Roaster Interviews: Lisa Lawson of Dear Green

For Everyone | 15 October 2018

First up in our ongoing series of Coffee Roaster interviews is Lisa Green - founder and head roaster @ Dear Green in Glasgow. Photo credit Jess Shurte.

Tell us about you and your role.

My name is Lisa Lawson, I’m the founder and head roaster at Dear Green Coffee Roasters in Glasgow.

How did you get into roasting?

I worked for a roaster in Sydney for a couple of years and definitely fell in love with coffee, flavour and the adrenalin of the roasting shift! I set up Glasgow’s first small batch roastery in 2010 and then decided to start my own specialty coffee roasting operation in 2011.

Talk us through a typical day.

A typical day of roasting will involve getting the roaster warmed up, coordinating with the team to plan what the days roasting requirements are and then weighing out green beans before controlling temperature and timing in each batch to ensure consistency in our production and flavour profiles.

At the end of the day we’ll take samples of all roasts, update our admin, paperwork and arrange raw coffee stock, clean down the roaster and prepare for a QC cupping the following morning.

What’s the best thing about your role?

I love the physical side of roasting, it can be like a work out! It is also great to be in the zone and then to see the volume of coffee you have roasted at the end of the day giving a real sense of achievement. On top of roasting, our sensory QC practices allow us to geek out and get analytical about our roast curves as well as keeping our palates calibrated and our coffees which we have carefully sourced tasting ace!

What are the biggest challenges?

You have to get to know the mechanics of your equipment pretty well, if anything goes wrong you have to problem solve immediately or risk losing a batch of coffee or potentially a lot of roast time. All of our coffee is roasted to order so working closely with the rest of the team is also key to avoiding any potentially challenging situations. Allowing for efficiency of roast scheduling, green bean stock control and waste avoidance.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into roasting?

Train your palate as much as your muscles! Be open to a self managing role and be aware of how much attention to detail is required. If that works for you then get in touch with roasters to get a foot in the door, the packing shift is always a good inroad!

If you weren’t a Roaster, what job would you be doing?

I’d probably be back in the wine industry or be working in the arts. Anything that keeps my senses engaged!

And finally…tell us about your most memorable cup of coffee.

Oh, thats tricky as I’ve been spoiled! Possibly my first ever Ethiopian Yirgacheffe or my first Geisha! The first sip of a coffee I’ve sourced myself is always exciting too! There really are too many to choose from!

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