For coffeeshop owners who choose not to roast their own coffee, selecting a coffee roaster to partner with is one of the most important decisions to make. And with the sheer volume of roasters available in the UAE today, this may be quite a daunting task.
We reached out to UAE roasters to get their advice.
If you ask anyone who knows coffee in the UAE to recommend a local coffee roaster, Mattina Coffee is always on the list. In fact, in an article we did on the UAE coffee roasters you have to visit, Mattina was on a short list of seven.
They advised that there is no silver bullet on selecting your coffee partner (often a local roaster) but did have the following tips:
Go Local to ensure freshly roasted coffee, properly degassed versus long shelf-life coffee.
Simplify the coffee selection, but keep in mind there is no “One Size Fits All” Coffee.
Use a main grinder with one Single Arabica Origin with Prominent Dark Chocolate taste for milk-based Coffee (espresso brew).
Add 2 to 4 grinders for Single Arabica Origins (pourover brew) by order of GCC preferences.
One dominant Fruity coffee, typically using a Natural process or Supernatural process.
One dominant Nutty coffee (Java, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil).
One coffee with balanced notes (Colombia, Rwanda) – (these usually score higher on the SCA grading method but are not necessarily preferred by customers).
One origin with floral notes.
Although not a local preference, one coffee with acidity combined with pleasant notes (Kenya, Costa Rica).
Coffeeshop owners needs to provide a consistent taste of coffee to his customers. Each crop does not command similar notes as the previous year due to changing annual weather patterns. However, a professional roaster uses his network of farms/partners and adjusts taste through roasting skills. This is the key differentiator among new roasters and established ones – it takes time to develop this skillset.
Baristas need to be trained on telling the story around each origin they serve. They become storytellers and entertainers, an equally important skillset to brewing skills.
Last but not least, find a roaster who can provide technical support (e.g. scheduled preventive maintenance and calibration, repair, training on coffee equipment). Unfortunately, it is the most frequently missed capability.
For Reem Hassan, co-founder of Seven Fortunes, the most important considerations are:
Trust, support, reliability
They should look for a partner they can rely on, and can translate new coffee offerings in the market; bringing the best forward for their business.
In the end, it’s all about finding a roastery you are happy working with. Look for a roastery who can offer you a long-term, mutually beneficial partnership – that’s the best place to start.
Nooran Albannay, who has launched her own roastery, Section, advises:
Start small and keep controlling your quality of coffee beans. Ask for feedback from professional cuppers to evaluate your coffee and be open minded to new adventures in green coffee.
Operation in roastery is really different than operation in coffee shop!
Did you find this advice useful? Leave your questions and comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe for the latest news and exclusive subscriber offers.
Images by Mattina, Seven Fortunes and Coffee Architecture.