We asked Velton Ross, owner of Velton’s Coffee Roasting Company, the insider details on why he decided to enter the competitive coffee roasting industry in Seattle and what makes his roasting style extra special.
1. What made you want to get in to roasting?
Wanting to get into coffee roasting was the easy part; finding an opportunity to do so is what proved to be difficult. I had been in the coffee industry for 11 years and spent time behind the bar at nine different cafes before the chance came my way. Having worked with coffee as long as I had – and loving every aspect of it – I wanted to know more about the journey of how that coffee got to me. I knew that to be a great roaster I’d have to learn as much as possible about the different growing regions, harvest times, varietals, processing methods, and more – and then take that knowledge and put my own personal spin on it through the roaster. I’ve been roasting for 15 years now and I can safely say I’m still heavily entrenched in that learning process and haven’t tired of it even one bit.
2. How would you describe your roasting style? What’s been the biggest influence on your style?
This is always a bit of a difficult question for me as my roasting style has morphed and evolved over the years, parallel to the evolution of my palate and roasting experience. And both my palate and roasting style continue to change – mostly unconsciously. If there’s been a constant to my style, it’s that I tend to go the “middle road” more often than not; balance in the coffee is more important than anything else to me and I tend to find the extremes to be unbalanced and less enjoyable. So, our roasts are not too slow, not too fast, not too dark, not too light. This sounds boring to some, I’m sure, but in the end we have a nicely nuanced yet approachable cup that hopefully showcases all the positive attributes of the coffee in a balanced fashion: aroma, acidity, body, and sweetness. I try to not to sacrifice anything to highlight any one aspect of that particular coffee. There are exceptions to this rule but it’s definitely my “go to” approach. The biggest influence to my style is my very own palate as mentioned before. Because of this, I try to keep my palate calibrated somewhat to the industry’s ever-changing palate at large – but at the end of the day I go with my personal preferences.
3. What makes your coffees unique?
We try to approach our different offerings similarly with “consistency” being the goal. So whereas different offerings are of course going to taste unique from one another, they are all “balanced” in their own right. We also really enjoy seeking out unique coffees; ones you’re maybe not used to seeing on other’s offering sheets. Single varietal lots, unique regions and processing, etc. Honestly one of my favorite things about what I get to do is getting to roast – and taste – a great variety of different and unique coffees year in and year out. When we come across a particularly rare offering and it tastes fantastic, we’ll go out of our way to bring it in – even if it’s from a region lesser-known for fantastic offerings. Quality is improving everywhere and it’s possible now to find great coffees out of regions previously known for producing mostly sub-par beans. If they impress us I want to make sure we do our part to help elevate their standing within the industry and reward them for the job well done. As realities change perspectives ought to as well; everyone benefits.
Stay tuned for more roaster profiles from the top independent Seattle roasters working with us at Bean Box! Click here if you’d like to try Velton’s freshly roasted coffee!
Tasting a Bit of Bali,
Team Bean Box