As anyone associated with the coffee industry knows, producing the ultimate brew is a closely collaborative effort. From shrub, to cherry, to bean, to cup, this effort requires no small measure of dedication. So over the coming weeks, we thought we’d like to showcase those clients who’ve become our friends because they share our commitment to excellence.
First off the bat, meet Coffee Unplugged, Genio Roasters’ first client!
Based in Johannesburg, Coffee Unplugged was established in 2003. It’s a dedicated, owner-managed coffee company, specialising in both corporate and hospitality coffee solutions. Coffee Unplugged prides itself on providing a personalised service selling freshly roasted coffee beans, be they the finest Italian, or taken from a wide selection of beans sourced closer to home. They also offer flavoured and decaffeinated beans from around the globe.
What actually sets these guys apart from the more commercial mainstream is the fact that they do their roasting in-house, so getting the very freshest coffee at the very best price is something they guarantee.
Genio Roasters caught up with Matthew Abelheim from Coffee Unplugged, to tell us a bit more about his company and his commitment to the ultimate brew:
Where did your journey with coffee begin?
We started at the Rosebank market, moved to my mom’s garage and then to larger premises where we began roasting. What more can I say? The rest is history!
What is the most rewarding part of the coffee industry for you?
Converting someone from drinking instant coffee to having freshly roasted coffee and seeing the smile on their face when they have a great cup of coffee. I also love teaching people how to make the perfect cup.
And a Genio Roaster helps you do this?
Yes – it’s very easy to use, we get great aftersales support and have hardly had any problems since day 1. We have plenty of control to manipulate the roast we are busy with so we can get it exactly the way we want it. It’s not just about filling it up with beans and turning it on and waiting 12 to 15 minutes. Each roast is unique and requires attention and care.
Do you find the total control a Genio roaster offers you is a real benefit to your business?
It’s a key benefit because you can experiment – and truly great coffee is sometimes the result of such an experiment, just like great art. For example – one day by mistake, we roasted a particular South American bean too dark and then mixed it into an existing blend. Wow! We’d stumbled on a completely new, fantastic coffee blend which we are still using today. It’s one of our best sellers. I’m afraid the origin has to remain a secret; it’s a unique blend we created. Its our Signature Blend. You should try it!
What’s the most unique/exotic coffee/coffee-experience you’ve ever had?
We were one of the first companies in South Africa to bring in and roast a ‘honey processed’ coffee bean. This means the pulp of the coffee cherry is left on the bean once picked for a longer period of time and the sweetness from the cherry gets absorbed into the green bean.
Are those the kinds of things that make coffee special for you?
Some of them. Coffee is special because you have to prepare it properly every single time. One wrong step and great coffee can taste downright awful. Coffee can be very unforgiving. Once you over-roast or under-roast, over-extract or under-extract, grind too coarse or too fine, then the final outcome might not be what you’d hoped for. It’s not like making wine where the error is in the manufacturing process. Once it reaches the shelves all you have to do is purchase and pour. Coffee’s very different.
What’s your favourite type of coffee/How do you enjoy your coffee?
Right now, I’m big on the Americanos. I like my coffee with a little bit of milk and a double shot of coffee – topped up with hot water. Hmmmmm…
When it comes to feedback from your customers, what do they like the most?
The fact that our coffee is so fresh and locally roasted. They also like the fact that our beans are of the very highest quality and our service of the highest standard. You need both to stay in this game!
Do you think South Africa still has a long way to go in terms of establishing a truly global coffee culture?
No, I think we’re well on our way to having a serious coffee culture. More and more people are buying coffee equipment, be it POD machines, filter machines, bean to cup machines or espresso equipment. Since I started, the market has increased by several hundred percent – not only with avid coffee drinkers, but also with the number of competitors we encounter on a daily basis.
What advice do you have for aspiring coffee roasters, baristas, connoisseurs, designers, entrepreneurs out there?
Explore new ways to make coffee. Enjoy the different coffee tastes from different bean-origins and roasting methods. Always keep your coffee in a sealed container once opened and store in a cool & dark place to help maintain it’s freshness.
What’s the next step for Coffee Unplugged?
We want to continuing growing. We have lots in the pipeline – new machines & coffee blends… Keep tabs on www.coffeeunplugged.co.za
Finally – what added feature would you like to see in a future Genio roaster?
Maybe a small fridge on the side to hold cold beer – I mean – milk for coffee! ☺
Coffee Unplugged also sell the finest quality vending, espresso, cappuccino and filter coffee machines offering brands like Magister, Cunill, Saeco, Solis, Rheavendor, Daalderop, Coffee Queen, and Bravilor, as well as a complete range of coffee accessories.