Frazer’s coffee roasters, from bean to cup

I met with Frazer’s coffee to find more about Frazer’s passion for roasting and to enjoy a cuppa or two. Coffee is a complex topic which you can get geeky about it if you wanted to. Everything from the type of beans, the roast and the technique you use to make your brew will influence the end product. 

The mighty roaster

Frazer has been roasting coffee in Sheffield since 2014 and his focus is on quality and getting that roast right. Coffee is a natural product and needs to be treated with respect like any other ingredient.

He’s based at Carbrook and this is where he does does the roasting. His roaster has a history and was made in 1942, Frazer invested 6 months re-building it which involved some significant welding and re-wiring.

Frazer's coffee

I did ask why didn’t he just buy a modern one, apparently it’s all about the quality of the materials and thickness of the drum. The drum of this roaster is built from thicker metal compared to modern machines which means it retains heat better, which will help bring out the natural sugars of coffee. Simple, right.

Things I didn’t know about coffee

Coffee is actually a seed not a bean. Frazer showed me the green beans before they are roasted, they looked like peanuts and had little aroma. There are two in every coffee berry and each are surrounded by a fruit called cascara.

Coffee seeds are processed using various methods, washed (wet) coffee is the most expensive as it is labour intensive. It generally involves immersing the berries in water, the best are pulped, rinsed, washed and left to dry.  The resulting coffee tends to be cleaner tasting compared to unwashed (dry) coffee, although the dry technique is actually one of the oldest. With this process the cherries are left to dry in the sun, before the outer layer is removed and the beans are roasted.

Deciding what to roast and brew

Frazer gets lots of samples sent and experiments with a few roasts to get the best flavour and aromatics, recording timings and temperatures along the way to work out a consistent recipe, much like cooking.  

All coffee is graded, the higher number the better the coffee. He produces a core coffee range including Steel City Blend and the Full Monty Espresso, together with a few changing specials. At the moment you’ll these are a full-bodied Mexican siltepec El Jaguar with flavours of tangerine, lemongrass & spices, as well as a fully washed Ethiopia Yirgacheffe ‘Kesha’.

Frazer's coffee

Then there’s the cold brew, which is one of Frazer’s favourites right now. This is made using a super-slow brewing method for up to 24 hours, which draws out all the flavours. He’s also passionate about nitro, which is cold-brew infused with Nitrogen. Frazer served me a ‘measure’ which was on tap a bit like a Guinness, it had a clean flavour and packed a punch!

Frazer's coffee Nitro coffee

What gadget makes the best coffee?

We tried the Ethiopian yirgacheffe as a pour over v60, the result was a very smooth light brew with a clean taste. There is no sentiment as it is goes through a fine filter paper.

The syphon looks cool and is similar to the pour over in that you won’t have any bits in your coffee. The technique was invented by Marie Fanny Amelne Massot in the 1830 and it uses gravity and a vacuum to brew the coffee. 

In comparison, a cafetiere will give you a heavier coffee with a strong flavour and you won’t necessarily get the acidity. There’s the likelihood of bits as there is no filter paper being used.

If you choose an espresso from a coffee machine in your favourite cafe, this will have a different flavour as it’s made using high pressure. The result is a brew which won’t have as much caffeine and to get a great tasting shot is an art every barista needs to master, according to Frazer.

His preferred choice for making coffee at home is his bean to cup filter machine. When he’s not using the filter machine then he’d use an aeropress, this extracts the right flavour using just hand pressure. The technique is simple and there will be no bits as it uses filter paper, so you get the best of everything with your coffee.

Where to get Frazer’s coffee

Five Rivers, Broomhill – Vietnamese coffee
Butcher & Catch, Broomhill
Gerties – they do nitro
Temptation cafe, Hillsborough – very dog friendly
Steam Yard – amazing cake selection and nitro
Tabby Teas cat cafe, Cemetery Road – the first cat cafe in Sheffield!