Koinonia Coffee Roasters, Khar | All The Deets
Koinonia Coffee Roasters (pronounced coy-noh-nyah) is a fresh off the boat coffee company in Khar. The three partners behind it are Sid, Clement, and Shannon, who aim to show off Indian coffee to the suburban neighbourhood, and eventually the world.
True to its Greek translation of ‘community’, Koinonia builds relationships with Indian farmers, pays them a fair price and then brings us great tasting coffee. The unique coffee beans are roasted into artisanal flavour profiles. Koinonia also supplies equipment, coffee beans or powder, and fresh ideas to uplift our coffee game.
I chat with Sid and Clement over a pour over (my first, and definitely not my last) in the bright, cozy space that Koinonia now calls home.
What are you trying to achieve with this café space?
Clement: We want to be more than just a coffee company, we want to let people come in and experience the whole process from roasting to grinding to brewing. Coffee doesn’t have to be that bitter, acidic concoction we’ve grown up believing it is. Coffee can be fruity, nutty, sweet, and even chocolatey.
Sid: I used to drink coffee every day but it was more for the caffeine kick than anything else. This whole experience of meeting farmers around the country has been eye opening. We want to educate Indians about how great our homegrown coffee is and how they can start brewing at home easily and inexpensively.
Where do you see the coffee culture in India going?
Sid: People sometimes think of India as a tea drinking nation, but before the British arrived, Indians were very much a nation of coffee drinkers. Almost 80% of India’s coffee is exported which is a shame because it means we’re left with mass-produced coffee that isn’t half as good as what we grow. I do see people becoming more accustomed with speciality coffees, and I hope more people follow what we’re doing so we can create a healthy ecosystem for this product.
Tell us a little bit about how coffee grows in India.
Sid: India’s speciality is actually shade grown coffee, which is quite uncommon. Most Indian coffee is Arabica coffee, which is considered superior. We only work with 100% Arabica coffee, along with a little bit of Robusta that we’ve started to see recently.
Most of the coffee grows in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala. Coffee is also great because to grow it you don’t have to flatten acres of land or transform the area. That’s why most coffee farms don’t even feel like farms.
What is Koinonia doing that is different?
Clement: Connecting the consumer to the farmer directly is something we crave. Our tagline is Craft, Coffee, Culture and we want to build this community with a feeling of togetherness. Whether it is training baristas to brew excellent coffee, or helping consumers brew the best coffee possible at home or helping partners create delicious products with our coffee (BONO Boutique Ice Cream by Alyssa Chesson recently developed a Caffe Crema ice cream flavour using Koinonia beans); we want to be more than just a café or roaster.
That team Koinonia are not only incredibly passionate, but also rather well informed without being intimidating is refreshing. Sid makes coffee roasting sound like an art, while Clement has been training baristas to brew coffee in precise, scientific ways.
Though the space is compact, they let their equipment take center stage. Sid & Clement are certified by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe and often travel around the country in search of interesting beans.
Koinonia currently offers four kinds of coffee, each with a distinct flavour profile – while Kelagur is from Manjarabad near Mysore, Poabs is a completely organic blend from Nelliyampathy. Marvalluha is a pleasantly decadent, dark chocolatey coffee from the Nilgiris. Badra, from beans grown in Chikmagalur completes the list.
Visit Koinonia to broaden your coffee horizons by attending a brewing class, to pick up your own coffee equipment, or to just enjoy a range of coffee beans and brews.
Koinonia Coffee Roasters is open from 10:30 AM to 7:30 PM at 66, Chuim Village, Off Dr. BR Ambedkar Road, Khar. The outlet is closed on Tuesdays.