The Ue Shima Coffee Company (UCC) is the only coffee company that “crackulates” its coffee beans. Not just once, but twice. The first “crack” is a gentle popcorn pop that sends out hints of freshly baked cupcakes. The second “crack” explodes like fireworks, the aroma conjuring up perfect morning toast.


After the second crack, the longer the beans are roasted the darker they become and the less caffeine and less flavor and more bitterness they have to offer. Timing is crucial.  Always up to a challenge, our group of International Food Wine And Travel Writers (IFWTWA) took the UCC Roastmaster Tour: crackulating and roasting our own beans. 

UCC 2 Umbrellas

UCC 3 Flower to cherries


UCC 4 Cherry and bean

 Under umbrellas in the morning mist, we see the cherries on the coffee trees. Turning green, yellow, orange, and then finally red, they are picked by hand.


UCC 9 Regina separates the evil twin

Regina sorts the mutant Peaberries. Rather than two flat-on-one-side beans per cherry there is a single round bean that is created when one bean dies and the other takes over like an evil twin. The Peaberry beans are packaged under their own classification.


UCC 7 Roastmaster Tour 1

UCC 6 Into bags

The hands-on portion of the Roastmaster Tour begins.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 11 Labels printed

UCC Roastmaster Tour 2 Labels ready

Tracey Apoliona produces The Cooking Ladies’ Coffee labels.

 UCC Roastmaster Tour 6 Pick your roast

We decide on a medium roast. Peggy explains that the trick is to tip the beans out of the crackulator at just the right moment, when the color of our beans matches the color on the chart. The longer we hesitate the darker it becomes.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 3 Roasters are ready

Our equipment: Hot roasters, cooling boxes, and wooden spoons.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 4 Checking the beans

Our first check on the beans. We’re eager. The flames in the roaster are burning the spoon.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 5 Checking again

Our second check, right after the first crack. The beans are rattling in the roaster. We compare the color to the chart several times, just to be sure we’re still safe.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 7 Ready to dump

The second crack, another look at the chart, and we do a quick tip into the cooling box. Just a bit of smoke.

UCC Roastmaster 8 Ready to stir over fan

We stir the beans over a fan, to cool them down, stop the roasting process, and remove any chaff.

UCC Roastmaster Tour 9 Into bags

We’ve tasted. The beans are crunchy. Nutty. And not bitter.  It’s time for serious bagging.

UCC Happy roasters

Several cups of UCC Kona coffee later and we have happy writers.