Mini computerised coffee roasters remove guess work for cafes
Computerised micro coffee roasters a little larger than microwave ovens are taking the guess work out of getting a perfect blend for cafes desperate to cut their coffee bills.
John Robson, who co-owns The Coffee Workshop in Christchurch with former All Black Reuben Thorne, sells micro roasters and related coffee-making gear and green beans to cafes.
The new technology is proving its worth by cutting coffee bills in half, said Robson and he believes the new micro roasters will revolutionise the industry.
Even at $10,000 each, the machines soon pay for themselves and the company is installing about one a week.
"I've had clients pay off their machines in two or three months.
"The roaster has a software package that talks to your lap top via blue tooth, the customer selects blend A, B or C, pushes a button and it roasts automatically, so there's no spending five years learning the craft.
"It's like a small pub brewing its own beer."
Robson got into the coffee business about 12 years ago selling coffee machines to offices.
"I saw so many cafe owners struggling to make their businesses work financially and I wondered why more weren't roasting on site."
He is now licensing The Coffee Workshop model and aims to have about seven open throughout the country.
Robson said micro roasting allowed cafes to create their own boutique blends from 30 to 40 different varieties of beans, and they often earned extra money by selling bags of roasted coffee to patrons.
The Coffee Workshop offers a walk-in custom roasting service at its Essex Street premises so coffee aficionados can pick a mix of their favourite beans and get them roasted on the spot while they have a cuppa in the on-site cafe.
Robson said larger more traditional micro roasters were still popular with cafes who liked to have them on display out front as a marketing tool.
"The smell is not to everyone's liking but we've had clients that want more smell in their cafe because they want to send the message to their customers that they are roasting on site. "
Robson's latest initiative is to offer community roasting sessions for cafes who can't yet afford to invest in their own micro roaster, but want to have a go.
"They can come in and select their own green beans from here and pay a per kilo rate."