Five minutes with our head roaster

Anna Kerwick @ 2023-02-22 12:02:41 +1000

Steve wakes up at the crack of dawn every day, puts on his high-vis shirt and heads to work. His office isn’t like most. It is a shiny, bright blue Brambati Roaster sourced directly from Codevilla, Italy.



Steve is the Head Roaster at Merlo Coffee and it’s his job to ensure that only the highest quality coffee beans leave the warehouse at Merlo HQ and make their way to cafes and homes across the country.

This month, we are excited to be sharing with you five minutes with Steve Olorenshaw, the man who has a passion for perfecting every roast.

So Steve, tell us… what do you love about your job?
I enjoy the challenging nature of the job. Never a dull day as they say, there is always something with coffee, machinery or production processes to keep me on my toes. I also really enjoy the opportunity to impart my love of great coffee to others through tour groups and in-house training.

What do you love about coffee?
Firstly of course is the taste, but more than that is the culture of coffee. I can still remember the best cup of coffee I ever had, it wasn’t just that the barista had made a great cup, but the atmosphere of the cafe and good company I was with.

What is your favourite thing about roasting coffee?
Probably variety, in a nutshell. There are limitless ways to blend and roast coffee as well as the seasonal and varietal progression of crops. When given the chance, experimenting is my favourite thing.

Tell us about how you got into coffee roasting…
I would love to say because of my passion for excellent coffee. However, it was merely a job as a young packing boy that first drew me into the industry. Many years and a lot of questions later, I developed my desire to pursue the perfection in roasting.

What is your favourite Merlo coffee?
My favourite blend is Riviera, mainly because it cups up better through a plunger which is often how I make my coffee at home. That said, the hands down winner for origin beans has to be Costa Rican. It has a silky smooth mouth-feel and, with its delicate honey notes, makes an awesome short black, yet it has enough character to hold its own in milk as well. I could quite literally drink Costa all day long!