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Meet a Roaster: Q&A with Hala Tree Coffee's Master Roaster (Marisa)

Meet a Roaster: Q&A with Hala Tree Coffee's Master Roaster (Marisa)

Posted by Hala Tree Coffee on Feb 29th 2024

Marissa is the latest addition to our team. She is in charge of our roasting production. She can manage the large 33lb Mill City Drum Roasted as well as our small 15lb Hash Fluid Bed Roaster.

Making sure that the shelves in our shop are filled with freshly roasted coffee every day. She leads Farm tours, Roasting tours and Brewing workshops. She is passionate and curious about everything coffee-related.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you got started in the world of coffee roasting?

Marisa: I embarked on my journey as a barista under the expert guidance of Stumptown Coffee. From there, I transitioned into farming, where I found immense pleasure in the agricultural practices and discovered intriguing parallels with various farming methods. Subsequently, my passion for roasting blossomed as I ventured into roasting for several renowned roasteries. This journey nurtured my deep-seated affection for the art of roasting and the pursuit of crafting the quintessential cup of coffee.

Q: What drew you to Hala Tree Coffee specifically, and what makes it unique compared to other coffee roasters?

Marisa: Hala Tree Coffee's commitment to quality, sustainability, and community is what initially caught my attention. Unlike many other roasters, Hala Tree sources exclusively from its own 100% Kona Coffee farm, ensuring unparalleled control over the entire production process—from seed to cup. This level of dedication to excellence and transparency sets Hala Tree apart in the industry.

Q: How would you describe your roasting philosophy or approach when it comes to crafting Hala Tree Coffee's signature roasts?

Marisa: My roasting philosophy revolves around highlighting the natural flavors and nuances of our Kona coffee beans while maintaining balance and consistency. Each roast is meticulously crafted to bring out the inherent sweetness, acidity, and body of the beans, resulting in a smooth and flavorful cup that truly embodies the essence of Kona coffee.

Q: What inspires you most about working with Kona coffee beans, and how do you showcase their unique flavors in your roasts?

Marisa: The thing that excites me most about Kona coffee beans is their exceptional quality and complexity of flavor. From the fruity notes of our light roasts to the rich, chocolatey undertones of our dark roasts, each cup tells a story of the land and the people who cultivate it. My goal is to showcase these unique flavors in every roast, allowing coffee lovers to experience the true essence of Kona coffee with every sip.

Q: Can you walk us through a typical day in the life of a Hala Tree Coffee roaster? What does your process look like from start to finish?

Marisa: A typical day starts bright and early at the shop, where I begin by carefully selecting and prepping the green coffee beans for roasting. Once the beans are loaded into the roaster, I monitor the temperature, airflow, and roasting time with precision, making adjustments as needed to achieve the desired roast profile. After the beans have been roasted to perfection, I conduct rigorous quality control checks to ensure consistency and flavor integrity before packaging and shipping them out to our loyal customers.

Q: Are there any particular challenges or obstacles you face as a roaster, and how do you overcome them to consistently produce high-quality coffee?

Marisa: One of the biggest challenges we face as roasters is maintaining consistency across batches, especially as environmental factors such as humidity and temperature can greatly influence the roasting process. To overcome this, we rely on meticulous record-keeping, regular cupping sessions, and constant communication with our farming team to ensure that our beans meet the highest standards of quality and flavor consistency.

Q: What role does experimentation play in your roasting process, and how do you balance tradition with innovation when creating new roast profiles?

Marisa: Experimentation is at the heart of our roasting process, allowing us to push the boundaries of flavor and discover new and exciting roast profiles. While we draw inspiration from traditional roasting techniques, we're also not afraid to innovate and explore new methods and approaches to roasting. By striking a balance between tradition and innovation, we're able to create unique and memorable coffee experiences for our customers.

Q: How do you ensure consistency and quality control in your roasts, especially as the demand for Hala Tree Coffee continues to grow?

Marisa: Consistency and quality control are non-negotiables for us at Hala Tree Coffee. To ensure that every batch meets our rigorous standards, we employ strict quality control measures at every stage of the roasting process, from sourcing and roasting to packaging and distribution. Additionally, we're constantly monitoring and evaluating our processes to identify areas for improvement and refinement.

Q: Lastly, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring coffee roasters who are looking to break into the industry?

Marisa: My advice to aspiring coffee roasters is to never stop learning and experimenting. The world of coffee is vast and ever-evolving, so don't be afraid to try new things, make mistakes, and refine your craft along the way. 

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