Three factors make us different: we use solar and wind power to micro-roast our beans, we roast and ship on the same day, and we encourage you to tell us how to roast your beans.
Coffee roasters and aficionados know that just-roasted beans do not yield brewed coffee as rich and flavor-filled as beans that were roasted between 12-48 hours before. (Rule of thumb: the darker the roast, the longer the coast.) This resting or coasting time -- officially known as de-gassing -- allows most of the CO2 produced by the roasting process to escape the bean before being replaced by oxygen. Coffee that is brewed too soon after roasting is harsh because acids are produced early in the roasting process and can overpower the flavor-bearing sugars, phenols, aldehydes and esters that only emerge later. Coffee that is brewed too long after roasting tastes weak and thin because many of the above molecules have oxidized -- that is, accepted an electron from an oxygen molecule and been converted to water -- or simply dissipated. (Want more chemistry? -- read here.)
Shipping our beans on the same day that they're roasted allows for coasting to take place while the beans are in transit. Our labels will always indicate the roast date so that you can brew excellent coffee.
Like all "just in time" processes, micro-roasting is labor-intensive. Standard commercial roasters use natural gas to roast hundreds of pounds of beans at a time, after which they are stored until either shipped or ground. Every day that they rest in the warehouse, they continue to de-gas and approach oxidation. Now ask yourself: are you more likely to get artisan flavor from beans that were roasted last week or last month? Would you prefer for them to coast in your kitchen, or a huge container in the warehouse? * On average, roasted whole-bean coffee begins to get noticeably stale 12-14 days after roasting.
We were the first roastery in San Francisco to use fully-compostable bags** to ship our beans to individuals and small businesses. Are these bags more expensive? Yes. Are they worth it? Yes! However, paper bags are simply not as air-tight as poly-vinyl ones (which is why you won't find them floating in the Pacific Plastic Patch 10,000 years from now), so we strongly encourage you to find airtight cans or jars to transfer your beans into as soon as you receive them. An excellent and low-tech solution here is Mason jars stored in a cool dry place but NOT your fridge or freezer.
Second, solar cells cost a lot to install but thereafter produce electricity almost for free. We leverage this advantage to your advantage. By significantly reducing the cost of energy from our roasting process, we allow you to purchase artisan-quality beans at extremely competitive prices.
Finally, electric micro-roasting produces very small batches, which means that we do not carry roasted inventory. We do not roast a range of ten or twenty different types of bean and then hope that customers will buy them before they go stale. Instead, our range of coffee flavors depends on you: choose one of our cultivars, tell us your preferred roast level, and 1-3 days later tell us how you liked it. The next time, try it another way. We'll keep a record of your choices so that you don't have to, and if you let us know what you really liked, we'll make sure that you get it time after time.
A few more words on HelioRoast's third-wave approach to coffee roasting.
* Check the use-by date on bags of coffee by large commercial roasters and you will often discover that it is three to four months in the future.
** Manufactured and supplied by Econic Compostable Packaging of Hamilton, New Zealand. Please remove and dispose of the de-gas valve before composting.