It looks like you are accessing from Korea🇰🇷
Do you want to move to Korean page?

Go to the Korean page

Enhancing Efficiency and Quality: The Role of Firescope in Large-Scale Coffee Roasting

Jason Jin
June 13, 2024
min read
Share this post

Could you briefly introduce Black Up Coffee?

Black Up Coffee is a roastery based in Busan, South Korea, operating for 17 years since its establishment. Currently, we have nine locations across Busan, Ulsan, and Gyeongnam. Our goal is to become the top coffee company in the cities where we operate. To achieve this, we are creating spaces where everyone can enjoy coffee, aiming to make our cafes where visitors can have delightful and memorable experiences.

In Korea, many people still perceive specialty coffee as slightly burdensome due to its acidity. Therefore, we are continually looking for ways to make our specialty coffee more accessible and enjoyable for everyone, reducing any resistance to trying it.

What do you do at Black Up Coffee?

I have been working here for over 10 years now. When I started, there were only three branches, and I spent the first four years managing two as the Head Barista. Afterward, I moved to the headquarters to learn roasting and have been roasting ever since. Currently, as the Head Roaster, I work with my colleagues to oversee the entire process at Black Up Coffee, from sourcing green coffee beans to production, quality control, packaging, blend planning, and shipping.

Black Up Coffee Roastery (

How did you first hear about Firescope?

Our roastery used to use another roasting software. However, we found it inconvenient and costly. While browsing Instagram, I saw someone else using Firescope and decided to try it myself. After finding it to be a good fit, I mentioned it to our CEO, and we began using it. Before relocating our roastery, we only used Firescope with our Probatino. However, after moving to our new facility and upgrading our roasting machines, all of our roasters became compatible with Firescope. Now, we use Firescope on all three of our machines.

Why did you decide to use Firescope?

Firescope is reasonably priced. The previous software we used did not charge based on batch size. We used their software for a long time, but their pricing model changed, and the monthly fee exceeded USD 700. The high cost led us to stop saving profiles for blended coffee roasts. We saved profiles for single-origin coffees, but as a workaround for blended coffees, we only saved and checked profiles for batches with unusual graph shapes.

Furthermore, Firescope is carefully designed for roasters. Additionally, as a Korea-based startup, it more promptly addressed our user feedback and provided technical support compared to other software.

Can you explain in more detail how you use Firescope?

During Roasting:

In our roastery, the production process for blended coffee is automated. When we press a button on the roasting machine, the entire process, including input, output, and cooling, operates in a single sequence without individual actions. During this time, I don't save each batch individually on Firescope. For instance, if we need to roast ten batches of a blend, I let the temperature curves record continuously without saving in between. By arranging the roasting charts in sequence, I can observe them without repeatedly reloading. I then monitor the trends from previous batches to determine if there are any abnormalities and control the preheating between batches if needed.

We use a wide monitor for this purpose. Even though the graphs become narrower after about six batches, we can lay out up to ten batches in a row. Despite the narrower view, it allows us to detect changes in the simple graphs and check those specific batches if necessary.

In Roastery Operations:

For inventory, production, and logistics, we also use an ERP solution. In our previous facility, the green bean storage was adjacent to the production area. In our current roastery, the green bean storage is on the second floor, requiring us to check inventory twice. However, with Firescope, we can track green bean inventory based on the batch sizes needed for roasting. When the inventory count reaches a certain threshold, we perform a physical inventory check. This integration helps streamline our workflow and maintain accurate inventory records.‍

What are some positive changes after adopting Firescope?

We have been roasting for a long time, but in the past, we didn't use any profiling software, not even Artisan. We recorded everything manually. Using a roasting program like Firescope adds credibility to the roaster's opinions. It also makes it easier to explain how we interpret the roasting charts based on specific phenomena.

When the coffee taste differs from what we expected, we can discuss how to adjust the roasting profile. Conversely, when a different roasting approach results in a more positive flavor, we can reflect on the roast and identify the variables that contributed positively. This continuous accumulation of data allows us to improve the coffee flavor.

I don't mean to belittle those who don't use roasting software. Speaking from the perspective of someone who hasn't used it previously, I believe that even the smartest person can't rely solely on their memory. Humans are prone to making mistakes, and when we do, we need data to find the reasons behind those errors. Having or not having this supporting data significantly impacts our thought process.

Whenever I receive feedback from our CEO and QC Manager about the coffee tasting a bit off, I first check the roasting data before evaluating the coffee taste. This process helps us track down the cause of any differences from previous roasts, whether it is due to changes in the roasting profile, the condition of the coffee over time, or storage issues.

Are there any useful features in Firescope that you frequently use or do you have any tips to share?

I use the new profile feature frequently. Previously, I had to search through records one by one, but now I can simply go to the profile section and see all the batches roasted with that profile at once. This is very convenient. Additionally, I often adjust the chart range, expanding and narrowing it. For example, I set the ROR axis to 20 or even 30, which slightly changes the graph shape. I think different roasters might interpret the charts differently based on these adjustments.

When I observe variations in heat supply during specific stages of roasting, it can be difficult to immediately identify issues if I'm always interpreting within the same frame. By changing the chart range, I can view the data from a new perspective, which often helps pinpoint where the problems might be occurring. The ability to save and load chart settings in Firescope, allowing for flexible chart configurations, is very beneficial.

I believe a roaster should look at the entire process during roasting. However, many roasters focus on specific segments, such as just watching BT ROR, which can be quite limiting. I try to use Firescope to observe a variety of aspects, ensuring I don't narrow my perspective too much. This approach helps me maintain a broader view of the entire roasting process.

If you were to recommend Firescope to someone else, who would you recommend it to?

Roasting factories that handle large quantities of coffee need Firescope. However, I would like to see more micro-roasteries that handle small batches use Firescope. These smaller businesses will eventually grow and need to develop systems to roast larger quantities of coffee. By starting with a roasting profiler and using data from the beginning, they can seamlessly transition to handling larger machines without much inconvenience. The only change is the batch size. Many roasters I know find it challenging when batch sizes increase, partly due to the anxiety that comes with handling larger quantities.

However, if they have been profiling and interpreting their roasts with software like Firescope from the start, the process of roasting remains fundamentally the same. The use of roasting software helps maintain consistency and ease the transition as they scale up their operations.

Share this post
Jason Jin
Firescope Co-founder

Related posts

Exploring coffee roasting experiences and insights
min read

Why a Roasting Champion Switched from Cropster and Artisan to Firescope

Interviewed most famous roasting champion in Korea for insights on roasting and roasting log programs
Read post
min read

Why did we create Firescope after using Artisan?

Explain how Firescope serves as an alternative solution to the inconveniences encountered with Artisan.
Read post
How to roast
min read

Designing Profiles for Ethiopian Natural Coffee

This article explores the importance of considering the characteristics of Ethiopian natural coffee beans, forming fast and slow airflows in two batches for roasting, and comparing the results to intricately adjust the roasting profile.
Read post

Focus on your roasting,
we will take care of the rest