“The Genio roaster is so sturdy and well designed. It is simple to use and gives consistent results every time we use it. The support and encouragement from Neil and his team add to the great Genio experience. Having a roaster that was manufactured on our doorstep was a big motivating factor for us…” Linda & Keith Roberts, Owners at Roberts Roastery

At Genio Roasters we love to hear how are clients are doing and what they’re roasting at the moment. Over the coming months we’ll continue featuring some of our most interesting clients’ roasting and coffee tales.

Meet Roberts Roastery, one of Genio Roasters’ clients specialising in freshly roasted coffee for private and corporate customers. They love to roast and blend specifically for each client so that they get exactly what they like.

This micro roastery situated in Boksburg Gauteng, was set up in 2014 by Keith, Andrew and Linda Roberts. Their search for good, fresh coffee at reasonable prices for our own consumption at home was proving frustrating and led them to investigate the possibility of roasting their own coffee. After meeting with Genio’s owner Neil Maree they decided to pursue their dream…

Keith is a qualified electrician with experience in machinery maintenance and is responsible for maintaining and operating the machinery. Andrew has experience working with customers and is an IT specialist and is responsible for their web page and online shop, www.bestcoffee.co.za Linda is a teacher who has had some experience running small businesses and is mainly responsible for processing and dispatching orders.

We caught up with the team to learn a bit more about them, their business and all things coffee.

1.1. How long have you worked in the coffee industry?
We are still very new to the coffee business and have been roasting for over six months now.

1.2 About Roberts Roastery? How did it begin?
We love coffee but were dissatisfied with the quality of the coffee we could buy in the supermarkets. We also found that most of the coffee from the artisan roasters was quite expensive. We had been looking around for a few years for something to do in retirement. We decided to do some research and found that we could produce a good freshly roasted coffee at prices comparable to those of the supermarkets. So after meeting with Neil we cleared the garage/workshop (what a job!) and installed a Genio roaster.

2. What is the most rewarding part of the coffee industry for you?
There are many aspects we find rewarding. The taste of a great coffee knowing it’s something that you have created yourself is extremely satisfying. But also seeing a batch of freshly roasted coffee packaged in our packaging and knowing that others are soon going to be enjoying our creation is very rewarding.

3. What do you like about roasting with a Genio roaster?
The Genio roaster is so sturdy and well designed. It is simple to use and gives consistent results every time we use it. The support and encouragement from Neil and his team add to the great Genio experience. Having a roaster that was manufactured on our doorstep was a big motivating factor for us when choosing our roaster. We are great believers in supporting local businesses and in the quality of South African products.

4. Tell us about a special/magical roast you had with your Genio roaster? What origin bean was it, what settings did you use, what did the end product taste like, etc.
We still feel like babies in the roasting business and every roast is exciting! I think for me the most magical roast was the first one we did completely on our own. The beans were Brazil Santos, which we roasted to a medium roast, gas set at 1,5 ‘til first crack then dropped down to 0.5. We dropped the beans at first crack plus 2min around 223C. We got so excited when we dropped the beans I actually forgot to record the drop temp! Running my fingers through those beans as they were cooling and seeing the rich brown colour, which was consistent throughout the roast, was extremely satisfying. Of course we thought the coffee tasted like ambrosia, but if truth were told Brazil Santos is not my favourite bean!

5. What added features would you like to see in a (Genio) coffee roaster?
We find the little light is sometimes not enough and would like to see a bigger light. A magnetic strip in the chute from the agitator to catch stray bit of wire etc. Some sort of flue filter?
Noted. Thanks for the pointers guys.

6. What is the longest period that you have gone without coffee? What happened?
We have never gone without coffee. We always travel with beans or ground coffee and something to make it in!

7. What is the most unique/exotic coffee/coffee experience that you’ve ever had?
Being typical South Africans who have not ventured further afield than Botswana or Mozambique we have not had many opportunities to experience exotic coffees. Probably the most unique coffee experience we have had is sampling Ethiopian coffee made by Ethiopians. This dark, thick brew was like nothing we make ourselves but prompted us to invest in some Ethiopian beans which we use extensively in our blends.

8. What makes coffee special for you?
The flavor and versatility of coffee. It can be used and prepared in so many different ways, from a conventional cup of coffee to using in a rub for your steak.

9. What’s your favourite type of coffee/How do you enjoy your coffee?
Keith loves his cappuccino! I (Linda) usually drink mine black but I do enjoy a macchiato and cappuccino as well. We prefer a medium roast with fruity acidity. Definitely do not enjoy very dark roasts.

10. What’s the feedback been like re: signature product/that one thing your customers just can’t get enough of?
Our customers really enjoy our Espresso and Twenty-four/7 blends.

11. What’s the next step for your roastery?
We would love to see our brand become recognizable in the coffee market place and are working hard to create brand awareness. Once established we would love to buy a 2nd generation Genio and extend our range.

12. Do you think South Africa still has a far way to go in a global coffee culture?
Definitely! Most South Africans have never experienced the taste of ‘real’ coffee and feed their coffee appetites with cheap instant coffee. Educating our fellow South Africans about coffee is something that every roaster and barista should make a priority as once people are educated our businesses will grow.

13. What advice do you have for aspiring coffee: roasters, baristas, connoisseurs, designers, entrepreneurs out there?
Do not be afraid to take that first step! There are many coffee adventures out there for you to enjoy!

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