Pete Cavani wants you to think about the coffee you’re drinking, although perhaps not too much.
From the precious seeds planted in the rainy season on the other side of the world to the resulting cherries harvested by hard-working plantation farmers, the complex drying and milling process, to the schlep of the beans hauled in hessian sacks across oceans.
Then there’s the roasting process at temperatures higher than 250C followed by the crucial grind which is, ideally, at the right granularity depending on how the rich powder is brewed.
“When I’m teaching people, I tell them to respect the coffee,” says Cavani. “Think about what it took to get that coffee to your cup. That final moment can be where it all goes wrong…”
When he puts it like that, making a cup of coffee seems like there’s a hell of a lot at stake. But for Cavani, owner of Kata Coffee Roasters, the journey from plantation seed to espresso (or flat white or latte) is exciting.
He is one of a growing coterie of independent coffee roasters, small businesses focusing on flavoursome, artisan brews delivered through your letterbox. But he doesn’t want people to get too hung up on what sort of V60 ceramic dripper to use, or to weigh the amount of coffee to the gram. At least not every single time.
“Our ethos is speciality coffee, made simple,” adds Cavani. “Maybe you can weigh your coffee the first time. Perhaps that egg cup can hold the ideal amount of coffee for you, so you don’t have to faff around weighing it each time.
“You’ll work out what works best for you quite quickly. Perhaps it’s a cafetiere, perhaps it’s a V60, maybe it’s an espresso maker. You don’t need to make coffee this huge, complicated thing.”
Mail order coffee from Kata starts at £7 for 250g – not far off the price of what supermarkets charge, and with the added convenience of having the bag arrive at your door. In the last two years, online coffee orders have doubled, in no small part due to the pandemic and sudden closure of cafes nationwide.
That’s when Cavani decided to create Kata. Yet it was a few years before, when working in management for a cafe chain, that he decided to swap one form of daily grind for a more appealing one.
“I was going mental with it,” he says. “I had the Audi, was working 9 to 5, had weekends off – all those things which were nice after working long hours in hospitality. But it wasn’t for me. I got to the stage where I’d have simple tasks and take three hours to do them.
“I quit and became a barista again and was also a kitchen porter and a Deliveroo guy. I had three jobs and I’d never been happier. It was simple.”
During the pandemic Cavani realised his true passion was travel. He and his wife have bought a camper van to drive around Europe periodically. He isn’t living to run Kata Coffee Roasters. The burgeoning business, he hopes, will exist to support their continental tours.
It has grown in a little over 18 months to fund that camper van, while the business still functions in his absence.
Cavani, whose family has run cafes for more than a century, thinks mail order is the way forward but admits he can pine for that face-to-face experience.
“I would like to have a Kata cafe one day. I miss all that,” he adds. “What do you think about when you go on holiday? For me, it’s when you go to a restaurant or cafe and have a memorable experience.
“I want to be the guy who is about to shut at 10.59pm but then you turn up and keeps the place open. I suppose I still have a romantic notion of it.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe