Roasting in LA: An Inside Look at Jones Coffee Roasters
You walk into Jones Coffee Roasters on Raymond Ave in Pasadena and it’s truly an all-around sensory experience. Flashes of color from neon signs, vibrant murals on the walls, comfy sofas/chairs and a classic wooden piano decorate the space. Aside from the regular bustling beats of the coffee shop, other sound highlights include live jazz music every Tuesday morning and the humming sound of the coffee roaster in the back of the shop. You feel like you’re right at home, but also in the middle of the coffee creation itself. I met up with the shop owner Chuck Jones, who comes from long lineage of coffee growers. The Jones’ sustainable coffee farm in Guatemala - Fincas Dos Marias, has been around since the 1870s and supplies most of the coffee beans for the roastery.
Chuck introduces me to their master coffee roaster, Rafael Aguiar, who took me through the entire roasting process at the shop with their beautiful Probat Roaster. There is an art to coffee roasting that is very similar to cooking. It’s a gourmet experience that combines math, chemistry and creativity. And it is no surprise that Rafael is also a baker and prior to working at Jones Coffee Roasters, he used to be a cook. Rafael explains that just like with food, you have to keep a close eye on your creation. There are so many different lines of flavor to watch for, and similar to cooking, you can spice things up with different condiments.
Fun Facts on Jones Coffee
Where do you do the coffee roasting?
We do roasting at the back of the shop in our roasting room. Depending on the orders, some weeks we will roast daily. We also do cupping twice a week to make sure that we’re getting the coffee profile right and overall quality control.
How long has Jones Coffee Roasters been roasting coffee?
We’ve been roasting about 23 years since 1995 and have gone through 3 roasters. We started out with a Probat L12 roaster for around 16 years, then went to a Gothot 23 roaster for another couple of years and then switched it out for our current Probat UG22 about two years ago.
How long is the entire roasting time?
Depending on the roast, the beans stay for about 12-14 minutes in the drum and then 3-6 minutes in the cooling tray. And you want to make sure the coffee can rest for at least 24 hours to release its natural gases before brewing it.
Is most of it shipped locally in California or around the US?
We do about 80% local and the other 20% to various locations.
Where do the beans originate from?
About 60% of the beans are from the family farm in Guatemala. The other 40% are from other places around the world like Brazil, Columbia, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, and Sumatra.
Tell us about your favorite…
Favorite Roast: Full City Roast with beans from Finca Dos Marias.
Favorite Pastime: Baking! Rafael makes a killer flan.
Favorite Roast: The Chuck Roast of course!
Favorite Pastime: Spending time with family on the farm in Guatemala
Learn more about Jones Coffee Roasters