connect newcomers and an effective way of communicating what the guild is and does for the RG members.

Next up is a warm welcome from EC Chair Mary Tellie who kicks off proceedings with introductions to the full RG Executive Council, lead instructors, sponsors and mentors. Konrad Oleksak, one of the Roaster Guild of Europe Working Group members, and I get a special mention as their guests from SCAE.

A big part of Retreat is the team challenge, of which the format is switched up on an annual basis. The 2016 challenge titled 'Match It or Scratch It' tasked the teams with tasting a blend and then matching it in an exact recipe from a choice of 6 coffees from sponsors Red Fox – we had to buy the green coffee, roast it to match the profile and then blend. This was harder than it sounds but meant that we got to spend time in our first evening roasting in the roasting tent so lots of fun!

Day 2. Rotation Classes & 5k Run

The day kicks off with a 5k run at 5.15am! There are around 40 people signed up to the run, but only about 15 turns up (perhaps even a 6.15am start might be more encouraging!). The top 5 men in the run win an Espro Press, and everyone gets a cupping spoon. I win an Espro Press for being the fastest woman, but I'm the only woman ;) 

After Breakfast from we get stuck into a day of three different class rotations. 

#1 Time to Roast - time with your team working on your challenge blen

#2 Food Safety and Management for a Roastery with Mike Ebbert

#3 New Roast Evaluation Cupping Form with Emma Sage

My favourite class of the day was with Emma Sage who along with RG has developed a new cupping form to assess roasted coffee. Emma has supported the development of the tool and used the large group at camp to collect the data needed to improve the form and gain feedback on how it will work. I like the idea of creating something and collecting data through attendees to improve something that they will use in the future. 

Day 3. Pathway classes

We're up bright and early today to submit our team blend after several hours of cupping and blending the night before (I'm almost done with cupping at Retreat by this point - now I really know why QCs spit out!). Following this, each attendee gets to choose a Pathway class to attend in the morning and one in the afternoon. 

I attended Introduction to Roasting Concepts with Candice Madison. The class starts with a presentation in the cupping room before we head out to the roasting tent where we adjust specified variables but try and maintain a stable profile. 

My afternoon class was titled Heat and the Roasting Machine with Rob Hoos – this was a similar format with the theory to start and practical to follow with everyone returning to the cupping room to taste and assess their roasts. As you arrive at the class you pick a table at random to stick with for the duration of the course – each table has a table instructor assigned to it - these instructors are qualified SCAA trainers and a fantastic way of gaining value from the class as they lead you through the theory and practical elements. 

Evening socials and late nights are on the cards every night at Retreat, but I saved myself for the closing party which was a bbq and bonfire in front of the lake with the awards ceremony slotted in. The winning team got loads of super cool goodies, and the rest of us got free beer! 

Day 4. Farewell breakfast and RG Executive Council meeting

It's goodbye for most today, and you can feel the sadness in the air that Retreat has already come to a close. I spoke to so many people during my time there that were repeat attendees – some coming back 5, 6, 7 years in a row which is a testament to the great job being doing to put together this event by Roasters Guild and SCAA. Huge thanks again to Roasters Guild for their wonderful hospitality.

Fancy joining us for the inaugural European Roaster Camp this October? RGE will host a similar action-packed program of classes, hands-on roasting experience, workshops, tastings and the chance to be part of this burgeoning community. Click the button below to register now.