About me, Why?, What? Wont..
About Me...Why?, What?, Won't...
My name is Markus Hirner. I am a 27 years old father of beautiful Sofia and the husband of Maria Hirner. I spent the good part of my childhood growing up in Te Anau and Invercargill New Zealand. My parents were deep in hospitality my whole life - naturally it was deeply ingrained in my blood. It wasn’t until I was attending Otago Uni (where I meet my wife), that I discovered I had a great talent for coffee as a barista in various cafes. I refined my skill and eventually became an expert in my field. I graduated from Otago Uni with a BCom in Marketing Management. A year after graduation, I wasn't successful in gaining job using my degree… pretty common story, I know I’m not the only one.
Shortly after my wife Maria also graduated from Uni we were at a crossroads at what was the next step for our future. My father saw our frustration trying to find a job using our new degrees so he offered us a foot in the door in business ownership. After some long thought and discussion, we agreed to move to Invercargill to start a new life and become partners in my parent's cafe the Global Byte Cafe ( No longer ours ).
After a year of disappointment with our current coffee supplier of the cafe. Won't name, names… I decided to purchase a small 2kg coffee roaster from China with the help of my father in law and local importer we managed to get this roaster all the way to Invercargill. After many hours of test roasting with cheap coffee going into the trash or given away, I had something drinkable. Not great but drinkable that's as far as I would go. Months go on I start to learn how the roaster functions the variables I can control, the software I can connect and on and on. The coffee starts to taste better and not offensive. At this point, we start selling it in the cafe and setup the company now known as Viking Coffee.
Three years later my wife gives birth to our daughter Sofia Flora Hirner… what a miracle she is! At this point, we decide it's time for our family to move on from the cafe as it had turned into a monster leaving us no time to raise a child. Now living in Christchurch close to Maria’s family I start a job not long after at the coffee roaster and cafe Unknown Chapter in the city centre. Roasting on a glorious Probat P12 what an awesome machine (Not Perfect I must admit). Here I further developed my skills as a roaster where I stand now. After one year of employment here my wife and I decide to get back into the cafe scene and with the help of her family, we now have a cafe in Christchurch central called Espresso245 at 6/245 St Asaph Street. At this point, we have also started to push the Viking Coffee brand again but in the city of Christchurch.
So yea that's basically our life in a nutshell… so why this blog now and the coffee roasting consulting? Well over the last 4 years coffee roasting there has been a few select people who have helped me along the way who have successful coffee roasting businesses count me lucky because nobody else wanted to help me. I felt like most coffee roasters I talked to you couldn't get a word out of in terms of how to roast it was like some big trade secret that they couldn't share. I hated it! Were they threatened or did they not know what they were actually doing? Time tells me a bit of both. My opinion on this now is that the roasters that really know what's upto are happy to share their experiences as they know it's not simple to copy and the ones who are all shit are closed lipped. So basically I was flying blind making mistakes all over the place, but I learnt, I learnt fast! I read a book by Scott Rao “The Coffee Roasters Companion” maybe 5 times Its a must have for any new roaster. He is a great influential coffee roaster who is globally known and has helped me also in the early days.
That's as far as it went everything else was entirely up to me spending hour upon hour behind a coffee roaster learning from my mistakes. Boy there was alot! But it was what developed me into the roaster that I am now. So why do I think I am suitable to guide others how to roast? Just because I guess I enjoy it! I wouldn't do it if I didn’t I get the enjoyment out of showing others how to achieve a task that could have taken them weeks to figure out otherwise. I am now at a point where I am confident with all my roasting and damn I am roasting some fine tasting coffee. Don’t get me wrong I don't claim I am the worlds best roaster or know it all. I just want to share what I have learnt along the way in hopes it helps others. Guess what I still make mistakes just so you know and I am still asking other roasters for help when something happens I am not sure about.
WHAT THIS BLOG WILL BE:
Basically, I will go into great detail of all the mistakes and discovers I have made as a roaster and what I did to overcome the issues at hand and how I have improved my roasting. I might refer to other material, books, people, articles and online resources to further back up what I am trying to get across some things will be unique to my experience.
WHAT THIS BLOG WON'T BE:
This blog is free for all to read. My time helping others improve their business won’t be. My long term plan is to help others one-on-one to resolve roasting issues or help improve their current roasting methods. But hey! Didn’t you just say when you started out almost no one wanted to help you! Yes, correct but guess what I have a kid now to feed and bills to pay like you all. I just want to make a living not get rich so I’m not in this to rip anyone off I am just valuing my time fairly.
SIDE NOTE: Guess what this is the first thing I have written since Uni and my grammar is not so good so if you see grammatical errors or bad spelling just flick me an email kindly letting me know I rely on spell check. Please don't expect my writing to be beautiful just take it how it is and learn.
Ok peace out! Stay tuned for some useful interesting coffee roasting content