In English

"You don't need coffee to survive" – At This New Roastery Coffee Is Seen As a Luxury, Not a Commodity

Roos Hekkens
Anni Savolainen

From the green bean to the black beverage, Kyle Papai and Samuli Pääkkönen roast coffee in a transparent and honest way at the Kakola Hill.

1. What was your motivation to start Frukt Coffee Roasters?

Samuli (S): Most coffees people know are blends of different origins for the sake of consistency. By producing quantity over quality you can reach a lot of people. But for us it makes no sense to drink a lot of coffee. You don’t need coffee to survive. Instead, coffee producers need better fees for their product to survive. That is a fact and we can do our part to pay more for quality.

2. How did the two of you team up to start Frukt?

S: We met at Turun Kahvipaahtimo (Turku Coffee Roastery) in the beginning of 2015. I had just started there and had gotten into coffee the year before.

Kyle (K): I had a work practice there for two months. We got to learn a lot in a short time. After the practice I still helped out a couple of times for example at Helsinki Coffee Festival and I started roasting myself with a home roaster.

S: When we had the chance to get a place on the Kakola Hill, I asked Kyle if he wanted to start a roaster with me in Turku.

3. What influences the quality of a coffee bean?

K: There are many variables in the process of getting a nice cup of speciality coffee. But cultivar and location are the first important things we are interested in when we buy green coffee (ie. unroasted coffee).

S: The cultivar means the cultivated coffee plant that has its certain qualities. Then the location where the coffee is farmed determines a lot about the tastes. For example Kenyan coffees often are more acidic than Brazilian coffees that have more chocolate and nut flavours. Where the coffee is cultivated includes variables such as altitude, soil and the weather.

S: It’s important whether the coffee is picked by hand or with machinery. The processing of the coffee after picking, for example washing and drying, have an effect too. All these different stages add up to the quality of the coffee. If you try to cut corners you will taste it in the cup.

4. What does it require to start a roastery in Turku?

K: Just before Samuli asked me to start Frukt I had bought the roaster we are using here now. Then it was a matter of getting good space on a good location in the city with a lot of businesses and people around.

S: Indeed, and we both have different kind of skill sets that are useful. Kyle has a lot of experience working at cafes, he is good with technical stuff and taught himself with the home roasting. I have the overall knowledge of the production and running a roastery besides the actual roasting.

5. What is a speciality coffee?

S: When we talk about coffee we refer to both commodity coffee, which is about 95% of the coffee market in the world, and speciality coffee, which is the remaining 5%. This division is made with a scoring system that ranges from 0–100. These points relate to all the variables and different stages the coffee bean goes through. The more points the coffee has, the better tasting it is. From 80 points up the tastes just get better and that is why the coffee is considered speciality coffee.

6. What is commodity coffee?

S: Everything under 80 points is commodity coffee because it has some elements in the processing and in the production of the green coffee that makes the taste less interesting.

K: Commodity means cheaper coffee, cheaper prices paid and big production volumes. It can be done in industrial scale coffee farming and it is not often hand-picked or carefully processed. It’s quantity over quality. In speciality coffee there is more concern for the whole process from farming to the actual cup of coffee.

7. How do you get your supplies for the roastery?

S: We buy the coffee from Norwegian Collaborative Coffee Source, who has scored the coffees and bought them from an exporter in the producing countries. All these coffees are scored over 84 points so they are quite high up on the quality scale.

8. What is the main difference between coffee from a local roastery and a national brand?

K: National brands have the capacity to produce high volumes of coffee.

S: Of course we have to buy small quantities, but on the other hand we can buy higher quality. We can work with the speciality coffees at Frukt, which leads to more interesting tasting cups of coffee. This puts us in a different position in the market all together.

9. How can you make the best possible coffee at home for a student price?

K: You don’t need big machines, but you do need coffee beans that are in season, freshly roasted and freshly ground.

S: So the best thing you can probably do is to get a simple Wilfa grinder or a hand grinder at home.

10. How do you image the future on the Kakola Hill?

S: The future looks bright! The whole building project on the hill is something that hasn’t been done before and it will be exciting to see it develop.

K: It looks like it will become a community with likeminded people and businesses that care for quality as much as we do!


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