After a long hiatus, we’re back with our Meet the Team blog posts!
This post features Raymond Rodrigues, roaster for our Bombay roasterie which is set up to open in April!
Although Raymond is from Goa, he spent the past few months working with his father in Congo. He recently moved back to India and this is his first job in coffee.
BT: How did you find Blue Tokai?
RC: My first exposure to real coffee was in Congo where I started drinking non-instant but freshly brewed coffee. There was a cafe where they ground the coffee in front of you before they brewed it. When I moved back to India, I was longing for freshly roasted coffee. I came across Blue Tokai’s website and ordered a sampler pack. It’s a relationship that started two years ago and I haven’t looked back since.
BT: Why did you choose to work at Blue Tokai?
RC: Blue Tokai is the best place to work with coffee in India: from how and where the beans are sourced from to all the research on how to extract maximum flavor from each type of bean in the roasting process. There is so much to learn about Third Wave Coffee and Blue Tokai is the place for it.
BT: Why did you apply to the roaster position?
RC: I love coffee so much that I wanted a job where I can closely work with coffee. Roasting coffee is after all where all the magic happens. I wanted to experience how these green plain dense beans transform into something so different, so full of flavor and aroma - it’s a thing of beauty!
BT: What’s the most daunting part about being a roaster?
RC: It’s a very intense job, standing (all day on most roasting days) in the heat and the constant noise of the roasting machine, while paying attention to the temperatures and roast profiles. However, the smell of roasted and freshly ground coffee does make it bearable!
BT: What didyou notice about the Indian coffee scene when you moved back from Congo?
RC: Although a lot of good quality coffee is grown in India, the majority of it is exported. Additionally, most of the coffee available in India is either instant coffee or over roasted coffees found in coffee chains. I also realized that unlike Indian coffee, Congo’s coffee wasn’t actually grown there - it was all coffee that had been imported.
BT: What’s a fun fact about you?
RC: I was born on a farm in Congo and incidentally the land there is great for growing coffee!
BT: Favourite coffee at Blue Tokai?
RC: I love the Bibi Plantation!