Okay not a very catchy title, but it’s a serious question. Not something I can take credit for either but something I can vouch for.

Way back in 2002 engineers from Probat had discussed the idea of re-circulating the air back from the roaster and using to pre-heat the green beans in the charging hopper. Just another big business cleverly saving money I thought but it’ll ruin the coffee.

The Therma two had two separate burners (a tangental and axial) and worked on a re-cicrulation model with negative pressure inside the drum (coffee roasted by convection) and a cool floating bed cooler (can you even say that?) Seriously the beans would float and dance in the air while cooling.

This has actually been done by Probat and can be viewed here

Anyway the idea never left me, the heating of the hopper not the dancing beans. When greens are “dropped” into the roasting chamber they cool the drums temp and bottom out until there is a ‘turning point” meaning the burner has been lit and the roaster bottoms out and starts to heart again.

So what would the effect of the heating the coffee be? Quicker roasts less body more development WHAT??

Cut to 2014 and a discussion with Vince Fedele from VST about channeling of all things. Vince asked me do you measure temperature of greens for winter or summer.

On the defensive I assured Vince that my profile changed one year ot the next, one season to the next. “I know what I am doing” I told him.

I hadn’t listen (ask my wife) however Vince suggested.

“Please note:  Many roasters routinely have problems with roast profiles especially at this time of the year – due to the change to colder weather.  The warehouse storing your green coffees are substantially cooler, and normal roasting profiles usually result in more under-development than during warmer months. If you log daily storage and starting temperatures throughout the year, you should be adjusting profiles as the weather and storage temps demand unless you are warming the green to a constant temp before loading into the hopper for drop.”

“Unless you either warm the green to normal room temperatures prior to roasting, (i.e., the same green starting temps as when you developed your roast profiles) or you develop new Winter season roast profiles, (i.e., hotter drop temps to compensate for the colder green) then your results may well lead to under-developed coffees, and one symptom of that is a change to grind settings (usually more coarse) as well as coffee cake flow restriction, and side channeling. This may be more noticeable on an 18g vs 20g or 22g, and should be cause for setting a flag.”

Logging coffees moisture and density sure, colour checking and again measuring coffee moisture and density pre roast sure but temp of green beans?

So I went and bought a Fluke infrared thermometer and began monitoring green coffee temp. Of course the temperature skews one season to the next.

What we found was if the been were cold upon charge the turning point was obviously effected and the problems Vince had expected.
We devised a crude but effective way of “heating” green beans effectively.

First with a mini cycle on the roaster with a pre-heated drum and no burner on but eventually heating in a steel drum with blow heaters.

This has us helped develop and use the same profile with same turning point, roast time, temps etc and an overall uniformity regardless of the season.

In 2018 we are taking this one step further, our operation is expanding and a temp controlled and humidified storage area will hopefully keep green coffee stable all year round!



Pressure profiling. 

A little over a year or so ago I bought a pressure profiling machine for the roastery. Why? I hear you ask well why not. Seriously though with different roast styles a plethora of different beans, tampers grooming tools, distributors and grinder claims (all of which I love and exhausted) it was the natural next step.

The plan was to roast beans three different ways and trial them using the machine profiling them differently while furiously recording them in a notebook like I had something to prove.

This in a roundabout way did happen. I trialled light roasts with different profiles to medium roasts recording effect on TDS % different types of tampers for different types of roasts.

Anyway I got a little bit lazy and just started to drink coffee from the Elcor Vesuvius every morning.  What I’ve discovered is without any real scientific formula to shout about. Pressure profiling works. it does there I said it. Recently I acquired a Marzocco Linea mini for home (I know, I bought it not acquired it) now these machines sit side by side and I have to tell you for a light roasted coffee the results from a ramp up profile are far far superior to the flat profile of the paddle (switch driven) linea. How do I know, well I bloody well drink it every day. Everyday I reach for the naked portafilter from the Elcor and watch 1-3 bar slowly seep out then a step up to gradual 9 and a decline to 8. Tasting the same coffee in any other machine using the same grind, exact tamp (with puqpress) isn’t even close.

So there it is definitive scientific fact once and for all! Forget about the next big thing in coffee because it’s already here. Now I’m off to buy a GS3 🙂


Shipping expenses have been a gripe on the webshop for the last couple of months so apologies for that. We have ammended the shipping:

€2.80 fon orders of €14 and below.

€4.60 on orders of €14 – €19.99

Free Deliveryon orders on €19.99

This is a trial while we work on pricing with a new courier company.




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(Picture by Jim Byrne Photography)

The end of an era indeed. Approximately four years and eleven months ago (who’s counting) I rocked down to the kiosk in Ballsbridge Faema legend and Solar roaster in tow there is no way I could’ve foresaw what a journey I’d just embarked on. March 31st 2017 saw us close the door on the kiosk Ballsbridge for one last time. We had quite the send off and some lovely kind words from folk.

The time I had there will stay with me forever, I completely changed as a person in the five years, got married, became a Dad for the first time, then a second time all the while learning along the way.

I know how corny it sounds to say ‘my customers are my friends’ but with just a couple of feet between you and the person waiting to be served you couldn’t help but get to know everyone. I couldn’t have imagined that people would take to the place and myself like they did. I am thinking of writing that book people always prompted me to do about the stories I have heard and things I had seen.  It is by far and away my biggest professional achievement. Along the way the coffee and then the customer service were recipients of awards and that little 37 square foot building allowed me to open my own purpose built roastery.

This week I had the pleasure of talking to Joe Duffy on Liveline, it was a reluctant chat to be honest. A business has closed nobody has died however when I spoke to the show’s researcher he said they had multiple calls from people in the area complaining of the closure while wishing myself and Tiago well. To me thats a job well done and something to be proud of.

What’s next?
Tiago has joined both myself and Andy at the roastery in Glasnevin. So its onwards and upwards from here. Recently we have joined forces with Salthill Social and Tom from Pangea who are doing a sterling job delivering some beautiful coffees to Salthill. I am really hoping the guys open the kiosk on Ladies Beach again after their success last year. If you aren’t familiar with the guys or what they do you can check them out on Facebook here not only to they provide top class products but they also do a lot for the local community in Salthill and host multiple events from early morning swims to yoga and movie nights in a relaxed and chilled out environment. I should also mention Rebecca and Tom from Honest Kitchen also in Salthill these guys offer specialty coffee, healthy gourmet food, local artisan produce as well as quirky homewares & gifts. One word of warning do not check out their Instagram page if you’re hungry!

New Coffee
There are new coffees landing all the time, but just a few to note that I’m really excited about.
EL Salvador collaboration with the Salaverria family

The Salaverria family offer stunning speciality coffees from the Apaneca Ilamatepec region so when they offered an experimental bespoke lot we jumped at the chance.

On offer is your very own tablón (process and varietal) so we have opted for 5 bags Miramar/Red Catuai (washed) and 5 bags El Roble Bourbon (Natural) these coffees are arriving any day now along with new season Aramo Yirgacheffe Natural and Nicaragua Maragogype.


I will post a little more info about the coffees when they arrive.






A little update just just to say our new destoner is set and in place- working away quite nicely. The next piece of the jigsaw is the new packaging machine. New foil is being designed for the machine which is a hot, four-side vertical seal. Samples are looking really nice, I will post updates as they arrive.

The vesuvius pressure profiling machine is the best piece of kit and the most fun I have had with coffee for quite a bit.. I truly believe that pressure profiling is a huge tool and a game changer, even if not yet for mainstream cafes ( but then again isn’t that what speciality is all about). As per La Marzocco’s guidelines lighter roasts seem to suit a soft profile to begin with and ramp up in pressure, medium roasts a steady climb and “flat” 9 bar profile as in a standard coffee machine however the feel is the general rules of espresso, grind, extraction and tds are all thrown out the window. Another reason for PP is the difference in pressure from machine to machine. Have you ever checked the pressure of your espresso machine?  not by looking at the dial 🙂 but actually measuring it via a tool such as an Scace 2 tester. What if your machne runs at 7 bars? Currently I am designing roast profiles to suit 5, 6, 7bar shots.

The main drawback with PP is probably where to stop and what variable is actually changing what, the machine is a joy to use and the ability to control the infusion pressure by creating a curve formed by seven control points. More info can be found here


The Irish Cupping Competition

We are proud sponsors of the 2017 Irish Cupping Competition. The coffees are all roasted and there will be a cupping at the roastery when the comp is over if anyone wants to try them. You can get in contact through the site here, twitter, facebook & all the usual ways. Places will be limited.

Cheers Brian



A little update before year end on coffee, equipment and generally what’s been going on with Silverskin Coffee and myself.


 “The” Christmas hamper is back. The perfect gift for the loved ones in your life or for yourself 🙂 This years’ hamper is brimming with beautiful coffee and can be purchased here.



We have some new coffee arriving all the time and just received some beauties from Marta and the team in Coffee Bird The guys here are obsessed with quality and really deliver some beautiful and unique Guatemalan & El Salvador lots. These are now available from the webshop, you’d like to taste them you can always pop along to Bobby and Yvonne who are serving them up on brewbar (with all their usual meticulous might) at Twobeans Dún Laoghaire,



Just arrived and installed is our new de-stoner. During the processing of green coffee various foreign materials find their way into the green coffee bags – stones, metal objects, glass and more. These objects, if not removed, can bring serious harm to equipment such as grinders. Even the highest quality coffee are suseptible to foregin bodies and even if there is no chance of contamination it is better to safeguard against it than not.  A De-Stoner is the machine that pneumatically removes these foreign objects from the roasted coffee and drops them into a sieve. Our De-Stoner also comes with a frequency inverter that allows the user to adjust the airflow according to the coffee variety or roast degree.



The reason for the delay to the webshop with the Guats is a little project we’ve been working on with some new equipment. Recently we bought a scace tester and a Vesuvius pressure profiling machine. This device allows you to check temperature and pressure at the grouphead as opposed to reading it from the guage on your espresso machine. There is no real way (apart with this tool) to get a accurate reading.  The Vesuvius is a pressure profiling machine available here Accurately measuring pump pressure and designing roast profiles for different pressure has become a little bit of an obbsession. There are lots of debates and opinion online as to whether pressure profiling is “the next big thing” or not online. Here are some links to some articles

I am looking forward to sharing the results of this soon.


In 2017 we will be finally receiving our new state of the art packing line. A machine produces a beautiful gusset bag with 4-hot edges in en route. This machine will allow for all our coffee to be packaged immediately after roasting (whch is our current practice) ribbon coded, date printed with a valve for freshness added as the pack is formed. As well as the main vertical sealing machine there are elevators, conveyers, multi-weigh system and packaging equipmet.  This will ensure all of our customers are getting the very latest technological, quality assured packaging with full taceability standards.

To say we are excited is an understament.


Andrew Aitchinson has joined the team, a chef and all round good guy Andy is looking after the packaging and warehouse duties. As well as this Andy is the delivery driver and barista in training.


I am absolutely chuffed to offer two new coffees from Antigua in Guatemala sourced through Gelpo.

Finca La joya Washed and Natural. These unique micro lot coffees are the result of new proceessing experiments on the farm. These coffees were an absolute joy to roast. The natural charged at a lower temp with a “softer” profile. There is less acidity, more body and earthier flavours. The washed has a beautiful spine of pleasant acidity. Full notes below;


A stunning natural coffee which is floral and sweetly spicy. Almond, vanilla and complex florals in aroma and cup. Juicy, balanced acidity; buoyant, lightly syrupy mouthfeel. Richly sweet finish carried by a mix of floral notes in the short, condensing to lavender and lychee in the long finish.

CM100: 59/78
Aroma: 9
Acidity: 9
Body: 9
Flavor: 9
Aftertaste: 9


IN THE CUP : Citric nippy acidity, honeyed sweetness with pear and vanilla notes, dense body and beautiful chocolate aroma. A great all round coffee outstanding in filter or R16 extraction glass.


CM100: 56/80
Aroma: 9
Acidity: 9
Body: 9
Flavor: 8
Aftertaste: 8


What a week!! The World of Coffee has just wrapped up with Berg Wu of Taiwan winning, huge congrats to him and all the competitors. Also a special mention for Natalia Piotrowska representing Ireland who I’m sure will be back. I am still mystified as to how these guys do it. This week I had my own barista champion to cheer on, Martin Shabaya the Kenyan representative.

I met Martin last Monday when he casually approached the kiosk in Ballsbridge and asked where could he roast some coffee. It turns out Martin left Kenya with his coffee still in its raw green state with the hope of meeting someone to roast it. I was the first person he met, what a story!! I felt compelled to help him, as a strange twist of fate Vicky Fitz-Henry an all round legend had arranged to meet me at the roastery on Monday also. Vicky was on hand to advise Martin & when the coffee was roasted we went out for dinner and found a trad session for Martin to take part in (as you do on a Monday).

Tuesday saw the design/manufacturer of our roaster turn for a roasting consultation and information sharing session, that evening was the first of two masterclasses with Scott Rao hosted by the guys in CloudPicker. The brewing class was informative with Scott as engaging, informative and challenging as expected. His knowledge and ideas around grinding, pouring and brewing are extensively researched and verified but are also simple and easy to understand. Wednesday saw me actually do some work in the AM but we got to catch Martin’s performance which mirrored his laid back personality and friendliness.

I feel like I’ve made a friend for life. In the evening it was time for round two with Scott Rao and the roasting masterclass which is probably my most comfortable environment. Anybody who has read Scott’s book on roasting will know how comprehensive and informed it is. I actually left the class early due to prior arrangements and the fact Ireland were to play Italy in Lille. I spent the welcome party which was held in the “round room’ at the Mansion House in the company of friends and colleagues. We of course over did it and partied long into the night.

Thursday was my first time to arrive at the RDS and the awesome World of Coffee. The amount of exhibitors and new innovations were incredible. It was really nice to meet old and new friends alike. We decided to call it an early night Thursday. Friday the day passed by and I felt like the exhibit closed early but realised it was just a mark of how much I was enjoying it. We attended the Bernard Shaw on Friday and the coffee throwing championships, my good colleague Shane competed and tried to say “90 plus” as often as possible (it’s one of those you’d have to be there moments) There was a special mention for Rashel who I had never really had the pleasure to know but feel I should mention here. On Saturday I got to spend more time with Bobby and Yvonne from Twobeans and Tiago my good friend and see some of the finalists compete.

Of all the new gadgets and machines two really struck me as game changers, one I bought, the other will haunt me until I get my hands on it. The CM 100 from LIGHTTELLS colour meter is a serious piece of kit. It is endorsed by the SCAA and also featured on the Sinar stand which filled me with confidence, anyone who has used one of their measurement tools will know why. The second product which was in my opinion the overall stand out machine on display was not the new Slayer Steam (which is awesome) but the new Dalla Corte Mina. This machine allows users to run at constant 9bar water pressure while allowing control over the flow valve in literally hundreds of positions creating real control over pre-infusion and flow. Manual/automatic lever control profile storing, the ability to brew perfect filter coffee fromt he espresso machine. All this and controls from your smartphone make this machine a must for the roastery allowing you to tailor individual roast profiles to suit individual espresso machine pressure. As with all of these events you realise how much there is still to learn about coffee and how absolutely brilliant the people who work in this industry are.

Thanks speak soon,



Before the year is out I’d like to acknowlegde the award from JCI for customer care in the “Dublin’s Frendliest Business Awards 2015”. To win an award for coffee is one thing but to be recognised for customer care and then receive an award for it was a very very nice experience. Customer service and interaction is always something I have prided myself on and is a really important part of what we do. Following on from this we were shortlisted to the national awards where we got the runner-up prize to 3fe. You can find out more about this organisation and its amazing volunteers here

I’d also like to mention a few coffees that are en route for the new year, I’m really excited about the new shipment of Cuban coffees. These coffees were really popular last year and didn’t hang around so I’d expect the same again. New Brazil (yellow diamond) New crop Colombian Sierra Nevada de Santa Maria along with San Marcos Guatemala (both fairtrade organic coffees) will also feature heavily in the new year. Throw into the mix the 4-5 El Salvadors and Costa Ricans and its shaping up to be a good first few months next year. One final thing the ever popular Christmas Hampers will return this week, please order early to avoid disapointment.



The New Roastery

Next year marks my twentieth year roasting coffee and it is not an exaggeration to say I have wanted to open my own roastery since the very first time I fired up a roaster.

This year that wish came true with the opening of the new roastery on Blackwater Road Dublin Industrial Estate.

A critical decision was of course selecting which type of roaster to use. I am more than happy with the roasting system, drum & software on the new machine. Here’s a couple of reasons why.

A state of the art machine with a thermodynamic drum  “this is the most advanced drum in today’s industry. Built from two layers of mild steel with a middle layer of pure copper, it has extremely high thermal absorption and conduction characteristics. In contrast to standard drums, in which roasting is performed by direct, limited contact between the beans and the drum, the Ghibli Thermodynamic Drum displays a unique method of refined conduction applied to a wider contact surface between beans and drum. Heat is generated via a copper layer creating a 1.4mm gap between the heat and the beans, removing any risk of burn marks. This drum excels in producing an evenly-roasted batch of superb beans.”

Conduction Vs Convection
Heat conduction or thermal conduction is “the transfer of internal energy by microscopic diffusion and collisions of particles or quasi particles within a body due to a temperature gradient.”

As opposed to convection which is defined as “the concerted, collective movement of groups or aggregates of molecules within fluids (e.g., liquids, gases) and rheids, through advection or through diffusion or as a combination of both of them.”

An example of convection heating is to heat a metal rod at one end. The heat travels from one end of the rod to the other through high speed particles colliding with slower ones.

An example of convection is to put a heat source in water, heated fluid is caused to move away from the heat of the source.
This in my opinion is why the Ghibli stands head and shoulders above other roasters (in this price range). A high level of conductive heat particularly early in the roast produces a rich cup with caramelisation of sugars and fats. This is because the first two thirds of the roasting period are endothermic meaning the beans absorb energy this is crucial for inner bean development. Once this has been established the final stages of the roast can be achieved through convection a higher airflow or quicker drum speed . Coupled with a unique roasting software which allows us to predefine and program personal roast profiles. By recording the desired heating curves, endless roast profiles can be applied, again and again with the greatest accuracy.

Learning to use the roaster has been a lot of fun, hopefully you’ll see the results in the cup!

This is my first blog post on the new website I hope you like the look and feel to it. There has been some really positive uptake on the “coffee club” subscribtion service which is really pleasing.