Coffee roasting at Stokes

computer controlled coffee roaster

computer controlled coffee roaster

green beans

green beans

roasted beans cooling

roasted beans cooling

cooled beans discharging

cooled beans discharging

Main coffee roasting at Stokes is Monday, but if a large amount to roast, it overflows into Tuesday.

I was in Lincoln that morning, later then I had hoped. Should I go direct to coffee roasting? No, I would have a cappuccino and cookie at Stokes on High Bridge.

I arrived to find coffee roasting had finished. But I was in luck, they would be roasting again in an hour.

A wander around the town centre, then back. I knew they had already started coffee roasting, as I could smell the coffee roasting as I walked down the road.

The last time I was at Stokes, one small batch, but not today, green beans in the hopper, beans being roasted, beans being cooled, beans in buckets waiting to be ground.

Green beans are fed into a hopper. A vacuum draws up into a top hopper, when the temperature is reached, dropped down into a drum.

The drum does not rotate, paddles move the beans around the drum. The roasting is by hot air.

If a blend, both sets of beans are fed in, mixed in the drum whilst roasting.

An inspection panel enables a sight of the beans as roasting. Also possible to draw out a sample whilst roasting.

Today, a low temperature roast. Apparently had it been a high temperature roast, I would have smelt the roasting at the top of the hill. The strange thing was, standing by the roaster, even when the hot beans dropped out, no smell of roasting.

When roasted, the beans are dropped into a bottom hopper, rotated with three paddles, with air drawn through.

The beans come out piping out, and have to be cooled rapidly, else they will continue roasting.

At this stage, the beans have lost about 20% of their weight, compared with the green beans, but increased in size.

That fed into the top hopper, takes account of the loss of weight, correct amount for bagging or grinding and bagging.

Today, the beans were being roasted in 27kg batches.

Stokes are roasting a tonne of beans a week, often much more. When demand is high, can be roasting all week.

Once cooled, the roasted beans were dropped into buckets, to then be fed into a grinder.

Stokes have another roasting machine, where the beans are roasted by a direct gas flame. This needs constant monitoring, always a risk the beans will catch fire.

Stokes on High Bridge has a small roaster in the window. I was surprised to learn it is occasionally used. I remember when it was in use, the smell of roasting coffee as you pass by.

As well as roasting, Stokes also run barista training.

Stokes have been in the coffee and tea business since 1902, and is still a family business..

Stokes was founded in 1902 by Robert Stokes. By 1919, he had been awarded over 30 gold medals for his coffee. He moved to the present location on High Bridge in 1937.

David Peel, grandson of R W Stokes, who I met today, was at the age of 11, helping his grandfather blend tea, he earnt one shilling an hour. Later he went to work in the London tea trade, literally going down to the docks to meet the tea being landed from India and China, and tasting up to 300 teas a day. An era sadly long gone.

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2 Responses to “Coffee roasting at Stokes”

  1. slugworths Says:

    A great read on the roasting process.

  2. keithpp Says:

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