I started roasting towards the fag end of 2017. At this point I was buying coffee from a couple of specialty roasters but a trip to Munnar and a packet of green beans changed my buying habits forever.
My first ever roast was on a wok and was half baked and half burnt. But just seeing all changes the coffee went through and smelling all the different aromas made me want to do this again and again!
I bought my first bag of coffee from Yercaud, in 2018. The owners of the estate were kind enough to show me around the place (I had driven down to pick up the bag of coffee) and seeing all the greenery and the jungle like canopy (comprised mostly of native trees) of a coffee estate for the first time was quite the experience. This when the idea of starting kāpi kottai (literally coffee seeds in tamil) germinated. I wanted more people from my city of Chennai to know where exaclty their coffee comes from and how that matters both for the environment and for their cup of piping hot kāpi.
By this point, I had moved to roasting in a modified OTG as the wok was being inconsistent. I knew this wasn’t going to be too scalable but I could manage decent roasts out of the little thing and I could also price my coffee agressively without haggling with the growers. Throughout this journey so far , I have had two tenets. I will not haggle with growers who meet my checklist of quality and environmental standards; and I will not sell any bag of roasted coffee that I’m not proud of. Considering that we have finally bought a proper roaster and are sitting on more green coffee than ever before; I’d say these principles work!