Our Roaster in Residence this month is Rocket Coffee Roasters. During the month of June, we’ll be pouring Rocket’s seasonal Espresso Blend in our showroom and for a limited time, we’re throwing in a Roaster in Residence coffee subscription with every La Marzocco Home machine sold this month. That includes 1 retail bag of coffee delivered direct to your doorstep for 12 months.
We caught up with roaster and owner of Rocket Coffee, Glen Woodcock to find out more about their roastery.
What espresso coffee have you chosen to feature this month?
We’re featuring our seasonal Espresso Blend
What are the tasting notes and origins of this blend?
This is a blend of Argemiro Nuñez – Colombia & Cooperative Sendero – Guatemala White coffee has flavours of caramel, chocolate & cherry, black has flavours of dark plum with a smooth creamy mouthfeel.
What is the recommended recipe for these beans?
Black • Dose: 17-18g • Brew weight: 40g • Brew time: 25-35 seconds
White • Dose: 18.5g • Brew weight: 22-27g • Brew time: 25-35 seconds
How did Rocket get started?
I’d been living in Queenstown as a ski bum and used to frequent a cafe called The NaffCaff. They had an old Otto Swadlo coffee roaster and a 1950’s lever operated espresso machine. On the way back to Hamilton I went to Tech in Wellington to do a chef course, when I finally got home I talked to my old mate Glen C. [Crompo].
Me, “Hey Crompo, you know coffee?”
Glen C., “Yep, what about it?”
Me, “Well it doesn’t even come brown… it comes green in a sack and it gets roasted in a funny shiny oven thing.”
Glen C., “Shall we find one and roast coffee then?”
What inspired your logo?
When we first started Rocket, the last thing I wanted was an actual rocket in the logo. After about five different Rocket logos with a rocket, I came across an old hand carved 19th century letterpress “R” and that’s what we use.
How do you choose where you buy your coffee beans?
I guess every roaster wants to travel direct to origin to select their own beans and we’re no different, but we realised a long time ago that we should concentrate on roasting and let the green coffee people do the buying and contracting. We request samples, roast them in our sample roaster and then cup. We look for clean coffee with sweetness and distinctive flavours. We try to get coffee from single farms or small cooperatives. We probably have at least 30 different single origin filter coffees per year. We try to get them fresh and use them when they’re at their best. Our Espresso Blend is seasonal and changes depending on the lot sizes we get the coffee in. Most years we’ll change the blend 8 times. We’ve had pretty good results with Argemiro Nuñez’ Colombia La Falda over the last 7 or 8 years, [Colombia & Kenya have 2 harvest per year where most countries have 1, so we can get 2 fresh crop shipments per year]. I’m not a fan of using lots of origins in our Espresso Blends and cant even remember the last time there were more than two. I’d like each coffee we use to shine.
Tell us a little bit about your lockdown experience.
Luckily, I took home a box of fresh crop Ethiopian and Kenyans samples, so the coffee side of things was pretty good. I did lots of walking and biking with kids and helped them with their maths.
What are your predictions for the coffee community as we come out of this? What are your hopes?
I have seen some pretty imaginative things happen here and overseas with cafes setting up as little “Bodegas” overnight, selling local produce. We’re a pretty small business and we’re pretty fond of other little businesses doing great things, so more little guys and girls would be great.
Now that the lockdown has lifted where in New Zealand would you like to escape too?
I’d like to drive from Picton down the West Coast to Charleston then down to Haast and over to Hawea stopping in at the Wonderland Makarora Lodge. It’s the only bit of the country I haven’t been to.
What’s your home coffee ritual like?
Its pretty basic at home. I have a Mahlkonig Vario grinder and an Aeropress for daily use, plus a six cup Chemex on Sundays with pancakes.
Where can people buy a bag of your coffee? Can they visit the roastery?
photos by Kate Shanasy