Matt Loraas roasts 1 TON of coffee EVERY week and does everything from sourcing and sampling coffee from around the world to helping create the newest roasts and blends.
Behind the Beans
For Matt Loraas, “waking up and smelling the coffee” isn’t just an saying — it’s a way of life. His extensive coffee knowledge helps give thousands of Albuquerqueans a day their morning buzz at Flying Star Cafes and Satellite Coffees around the city.
Sure, you’ll hear people say they can’t live without coffee. But for Matt, the sentiment truly means something. After all, he is roast master for Flying Star Cafe, the behind-the-scenes master of every fabulous cup of coffee!
Matt has been with Satellite since its inception but recently took up roasting the coffee 2 years ago. He roasts 1 TON of coffee EVERY week and does everything from sourcing and sampling coffee from around the world to helping create the newest roasts and blends. His favorite coffee is Satellite’s Sumatra roast brewed with a French press. Matt says, “It is so much stronger, richer, and bolder than drip coffee and I love it.”
Just like all of us, Matt loves everything Albuquerque has to offer! He likes to listen to music, run, hike, play golf and tennis. One of his favorite things, though, is his job at Satellite Coffee. “I love roasting coffee. Plus, I have the best office in the building with a large window looking at the Sandia Mountains.”
Matt understands the story a bean can tell just by looking at it. If it was picked too soon (yellowish color), if it was dried too much, too fast or not enough (white on the edges), if it was kept in water too long (yellow spots, moldy) and if it was dried on the sun or in a machine. He can even tell if the bean was grown in a high altitude (tighter shaft) or low.
“Based on how the bean looks, I decide if I want to roast it longer, for example, to get rid of the green flavors of beans that were picked too soon,” he says.
To know how a bean should be roasted (different coffee beans require different lengths of time in the roaster), Matt experiments with small batches of new beans. From those, he learns how the coffee should look and sound at the time it reaches its peak of flavor and acidity—the time it should be “dropped,” or released from the roasting machine.
“If I drop it too soon, I have a lot of acidity,” he says. “If wait too long, I lose all the acidity and get bitterness.”
The theory is that the temperature in the machine is 475 degrees Fahrenheit and the beans should be dropped when their temperature is between 400–430 degrees—when they’re darker in color and make a cracking sound for the second time as water and oils are released.
For Matt, a great life is one that’s connected to coffee. “A great cup of coffee is one that’s balanced — without peaks of acidity or flavors. Bad coffees usually have an aftertaste, sometimes from being overly fermented or burned.”