Roasting with OOP

For 30 days during the months of October and November 2019, I completed a roasting internship with OOP (a coffee shop/roastery) in Belo Horizonte. This was a special opportunity graciously provided by Tiago Damasceno, co-owner and roastmaster of OOP.

What does “OOP” mean? Turns out it’s Afrikaans for “open”. Check out the cafés website to get the full meaning.

For those that don’t know, I took a course at OOP’s coffee shop back in March that got me hooked on learning more about coffee. It was this event that started my journey of going out and seeking all the knowledge possible on specialty coffee, from farm to cup. To be able to come back and work directly with them was a special treat indeed!

During these 30 days, I spent a lot of time shadowing Tiago, learning about OOP’s roast identity and what they look for their roasts to show in the coffees they serve. We used an Atilla roaster (a Brazilian brand) with a 5kg load. Check out the roastery… it’s a big, open, modern space! (We have added more plants since ?) I love it here.

I also learned how to use Cropster, which is a software program designed to make it easier to replicate and perfect high-quality roasts. Cropster tracks the inputs we change on the roaster (such as gas level, airflow, speed of the drum) and measures the outputs of many variables, such as heat of the beans and of the air, rate over rise, etc.

First roast at OOP!

In addition to roasting, I also helped with order intake, inventory, packaging, and shipping. While OOP has their own coffee shop, they also roast coffee for cafés throughout Brazil, from Belo Horizonte to Brasília. There is quite a lot of work to be done before green coffee is ready to be served in a coffee shop.

One important thing to point out is that OOP tries every batch of roasted coffee before sending it out. The tasting process is called cupping, where we professionally evaluate the aromas, flavors, and other variables of the coffee to ensure it was roasted how we planned. Safe to say… I tried a lot of coffees and my tasting skills are getting better and better!

Tiago “breaking the crust” during the cupping process.

During my time here, Tiago also helped me roast a green coffee that I personally sourced and bought from a farmer in Espírito Santo to ship worldwide. (Thank you, Tiago!) We did this the same week that we prepared coffee for the famous Semana Internacional do Cafe (International Coffee Week) in Belo Horizonte. During this week, we worked long hours and roasted the same amount of coffee that is normally roasted in a month. Of course, I chose the busiest week of the year to start an entrepreneurial endeavor.

However, I was able to roast a lot of coffee… exactly what I was looking to do!

Hopefully Tiago isn’t sick of working with me yet! ?

The roastery also serves as an office and classroom space for various coffee-related courses. Dri (the other co-owner) and Eystein (owner of 3a Onda Café) were often there working too, and I’m happy to call them all friends now!

Being surrounded by so many successful and intelligent entrepreneurs doing amazing things in the coffee industry was a huge privilege. I got the feeling that they want me to succeed in this specialty coffee world and are super supportive. Nothing but love for you all!

Thankfully, my time at OOP is not over! I return January to continue working as a roaster. Super excited! ?

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