Conversations from the Specialty Coffee Expo: Charles Tysor

Name: Charles Tysor
Company: Carolina Coffee 
Position: Roaster and Technician
Based: Wilmington, North Carolina
Expos Attended: 1

JJ: How did you come to be a roaster?
CT: It was actually…I can’t even explain it. I was just at home one day and I got a phone call from the company and I was like, “I don’t really know much about coffee, but sure, why not?” Went in for the interview, got the job and I’ve loved it ever since.

JJ: What were you doing before?
CT: I was doing everything beforehand. Manufacturing work, I was doing retail, whatever, anything. I came here and I basically get to do all that now. Retail, manufacturing work, and working with my hands, working with a select group of people, which is something that I always enjoyed.

JJ: How would you describe Carolina Coffees and what you’re mostly roasting right now?
CT: We roast from all over really, North America, South America, Africa—I mean if we can get it in, we’re gonna roast it. We love what we do. We just try to do it to the best of our abilities so everyone’s pleased and satisfied.

JJ: What are some of the things that you’ve learned this year?
CT: This year? Mainly just preserve the flavors of our coffees and ways to keep it that way because our company, we do shipping and packaging and delivering to other places. So it’s just a matter of keeping everything fresh, as fresh as possible, so all those flavors can be absorbed when they’re brewed and the customer gets their hands on them.

JJ: How about here at the Expo? What are some of the cool things that you’ve seen?
CT: I’m in love with the roasters. Just seeing all the different styles and things that we don’t normally see on the day-to-day because we have our roaster. So you know, it’s like this is what I work with every day and it’s like I come here and see that this isn’t the end of it. There’s like more, and just knowing that there’s the possibility of growth….The next thing would probably be just going around and seeing all the coffees from other origins and being able to taste those flavors and see what they’re supposed to taste like, so if we do decide to get those in, then we know exactly what we’re supposed to have.

JJ: Are you seeing any specific trends happening in the roasting field?
CT: In the roasting field? Not really, only because we’re not technically out to necessarily roast differently. It’s more of a, I guess you could call it private, we do our own profiling and we take the bean and we create a flavor that we want for us, and then we’ll bring our customers in, allow them to try everything. As far as roasting and the trends, where I’m from, it’s not really a big change there.

JJ: What do you think the big takeaways will be from Expo?
CT
: Just coming out and seeing how coffee can be affected by different things, and how coffee can actually affect those things as well. You know, flavors and textures, and everything. I’ve seen cups made from the coffee husk, it’s pretty amazing that you can take coffee beans and create masterpieces.

JJ: Do you have any advice that you would give to a new roaster coming to Expo for their first time?
CT: When you come, just be open to everything. Be willing to learn, open up your mind and don’t be close-minded. Just come in and think that you know everything. Just listen, write it down if you need to, take a picture and just learn all you can.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Read all of our conversations from the 2019 Specialty Coffee Expo.