Roaster Interview - Meet Bongo Java Roasting Co.

We sat down with Chris Durai at Bongo Java to learn a bit more about this top notch roaster out of Nashville. CK: Describe your roasting style in three words. BJRC: Quality. Integrity. Consistency. CK: What makes your approach to coffee unique? CJRC: Bongo Java’s approach to coffee has been to expand the way we look at quality. A quality coffee for us not only includes the quality of the actual beans and how it is served by our highly skilled baristas, but also how the beans were produced and purchased. We buy only certified organic beans from small scale-farming cooperatives. We pay above Fair Trade prices for those beans which means that more money makes it’s way back to the growing communities. And we participate in a Fair Trade tracking system that allows our customers to see the entire process in action.

CK: What kind of roaster do you use?

BJRC: 1956 Probat CK: What advice would you give someone who wants to start a roasting facility? BJRC: Do your research. Don’t burn your beans. CK: Where do you source your coffee from? The majority of our beans come from Cooperative Coffees, a buying cooperative of which we are a founding member. CC is dedicated to purchasing only certified organic and fair trade beans from small-scale farming collectives. We work with growing cooperatives from all four major growing regions. Our most popular beans come from Peru, Ethiopia, Mexico and Indonesia. CK: What is your biggest pet peeve about the coffee industry today? I do not have a pet peeve about the coffee industry. It is great to see so many people excited about coffee. There is so much room for many different perspectives and approaches. Our approach is to go all organic and fair trade and build a strong alliance between the growers and the coffee drinkers. In a perfect world, I’d like to see more of that. CK: What do you think will be the next trend in the coffee industry? BJRC: My hope is that quality brewing becomes a trend outside of the specialty coffee industry. It would be great to see an upswing in quality home brewers like the Bonavita that can actually maintain a steady brewing temperature of 200 degrees F and give an even extraction of the coffee bed. Not everyone has the time or desire to do a pour over every morning, but mainstream home-coffee-makers cannot produce a quality cup of coffee. I think the trend will be in affordable, capable home brewing machines. CK: How and why did you get started in the coffee industry? Bongo Java got started in the coffee industry over twenty-one years ago. We wanted to help connect people to coffee and create a sense of community in our neighborhood. I guess I got started in the coffee industry for the same reason. Coffee tends to attract intelligent, creative and fun people. I’d like to think I am one of those. CK: What is your favorite type of coffee that Bongo Java offers? My personal favorite coffee that Bongo Java offers is the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It was the first coffee that I ever tasted that helped me realize that coffees are different from one another. I was used to coffee tasting a certain way, smoky, nutty and well, like coffee. I tasted the Yirgacheffe and it was a floral cup with a delicate sweet lemon acidity and a strong aroma of bergamot and jasmine flowers. What a trip. That’s when I really began to understand what specialty coffee is. SHOP THE BONGO JAVA SELECTION  

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