Crafting Perfection: Pariah Coffee’s Expedition into In-House Roasting with S7Pro Smart Roasters and RoasTronix

The journey of a cup of coffee from bean to brew is an intricate process marked by the pursuit of quality, flavor, and individuality. In a world where mass-produced coffee loses its essence, true connoisseurs seek a unique experience. Enter Sai Yerragudi, the passionate owner of Pariah Coffee, who is relentlessly pursuing the true flavors of coffee, one roast at a time.

Speaking with Sai, we at RoasTronix discussed his journey into coffee roasting and the Stronghold Coffee Roaster Machine. Sai’s passion for sourcing and finding unique coffee characters was evident.

During our conversation, Sai shared his renewed enthusiasm for coffee. He discussed the benefits of coffee roasting in-house, his choice of the Stronghold Coffee Roasters, and his prediction for a decentralized future in the coffee industry.

But this story is more than just about a machine; it’s about a movement in coffee culture, and Sai is one of its pioneers. His unwavering dedication and enthusiasm for coffee offer a glimpse into the evolving landscape of specialty coffee, inspiring hesitant coffee shops to leap into coffee roasting.

So, what drives Sai? What makes Stronghold Coffee Roasters stand out, and how is it shaping the future of coffee roasting? Join us as we uncover the answers and delve into a world where every small coffee shop has its unique character, thanks to the innovation and control offered by modern roasting technology.

What was your experience before this machine?

I had zero experience roasting. I was so scared of roasting.

How complicated was getting used to S7Pro, and why did you start roasting?

It was so simple. Before getting the machine, we had to rely on a third party to supply us with beans. We were never sure about what we were getting. We didn’t know how fresh the green beans were or if they gave us a natural process or a washed coffee. I have a drum of green beans in the shop and can roast them when needed. I never have to worry about placing an order for beans or if my supplier forgot to ship my order.

There was so much inconsistency in what we were getting, but we were stuck because we were scared. If I had known that this machine would make it so easy to work with, I would have gotten it two, three years before.

What made this Stronghold Roaster great is that it fits in such a small space. We don’t have access to gas for a traditional roaster. With the Stronghold, we didn’t even need to run additional electrical wiring. All we had to do was run a vent. The roaster takes as much energy as our espresso machine does. It was so easy to install.

What was your method for learning to roast?

I gained knowledge from reading books on roasting, watching educational YouTube videos, and engaging in conversations with experienced roasters. However, the majority of my learning came from hands-on experimentation with the beans. I treated it like a scientific experiment, manipulating and monitoring the process to observe tangible outcomes. The process proved to be consistent and manageable, providing a sense of ease and control. I firmly believe that anyone is capable of mastering the art of roasting. Contrary to popular belief, it is not an overly complicated endeavor. Success lies more in paying meticulous attention to detail and understanding personal preferences rather than needing extensive scientific expertise.

I also roast high-end specialty pour-over coffee on it too. Sometimes we have an $80 per pound batch of coffee roasting, and you know what? I haven’t messed up a single time. I play with the variables, and it tastes different each time. But that’s the fun part of it.

Just take the risk. Don’t be afraid of it. My biggest regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. If I had done it two years earlier, I would have gone further in specialty coffee, learned much more, and been far ahead.

What are the top three benefits of purchasing a Stronghold Coffee Roaster for someone new to roasting who owns a coffee shop?

First, it’s about your taste. If you are good at tasting coffee, why do you want to rely on somebody else to meet that taste? You can control it yourself. You could take any bean and then roast it to the taste and profile you want, and there are no limits. You can get coffee from any market anywhere. It opens up a completely new world. It makes you more excited about coffee. Roasting coffee brought back the excitement of coffee for me. That’s number one.

Second, it costs less. Why pay a middleman, and how do you know what you order is what you’re receiving? How long has your coffee been sitting there? How long have the green beans been in storage before roasting? All these important factors affect your coffee. Before roasting in-house, I could see the inconsistency in my coffee when dialing in shots. It also saves us time. I don’t have to adjust the espresso machine as much, and I don’t ever have to change my grinder settings. Also, the convenience it offers is a mental relief. Having beans ready for the week eliminates the stress of missing a delivery or driving to get beans in a crunch.

The third thing is just the coolness and wow factor. Once you start roasting, you become much more knowledgeable about coffee than ever before, and you’ll have a lot more control from sourcing to what comes out of your machines. When a customer asks about your coffee, your knowledge will give you the confidence to answer authentically and with integrity. That’s the coolest thing. Customers who know you care about your product feel part of a small niche coffee community. Those are the top three.

You have thoroughly researched, studied, and examined all options. Despite this, why did you choose a Stronghold Roaster?

I needed something small for my shop. I didn’t want to go too big because it would be too costly and take up too much space. Other roasters required plumbing for gas, which was much work. So that narrowed it down to electric roasters. I considered other coffee roasting machines but ultimately chose a Stronghold Coffee Roaster because of its advanced roasting and RoasTronix’s US-based support.

Furthermore, knowing that reputable coffee shops like BlendIn Coffee Club in Houston and Onyx Coffee Lab were using the Stronghold machine gave me confidence. Many specialty coffee shops were transitioning to this machine due to the level of control it offers. The price point is also affordable, making it a better choice than clunky, outdated alternatives. In-house roasting is the future of coffee shops. S7Pro is a new level of innovation and technology, consistently delivering high-quality results to me and other reputable coffee roasters.

I envision a decentralized future for coffee, where each shop is also a unique roast with its own character and profile, shaped by the community it serves. This creates a small coffee co-op where like-minded people are drawn to each establishment’s unique vibe.

If you open another coffee shop, will you get another machine?

Is this a trick question (said with a smile)? You already know I’m getting another one. I’m actually in the process of opening another coffee shop in Houston. The build-out is underway, and I’m purchasing a Stronghold S7X for our new location. It’s the latest version, rolling out in America. It comes with a bean temperature probe, a second probe closer to the bean, and the ability to control drum temperature.

I’m excited about the S7X because it will provide better charging capabilities by heating the drum, and the additional probe will give me more control over the roasting process. I can’t wait to see how I can utilize this machine to create even more exceptional coffee.

Sai, we sincerely thank you for taking the time to share your coffee roasting journey with us. Your insights are greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,

Arash Hassanian

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