Meet Agro Roasters
Q&A With Chris Fraser, the Head Roaster at Agro Roasters
We caught up with Chris Fraser to learn about his roasting style and how Agro’s new SOVDA machine is helping them take their coffee to the next level.
-How did you get started in roasting?
I was initially looking for a job as a baker to satisfy a passion I developed while I was staying at home after my son was born. I started a job at Ethical Bean as a baker but I was constantly pestering the Head of Coffee to teach me about what he was doing. I would constantly ask him about roasting and what he was tasting while cupping.
Eventually, because they could see I was so excited and fascinated by coffee, they asked me if I wanted to learn how to roast it. I started as a production roaster and then worked my way up to Head Roaster. Then, about 3 and a half years ago I came to work with Dusty, the owner at Agro Roasters. Dusty and I actually used to work for competing companies before he opened Agro.
-You recently shut down your café and expanded your production space. What was the reason behind that?
When COVID happened, we had to shut down the café and we found that we transitioned really well to having a small production crew. We were able to focus our time, energies, and finances on commercial production. It gave us the space to focus on roasting great coffee. Also, something we are proud of is that it meant we were able to invest in a SOVDA colour sorting machine. With it, we have been able to take our coffee to the next level.
-You guys have one of the few SOVDA machines in Canada, can you explain to us what it does?
We run our coffee through the machine after it is roasted, and it falls between a set of cameras looking forwards and backwards. We set a narrow range of colour that we want in the coffee, and anything that is outside of those specs gets shot out with a narrow band of air. This process allows us to eliminate quakers (which are lighter than most beans due to malnutrition or improper growing) and burnt beans. These imperfect beans can give a papery or bitter taste to the coffee. Completely removing them allows us to produce a more clean and unified cup.
-How would you describe your approach to roasting?
I love a balanced cup. My biggest aim is to find a great coffee with a balanced sweetness, acidity, and body. When those are in balance it makes for such an enjoyable cup. Whether it’s a light or medium roast coffee I always try to find a balance in it.
Coffees featured in Issue #10
In the Light & Adventurous Pack
Roasters Choice: Dambi Uddo
• A naturally processed coffee from Ethiopia. With tasting notes of blueberry, bergamot and cream.
In the Classic & Approachable Pack
Honduras - Ubaldo Gonzales
• A black honey processed coffee from Honduras. With tasting notes of golden raisins, pomegranate and cacao.
In the Espresso Pack
• A blend of natural and washed coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Ethiopia. With tasting notes of blueberry, cocoa and cookie dough.
In the Decaf Pack
• A washed coffee from Peru. With tasting notes of toffee, dark chocolate and berry.