SCA Lectures Podcast #13: Building a Roasting Plant

In this episode of the SCA Podcast from the 2017 Specialty Coffee Expo, Andi Trindle, Director of Coffee at Philz Coffee (and member of the Coffee Roasters Guild Unification Committee) moderates a panel of coffee roasting professionals discussing the process of managing the building of a roasting plant. Learn how to manage the design, build out, and start-up of a roasting plant from experienced roasting companies. Andi and the panel review site and vendor selection, timelines, contractor management, and share essential tips to minimize surprise costs and delays.

Moderator: Andi Trindle Mersch, Director of Coffee, Philz Coffee
Andi Trindle Mersch has a varied background within the specialty coffee industry, which began behind the espresso bar in 1989 and, since then, includes green buying, cupping, training, consulting, trading, roast quality control, sales, writing, and marketing. Mersch currently serves as Director of Coffee with Philz Coffee, SF. She was elected to the Roasters Guild Executive Council for a 2 year term in March 2015, is a member of the Coffee Roasters Guild Unification Committee, and she continues to volunteer with the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) developing coffee business curriculum. She is a past board member of the heritage SCAA and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.

Panelist: Brett Israelson, Director of Roastery Operations, Kaldi’s
Brett Israelson is the Director of Roastery Operations for Kaldi’s Coffee based in Saint Louis, Missouri. Brett started his coffee career with Kaldi’s as Project Manager assisting with, and eventually overseeing, the design and construction of new retail locations. He moved on to restructure, develop, and oversee Kaldi’s Service Department. In late 2014, while assisting in roastery operations, Brett headed up the design and build-out of Kaldi’s new 32,000 sq. ft. facilities and has been in his current role since completing the move in April 2015. Brett is passionate about leadership and people development and has been a member of the Kaldi’s Senior Leadership Team since its inception.

Panelist: Chris Miller, Head Roaster, La Colombe Coffee
Chris left a chef’s life/career in 2004 and was brought on to La Colombe as a service technician. After two years as a technician he was brought in to the roasting position and has been there ever since. Chris oversees all of the roasting production and green buying for La Colombe and loves that there is no end to learning something new about coffee.

Panelist: Peter Lyons, Owner, Lyons Pride Coffee
Peter is the owner of Lyons Pride Coffee, a Shreveport, Louisiana coffee roaster whose purpose is to bring you quality specialty coffee, education, and assist you on your own coffee journey.

Download handouts for this presentation below:

About the SCA Podcast
This talk was presented live at the 2017 Global Specialty Coffee Expo, the largest annual gathering of specialty coffee professionals.

The SCA Lectures podcast series is brought to you by Olam Specialty Coffee, connecting roasters to the finest specialty green coffees. Learn more about Olam at

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