Touring S&D with the S&D Culinary Challenge Finalists

The Johnson & Wales Charlotte students selected for the S&D Culinary Challenge finals all made innovative, delicious recipes using S&D extracts or ground coffee. But do they know much about the coffee roasting process and how S&D prepares the perfect product for customers?

To give them insight into our roasting process, several finalists — and one of their food truck owner mentors from the competition — took a tour of the S&D production facility in Concord, NC.

Here are a few highlights from their visit:

Commodities Lab

A Group of people touring S&D facilities

Before sampling coffee, the students learned about the different places coffee comes from and how S&D works with a variety of partners to obtain the finest raw materials around the world.

S&D’s team of industry veterans connects with farmers, inspects crops in the field, tastes sample after sample and oversees the complex process of delivering a steady stream of materials to our facilities for processing.

Coffee Cupping

Using the small-scale roasters in the commodities lab, cupping samples were roasted for the students. Cupping is one of the tasting techniques used to evaluate the aroma and flavor profile of coffee and tea.

The students learned about how coffee is graded, how coffee is purchased and how many times coffee is sampled before it leaves the facility. They saw the slurping and spitting techniques and got to try their hands at them as well.

three vintage coffee roasters

people learning how to smell coffee properly

man smelling and stirring coffee

Green Coffee Holding Area

man demonstrating coffee logistics

Coffee is grown in approximately 80 countries located on four continents between the geographical latitudes of the Tropic of Cancer (to the north) and the Tropic of Capricorn (to the south). Some major producing countries include Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Uganda, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Here the students toured the storage area for unroasted, or green, coffee — learning about its origin and how the beans are handled prior to roasting.

Roasting Area

man giving a factory tour to a group

At this stop, the students learned about how S&D roasts its coffee and the technology that is involved in the process.

We roast our quality beans in one of the most modern coffee roasting facilities in the world. Our roasting process is entirely digital with a totally automated centralized control system. Through our own engineering capabilities, S&D takes manufactured roaster designs and improves upon the technology, creating advantages that pay off in the cup.

Shipping department

man boxing up coffee

The final stop for both the roasted coffee and the students’ tour was the shipping department. Here, finished goods are packaged and distributed for delivery to S&D customers.

group standing in front of S&D sign

Thank you to our special S&D Culinary Challenge guests and best of luck at the finals tomorrow!

See more photos from the students’ tour on the S&D Facebook page and learn about the S&D Culinary Challenge in this recent press release.