Spring is starting to bloom and we love this change of season, new hope and life, with a renewed optimism and sense of opportunity! We hope the coffee box from Bean Bros finds you in an equally as positive mood!
Bean Bros set out to share the best coffee with our customers every month. We like to introduce roasters that you may not have tried and give a voice to all those people that work so hard to help you enjoy a cup of coffee.
This month we are proud to present, from Bucharest Romania, Sloane Coffee Roastery. This is a project started in 2016 by Teodora Pitis (Owner and QGrader) and now is defined by excellence, knowledge and passion.
Please take the time to read what Teodora has to share and enjoy your month!
Interview by: Kris Thurbin
Who makes up the team?
The Roastery has a team of 6 members but we consider the baristas who work in the two coffee shops part of the team as well, so in fact we have 15 members.
Besides myself (Teodora), Oana is the oldest team member and she is in charge now only of New Business passing on the Client Service to Robert that is taking care of operational and July who takes care or order fulfillment. Florin is Head Roaster, a job I am happy he has so brilliantly taken over so I can have more time to focus on the Big Picture. For the rest of the team it is a bit more complicated. Irina moved from being a barista in our flagship-store into being our Social Media Manager. She still does shifts at the shop because she really enjoys being a barista also. Miruna used to be our order fulfillment manager but moved on to become the Coffee shop and Office Manager. Stefan is our Head Barista and Events Manager. Vlad joined us recently as a barista and uses his passion for photography and filming to produce beautiful content for us.
Achievements that make you proud
In 2020, when everyone’s life turned upside down, it was just me and Oana. Exactly 3 years later we have moved the roastery to a bigger facility, opened 2 shops that serve all our lots constantly as espresso, milk-based drink or filter (currently 19 lots), grew to a team of 15.
We were also serving 6 lots in the beginning so being able to offer such a diversity is also one of the reasons we are proud.
We have been to 5 international trade shows last year and we are delivering coffee globally.
I am proud and grateful we got to this point.
Objectives that you are focused on
We are looking to diversify the ways you can enjoy our coffee outside our shops and that involves bottled cold brew, capsules, drip bags. We also want to train our team to take part in the SCA competitions and improve their skills and knowledge along the way.
We are also preparing periodical video content in which to share our knowledge and a new website.
I also plan on traveling more to the producing countries to visit the farms we have been working with.
You take a real passion in helping people grow their skills and involvement in your business. Do you have specific outcomes in mind or is this natural?
A bit of both. It is natural because I want to see these very talented young people grow and have a space to practice their passion and I also know this is the best way for the Roastery to grow. It made them be with us maybe longer than they would’ve been if they couldn’t do this and I also gained a new position in our management structure fulfilled by a person that already knows our vision, understands the importance of their colleagues work and is knowledgeable with coffee.
How involved do you like to be in understanding the origin / farm / people involved in growing, harvesting and processing the coffee?
Understanding a lots origin is very important to me and one of the reasons I like being in charge of the green buying and the reason I am passionate about coffee. You need to be constantly connected to what happens in the producing countries to understand the coffee you will work with. Fluctuations in the cost of labor and fertilizers, people’s migration, political developments, floods, landslides, freezes, coffee diseases, new varietals being planted and tested, some countries are finally able to produce washed lots, others switch to natural to preserve water, extended fermentation, co-fermentation and all of these innovative ways of processing coffee that come from wine making, all of these are reflected in the coffee in terms of quality, quantity, taste and price.
How do you enjoy being part of your local coffee community and what does this involve?
Specialty coffee has a global dimension and sometimes the coffee community can feel like a local community even when it involves a whole continent or even the whole world.
If we are to talk about the smallest local circle, I think the specialty coffee community is one of the best things about Bucharest. It has grown beautifully over the past 8 years, with now plenty of coffee shops and roasteries, all with great design, great equipment, great service and most importantly, great coffee. We have always been pretty competitive in a healthy and respectful way and this has resulted in a constant increase in the level of the lots offered, the complexity of the menu, the beauty of each shop.
On the other side of the bar, the average Bucharest coffee drinker is much more informed now and we often have very interesting conversations about the lots we bring.
Romania has a great coffee scene with most big cities having spots where specialty coffee is served.
What do you love most about the international events and community in coffee?
The people have always been the most interesting part of specialty coffee for me. I love the cauldron of different cultures and backgrounds that everyone brings. I also enjoy being able to meet and talk with the farmers and traders, with the passionate engineers who are always inventing some new machine to extract from coffee what we didn’t know you can extract and with the rebels of the industry, the baristas coming up with creative ways of enjoying this beverage.
I like your design approach; it is very clean and impactful. Is there a story here or goal?
I like yours also, I think there is even a slight similarity! The goal was for it to be clean and simple but memorable. We worked with a graphic designer who came up with this and we loved his worked so much that we have been working with him ever since. He used the O and A from the name to create the image of a roasting machine viewed from the front. That has been then repeated in numerous variations.
Great selection for this month, for each of the coffee being featured please could you share some detail.
These are 3 lots that we consider a classic in the sense that each is a great example of the character of the coffee that comes from that producing country.
Kenya Kemangau AB - A juicy profile with berry notes. This origin was picked specially for this partnership and is exclusively showcased with you, so we hope you will enjoy it.
This is the result of a new established Kenyan coffee estate that has a tree population up to 4000 coffee trees, owned by Kahawa Bora, a producer with good agricultural practices.
At the processing factory, cherry sorting is done to remove the overripe and any other foreign material. Pulping is then carried out using a single-disc pulper which is run by a petrol engine. Fermentation is done in concrete fermentation tanks for a period of 12-14 hours. Thorough washing is then done using rain water being supplemented by clean river water. Drying of clean washed parchment is done on raised beds, care is taken especially during skin drying to avoid cracking of parchment which may lower the quality and is left to be dried on raised beds over around 10 days depending on the weather.
Ethiopia Beshasha - The peach, jasmine and Black tea profile you expect from a washed Ethiopian.
One of our best sellers, a versatile profile that is constantly surprising us depending on the extraction method for both espresso and brews.
Mustefa Abba Keno is a smallholder with 18 hectares farm and he grows at altitudes over 2100 masl varietietals from Jimma Research Center from Western Ethiopia. Because of the subtle differences in location and microclimate, Beshasha Wet will now almost exclusively process washed lots. Due to the lack of water in the area and limited space to ferment the coffee, Mustefa ferments the pulped coffee for a short period (8 hours) before he moves it to his drying beds (for 13-16 days), and the result is something like a light honey. He only started exporting his coffee in 2018 in order to sell coffee directly to buyers and at Beshasha is processing his own and other coffees. In 2020 he developed a small field lab where he is keeping under close observation the microlots. He is currently training farmers in good agricultural practices (GAP) in order to improve the quality and productivity of their coffee gardens.
Colombia Cristina Isabelle Pillume - Chocolaty and fruity notes of white grapes and Golden delicious apples
This is our newest addition to our coffee collection. Isabel Pillume is part of Asorcafe which was founded on July 11, 2003 in the town of Pedegral in Inza and currently there are 290 members who are part of the association. The association was set up to help the producers become organized to sell their coffees as specialty but also provide a framework and structure to further their education and progression to improve the economic and social conditions for themselves, their families and their community. These small producers work on plots of land between 1.8-2 ha in size and farm coffee up to altitudes of 2100 masl. Traditionally the coffee is fully washed and once harvested the coffee is then pulped and fermented for between 20-40 hours depending on the local environment. After this the coffee is washed and any immatures removed and then it is dried for between 8-15 days weather depending in parabolic driers.
Any closing remark you would like to make to our subscribers…a message of hope, joy, humor…or even how you want them to remember Sloane Coffee?
My message to your subscribers is to try and treat each moment they find themselves in front of a cup of coffee as if it is a peaceful Sunday morning: share a conversation or a phone call with someone dear, ask whoever is near you how are they feeling and how is their day going, look out the window at the beauty of life, think of the many things you are grateful for or just sit in silence. And if this magic moment happens over a cup of coffee from Sloane, we are happy to be part of your little moment of magic, if not, for sure someone else worked just as hard to offer you that coffee.