Here’s a conversation which happens at Catalyst Coffee quite often.
Customer: Hello, can I try one of your filters that is less bitter?
Us: Sure thing, that gives you with all of our filter offering options because our filters aren’t bitter as they’re light roasted.
Customer: Oh, that’s great. So where do you source your beans and why did you choose them?
Catalyst Coffee brings in international roaster's coffee on the filter bar and retail. One of the many joys about running this business is we’ve managed to convert some customers who are used to drinking trim milk into organic whole milk and mocha drinkers into filter lovers. The more filter lovers we encounter, the more we get asked the same question, so we thought it’s a good opportunity to write about how we decide on who we work with.
No matter if it’s an espresso or a filter, when we brew, the beverage needs to be flavourful with some fruit notes and also sweet and clean. Luckily, both of us have similar palates in coffee and it wasn’t difficult to build up Catalyst’s flavour style. There are many different ideas and thoughts behind roasting specialty coffee, but to fall into our style, it needs to be roasted reasonably light which is the first condition on choosing the roasters we wish to work with.
We also care about where our products come from and how they have been handled. We aim to bring out the coffee’s full potential but if the potential is low at the time it reaches us, there aren’t much we can do to make it taste better. From the farmers to the roasters to the baristas. Each step takes out some potential of the original flavour depending on how carefully the process has been taken, so every process requires experience and knowledge. There is no reversing once the potential has been taken, that’s how it will be passed onto the next person in the chain. All we can do is to try and take out less.
Now you must understand why we care about the information all the way back to the farm. This information helps us to decide on the purchase. It means every time when we purchase different coffees, we need same depth of information. This is a lot of work for the farmers and roasters, but being transparent in the information and consistently providing us with details helps with sustainability in business.
One thing we’d like you to remember is that we take relationships seriously. We choose who we work with very carefully because we like working with like-minded professionals that are quality driven. Once we team up, we wish to think of them as part of our family, because we respect and admire their dedication towards pushing their own boundaries for even higher stand in coffee.
Then comes the reality. The boring part. Yes, the shipping cost. Countries like America and Canada can be very expensive and slow. Particularly, slow doesn’t work for delivering coffees. Every time we consider international shipping, it reminds us how geographically isolated and small New Zealand is that makes everything harder and expensive when bring in coffees from overseas. We must say there were a few roasters we wanted to work with but had to give up because of this reason.
After going through all these conditions, we are honoured to be able to work with the following international roasters.
Market Lane Coffee (Melbourne, Australia)
Tim Wendelboe (Oslo, Norway)
Onibus Coffee (Tokyo, Japan)
The Barn Coffee Roasters (Berlin, Germany)
We feature each roasters for a month and put them on rotation. There will be two coffees of the same roaster available both on the brew bar and on retail. Subscriptions are also available from our website.