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Papa Smurf finds its home at Bluebird Coffee Roastery following an incredible journey

Dario Scilipoti, owner of Bluebird Coffee Roastery, Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, speaks about his considerations in upgrading to a new coffee roaster, and the exciting customisation journey he embarked on with the design team at Genio.

by Elsie Potgieter

We live in an experience economy. The customer journey is a more valued part of the business than it has ever been before. For many coffee businesses, customer choice is the simplest way to create a truly high-quality specialty coffee experience. For roasters, this means customers being able to make choices between single-origins and blends, varieties, tasting notes, and roast profiles. For a coffee shop owner, creating an ambiance where customers can find their own space and a tailored experience, means return business. The personal touch and attention to detail speak to the discerning customer. They are certain to notice the extra effort.

Complimenting the ultimate coffee experience in the roastery or coffee shop, is the custom finish of the coffee roaster. The customised machine enhances the operator interface and it adds to the overall atmosphere and interior of the space in which it lives. A custom coffee roaster comes down to a beautiful machine and a personalised experience across a variety of shared touch points.

Genio embarked on its maiden journey with Bluebird Coffee Roastery, designing their customised Bluebird Genio coffee roaster. We spoke to Dario about his step-by-step experience with Genio.

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The Bluebird team next to Papa Smurf. From left: Mark, Dario, Sarah and Fanie

Elsie Potgieter: What has brought you to this decision to buy a new coffee roaster?

Dario Scilipoti: We have been fortunate to experience good growth which has created the need for a larger machine. We have been pretty much at capacity for the past few months and our new Genio have doubled our practical capacity. Exciting times!

EP: Have you also considered other options before deciding on the Genio?

DS: Yes absolutely. I love the Loring and if there wasn’t such a massive price difference, the decision would have been harder. Ultimately, the 15kg Genio was a better fit for us than the other options on the market.

Bluebird Roasting

Dario and Sarah preparing for a roast on Papa Smurf

EP: What has ultimately swayed you to buy the Genio coffee roaster?

DS: Neil and the team are working with some exciting new technologies we find beneficial to our roast style. The adaptive air-flow, improved gas reading and the ceramic coated drum ultimately swayed us to the Pro Upgrade. The customisation is a nice touch but I don’t think that is the reason you should upgrade. Having said that, we love our Papa Smurf 🙂 The fact that the team is local means that we aren’t worried about time zones and physical distances when we inevitably need support.

EP: What has your customisation journey with Genio been like?

DS: We have been treated unbelievably well by the whole Genio team. From our factory visit to the seemingly endless list of customisation options. From the visit to our roastery to the swift after sales support. I have nothing but good stuff to say about our experience. We love the custom colour, beautiful maple wood, branded leather accents and even our GTi lights haha! Thanks team…

EP: What was your experience of your first roast on the Genio?

DS: With any new roast system there is so much to consider, from airflow to drum speed and preheat temperatures. The biggest takeaways from those first roasts would be the simplicity and sensitivity of the control panel, the responsive burner and the actual software interface. The probe placement has been effective for accurate data logging from as low as 6kg batches. I love the fact that the software and hardware are designed for each other. It is a dream to work on!

Laser engraved roast spoon in maple wood finish

EP: From a team perspective, what do you want the Genio to bring to the roastery?

DS: Quality, consistency and capacity. We have a very specific roast style that requires an obsessive focus. The simpler our machinery is to operate, the more we can focus on nailing all the other aspects of roast days. From between batch protocols to properly recording the various QC numbers we look at. We are finding it very easy to achieve consistency from batch to batch, which is vital for us!

EP: Was there anything that particularly surprised you during the first roast?

DS: One of the hidden benefits is the software prompted maintenance schedule. As a multi-person roast team, it is great to know that the basic day-to-day maintenance is being done. There is no room for assumption leading to disaster. This is after all a big investment for us and we want to make sure we look after it!

EP: What is the Genio roaster going to enable your business to achieve?

Brush-polished stainless steel logo plate

DS: We have already seen the impact the pure size of the machine has had on our business. We are getting twice the roasting done in the same amount of time. We had a waiting list of potential wholesale customers and we are very strict to say no when quality would be compromised. Quality from a roastery perspective ie too busy to focus on what’s important. And quality from a customer perspective ie our ability to train and do proper in-cafe QC. By increasing our capacity, we can welcome more of SA’s cafes into our family. Stoked!

EP: You are now part of the Genio family – what are your expectations going forward?

DS: My expectations are support focused. When we inevitably need assistance from a technical point of view, we need fast responses and effective solutions to whatever problem we may face as like most roastery’s, we can’t afford downtime. Having visited the Genio factory, I have seen the video conference facility and it feels good knowing that if the need arrises, you can put a gearbox on the table in the factory and help us troubleshoot over video call. The team are qualified, competent and eager to help. Which is amazing. We had a few issues with our previous roaster and it was just that little bit harder to solve without local support. 

Branded Tablet Cover in Chocolate Italian Leather, locally manufactured

EP: Thank you Dario, would you like to add anything in closing?

DS: From a business perspective, our goal is to push quality. That is our focus. Quality over volume. We could have been roasting double the volume on our previous machine, if we were prepared to let go of quality, just slightly. QC takes a ton of time! We expect to produce better quality, consistently. We buy fantastic coffee from some of the world’s most dedicated farmers and producers, we want to work on the best equipment available to give us the best chance of showcasing them to a high level.

I am very grateful to the Genio team for the attention to detail and great customer service. We are proud of our new machine and we can’t wait to see what it will allow us to achieve as a company.

And, we hope that we will be, Genio for Life.

Dario with the Genio Customisation Team

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The customisation journey is extremely detailed: Bluebird was part of the planning process from the start, they were regularly updated on developments, and every design element was explored, presented and discussed before final approval. We absolutely loved sharing the excitement with them throughout:

  • briefing document – understand the brand and overall expectations;
  • consider brand identity, colours, logos;
  • creative session at the Genio factory in Johannesburg;
  • discuss material, texture, appearance and finish;
  • present artwork and samples;
  • 3D rendering with various options superimposed on the roaster;
  • sign-off of the design document, and the start of production; with
  • regular updates and photographs as the process happened.

 

Customisation of the coffee roaster may not be the compelling reason when choosing a roaster, but it will definitely add to the awakening and integration of your brand, excitement in the roastery, bonding of the roasting team, and gaining admiration and appreciation from your coffee community.

A beautiful machine has a special attraction and don’t be surprised if an unexpected and extra-ordinary relationship starts to develop. It may just bring a smile to your face.

A customised coffee roaster from Genio is like receiving a gift, because it can only be yours – for life.