We’ve come a long way since we started roasting coffee in the late 2000s and now have a range of roasting equipment spread over two sites; our wholesale roastery down by the River Medina and Caffe Isola just up the road in Newport’s town centre. There are many reasons for running multiple roasters, each has its own character and strengths, multiple machines means greater production during busy times as well as the backup factor that if one machine requires maintenance, production can still continue.
The wholesale roastery is home to our trusty Deidrich IR12 and our vintage Vittoria VT15 and where we roast all our kg stock and filter coffees for wholesale customers as well as our bigger retail orders. The IR12 was our first commercial roaster and has served us well as we have grown over the years. It is a very versatile machine, particularly in terms of batch size and is just as good for espresso or single origin roasts. Over the years we have also added various custom modifications so it will always have a solid place in the roastery covering roasts from 2-10kg. In 2021 we also picked up our next restoration project, an early 80s Petronccini 120kg roaster which will give us the volume to expand over the next 10 years.
The Vittoria was a labour of love, found in Sicily where Dan’s wife Viviana is from, just a year after we got the IR12, we new it was too good an offer to miss and the story was great! But it needed a bit of TLC, it was running but some restoration was required. Back then there was no rush, we didn’t actually need a 20kg roaster at the point but we knew we would at some point. The VT15 now does the bulk of our espresso roasting, completely different to the IR12 which uses a mix of conductive and convective heat transfer, the Vittoria is all convective with its perforated drum. There is something quite special about watching the burner flame whip round into the face plate and its elegant cast iron casing is a reminder that people just don’t make machines like this anymore! This machine has also received its fair share of upgrades, and now both old and new technology sit side by side and roast happily together.
We use Artisan profiling software on all our roasters, coming from an engineering background it is the most flexible system out there, allowing us to add as many thermocouples, pressure sensors and switches, and control things like vf drives over modbus in any way we choose.
Here is also where we have our green coffee store. We have always been quite particular about how we store our coffee, temperature and moisture both affect how a coffee will roast and keeping as many parameters as consistent as we can throughout the year is one of the reasons our coffee is so consistent. We have a temperature controlled room for our green coffee and here is where we weigh up all our batches and check samples for moisture content and density.
CAFFE ISOLA & THE CHAPEL ST ROASTERY
Caffe Isola is our retail cafe in the centre of Newport and home to our profiling roastery. Having got to know our trusty IR12 inside out, it made sense to put a Diedrich IR5 here for developing new coffees. Its a great looking machine, ideally proportioned for the space and has the added advantage of being easy to adapt profiles to the larger IR12. Here we also do some of the smaller run bespoke batches and retail for our own shelves at Caffe Isola as well as host roastery experience days where people can get an insight into coffee roasting.
This is also where we do all our sample roasting on our Ikawa, a very consistent device that really helps us get plenty of samples roasted so we can concentrate of cupping them to choose which we want to buy. It’s a great space to work where customers can see what we are doing and we can spend as much time as we like on new coffees without interfering with production.
We are currently roasting web orders on a Monday and a Thursday. Orders must be received before 9am to be included in that days roast schedule. IOW orders which are currently delivered by us so it is a good idea to leave some kind of box out for deliveries to be placed in or let us know a safe place to leave your order if it doesn’t fit through the letter box.