5 Questions with Matt Cronin of Mojo Coffee Roasters
Mojo Coffee House has entered the roasting game, making it one of the few outfits in town roasting its own beans. We visited their roasting facility recently (and left totally wired) and chatted with Matt Cronin, who roasts the beans inside the 1,600-square-foot roastery in the Black Pearl.
Edible New Orleans: What's your background?
Cronin: I’m from Baton Rouge and I spent a couple of years in Central New York for grad school, and then moved to New Orleans. When I was younger I was always a musician—and I’ve always worked coffee shop jobs because it allowed me to have a particular lifestyle due to playing music. Before I knew it I had been doing it for a decade and realized that I was better at that than anything else. I’m also kind of an introvert, so roasting allows me to basically spend time in my “lab” and roast coffee and experiment and work with a product that I love.
Edible New Orleans: Why did Mojo decide to start roasting?
Cronin: We wanted to be a little more innovative with our coffee program, so we started working with more local roasters and kind of looking outside of Louisiana for the highest-quality stuff that we could get our hands on. From that process we realized that the small-batch roasting we were seeing in NOLA was not nearly at the scale that it is in some other cities—particularly for NOLA being such a coffee town. That and also wanting to have more control over our coffee program in a way that really insured quality—having a coffee program that was changing and evolving in the way that we wanted it to. So, that’s where the base of the idea came from. And we also like the idea of having it all in-house.
Edible New Orleans: How quickly should one consume coffee beans after they've been roasted?
Cronin: That’s a matter of debate. Generally we like to allow our coffee to have at least a three-day resting period before it’s served. You don’t get full flavor development for at least a day or two. But coffee doesn’t generally start to lose flavor for at least two to two and a half weeks, assuming that it’s not already ground.
Edible New Orleans: What's the best way to preserve coffee at home?
Cronin: Old-school conventional wisdom is to put your ground coffee in the freezer. But back in the day, people were buying large quantities of ground coffee, and that loses its flavor so much faster. But generally, the important things are to keep the coffee dry, in a controlled environment like your pantry and not in direct sunlight.
Edible New Orleans: What’s your favorite way to make coffee, and do you put milk in it?
Cronin: I’m a pour-over guy, but it depends on what environment I’m in. If I’m in the shop I’m going to go through all the necessary steps to make the perfect cup of coffee. And no, no milk.