On the Grind

Roaster Collaboration #34 - Empire Coffee

Roaster Collaboration #34 - Empire Coffee

Empire Coffee Roasters are our feature this month. We asked them some questions so you can get to know your coffee better:

Tell us about how you started Empire:

Empire Coffee Roasters was founded as many businesses are: starting with a dream. Ten years ago, I studied at our local Tech across a variety of areas. On day two of one of the qualifications, we went on a trip to visit a local up and coming coffee roasting company. Within 2 minutes of stepping foot in there, 16-year-old me knew this was what I wanted to do, and the dream evolved (starting with me getting a job at the roastery).

Four years ago, Empire Coffee Roasters was founded in a small space inside a large furniture store. This was purely designed as a production space, allowing for me to continue to work full time whilst the business grew.

A year and a half later we signed the lease to our current site, 300m2 of suburban storefront, moving our roasting operation onsite and setting up our cafe.


Following your passion is so cool. What does the Empire brand stand for?

Empire if built on two core philosophies:

Firstly, that coffee is fluid. And when I say fluid, I don’t mean a liquid, but ever changing. The vast volume of knowledge now at our fingertips continues to grow, and it is important to continue to expand what you know and grow how you operate in the coffee game. Between new brew methods, advancing in technology, and growing access in NZ to a wide range of origins, it is important to continue to absorb as much of this knowledge as possible.

Secondly, as a business, we believe it is our responsibility to be as environmentally friendly as we can. This ranges from waste levels, to packaging used, to freight companies chosen. It isn’t for us about being able to put the “green spin” on our marketing, but an actual obligation to be able to perform.


What do you guys roast on?

Up until recently, we had worked off of a 5KG unbranded Turkish built roaster. This had been a fantastic entry point for the business, however had seen better days. Unfortunately, it decided it was time to retire. At this current point, we have a friend contract roasting for us on a 30KG Topper. They have been a fantastic support and have nailed our recipes and consistency. At this point, we are working hard to raise the needed capital to bring a new roaster into the Empire.


Tell us more about the coffee we’re sharing with our subscribers this month?!

We have selected our Kenya as it is a general all-rounder origin. It has proven well across many brew methods, from V60 to Plunger and even through home espresso. Coffee in Kenya is sold in quite a unique way, via auction at the Nairobi Coffee Exchange. Unfortunately, this means traceability to exact farm is extremely difficult, however the likelihood is it is from Aberdare Range. This is a fully washed and sun-dried bean, with medium to full body, grown between 1500-2100m above sea level.

Our Kenya is roasted medium, sporting flavours of dark cacao, blackberry, plum and cracked pepper.


Rad, we love all-rounders here. What’s your favourite brew method?

Our preferred brew method for this origin is through Aeropress, and a recipe will be provided as part of the tasting card.