The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Own Coffee Roastery Cafe – David Rosa

In this world there are gentlemen who work the 9 -5 job, then there are the fighters who run their own business and go through hell and back to make it work.

Starting a business is a difficult task and we know this because at Dappertude, we have met many small business owners, especially in the fashion industry but recently we stumbled upon a book written by David Rosa, called “The Artisan Roaster, The complete guide to setting up your own coffee roastery cafe“, if you are interested in opening a coffee cafe anytime soon, this guide will be your bible.

For the book, Rosa has applied his nearly two decades of experience at the helm of the Sydney-based roasting operation Bay Coffee, which he eventually sold in 2016 after exponentially growing the wholesale side of the business over eight years.

The book is being pitched as a comprehensive guide to aspiring and current coffee roasters, with loads of practical advice along with anecdotes and personal commentary in three key areas: starting a roastery; the roasting of coffee; and running a coffee business.

But who is David Rosa you may ask, he is an award-winning Australian coffee roaster with a twenty-year career in running a successful coffee roastery and brand. David’s previous experience in consumer marketing and advertising proved invaluable in setting up his coffee roastery café. He currently runs coffee roasting and industry-related courses and provides private consultancy services.

We were lucky enough to do a quick interview with David on his tips and tricks in the coffee industry

Do you have a favourite type of coffee and why? 

As a single-origin espresso, I’ve always loved Sumatran coffees. Great dark chocolate overtones and body.

What actually makes a good coffee, is it the beans, the person, the machine or a mix of all three?

All three (at least). You have the green beans already discussed, the roaster, and the barista (who should manage the machine and the quality of the final cup). The barista is the most likely to f&*k it up, to be honest!

If you could go back in time, what would have you done differently and why?

Not a great deal. I probably would have gone into it alone and not initially had a business partner for the first ten years.

What makes for a particularly good vintage?

In the coffee world, we’d call it a good crop rather than vintage. A single-origin coffee with a quality score of 80+ is considered Specialty Coffee. Of course, a lot of what you drink in espresso bars are blends (like wine) of different origins blended to reach a certain quality and price point. A good coffee crop is primarily driven by climatic conditions (climate change is impacting coffee crops worldwide), soil quality, plant disease control and well-managed coffee trees. Then, of course, you have the farm’s processing and quality standards, storage, and shipment – there are so many factors that can impact a crop. This is very brief information – you could write an entire book on this single question. Now there’s an idea… 

What does a typical day in life look like for you at the moment?

Signing and sending out books all around the world! Doing a bit of consulting work, and playing a lot of guitars.

What type of coffee do you think Australian men are underappreciating and should appreciate more of?

Real men drink espressos. Nah, just kidding! I think you should just be adventurous. Try different single-origin coffees and different brewing methods. The world of coffee has become a very interesting place, especially on the brewing side of things.

What drove you to keep going when it was really tough?

The family home was mortgaged against the business – that’s one serious motivator. It was tough in the early days as we didn’t have the money to spend on press and we were working things out as we went along. We had to grow organically and by stealth. But it all turned out really well in the end.

Which cafes in Sydney, would you recommend for gentlemen who are just starting to appreciate coffee and why?

The standard of espresso coffee has improved so much in recent times (particularly in Sydney and Melbourne) and I really don’t want to single any cafes out in case I offend industry friends out there for not mentioning them. Many of my favourites are however featured in my book The Artisan Roaster – check them out there 😉

Sydney’s first dedicated coffee cocktail masterclass – Tia Maria

Sydney’s first dedicated coffee cocktail masterclass – Tia Maria


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