Name of business owner: Nicky and Murtaza Moulvi
Name of competing roaster: Efril Prince Caminero
Our sincere condolences to the whole Cafe Rider team on the loss of their founder and leader, Murtaza Moulvi. Our thoughts are with you.
When did your roastery start? And, as the owner, why a coffee roastery?
We started roasting our own coffee in 2016. Before this, we mostly imported roasted specialty coffee from various places in the world. At the time, there was just a handful of specialty coffee roasters in the UAE. We started off roasting for our own consumption, but as more and more people asked about our coffee, we started retailing in our café and now have a great network of wholesale accounts. Just a couple of months ago we opened an expansion of our roasting space with an additional larger roasting machine!
How did you learn to roast coffee? and what drew you to roasting?
Before I became an assistant Roaster, I tried a lot of different paths. I started working at Cafe Rider as a server, and I didn’t expect that I would become a roaster. The person who encouraged and influenced me is my Head Roaster, Gideon, who is a real coffee enthusiast. He always shares his passion and knowledge about coffee roasting and coffee in general. That’s why I joined the roastery team as an assistant roaster four years ago.
When I found out about the position of assistant roaster, I applied and grabbed the opportunity. I went on trial shifts in the roastery and was selected for the job! I’m so grateful that they gave me the opportunity to follow my passion and until now I haven’t stopped learning new things in coffee roasting.
What do you love most about the coffee roasting industry?
What I love the most about coffee roasting industry is meeting new people who talk about all coffee matters, especially coffee suppliers, the coffee farmers and other roasters. And secondly I love how you can express your skills in coffee roasting when you create the profile. Profiling is so enjoyable and challenging because you don’t know yet what is the outcome of the roast, especially with a different approach. But then when you taste the coffee during cupping or QC, the result gives great satisfaction and you can say we achieved the coffee profile we want.
In your opinion, roasting is more on science or more art?
For me it is a combination of science and art that you apply together. Art is your passion and science is how you apply the combination of elements of roasting like fire, gas and air.
Was there a particular cup of coffee that changed the way you think about coffee
Back in 2022 it was the first World of coffee in Dubai. I was given a chance to taste the anaerobic type of coffee for the first time, and it was a Cup of Excellence coffee. I was amazed to learn about how they create that kind of coffee flavour. Since then I learnt coffee is full of surprises that makes you change and think about every single slurp you had.
What is your focus as a roastery? Wholesale to cafes? Do you roast just for your own cafe? Sell online?
When we built the roastery, we were just roasting for our own bar consumption and selling on our retail shelves, as well as online. As time passed by, coffee shops have sprouted around the UAE and they’ve asked us if we can supply them our coffee. And that’s how we got into wholesale and how we’ve grown as a roastery.
May you please tell us a bit about your team? Who makes the wheels turn in your operation?
Our team comprises of five people. Our head roaster and green bean buyer, Gideon – he ensures that we unlock the full potential of each coffee that we procure. Myself and my co assistant roaster Maurice, we are mostly assigned in production, making sure that we produce a consistent roast for each batch of coffee. Our wholesale account manager, Ruthie – she handles all of our wholesale accounts, building and retaining relations for our clients and helps us in product development. And Tony – he just joined us a few months back as our sales executive. All of us take part in quality control standards, including our bar team.
With all the different processing methods now available to roasters, is there a processing method that you enjoy working with? And why?
I love working with natural processed coffees, they are my favourite! Naturals are very delicate and you need to know how much heat you need to apply to them to unlock their full potential, especially at the end of the roast. Either you break it or your produce a great tasting natural coffee with all of its flavour intact. And that is beauty when done right.
How have you seen coffee culture in your region grow over the last few years?
People love coffee in this part of the world. Seeing them transition from commercial to Specialty coffee is what really amazed me. Before there are only few specialty coffee shops (and roasters!) around in this market but in span of a couple of years, it grew exponentially! You will see coffee shops on every corner!
Where are you located and can people come visit you?
Cafe Rider is located in Al Quoz Industrial Area 3, Dubai. We are nestled in a warehouse that combines a motorcycle garage that customizes bikes, a specialty coffee bar, a small kitchen that serves great tasting meals, a huge seating space for our customers to relax, unwind, or do some work away from their offices, and of course, our roasting facility, where the magic happens!
What makes your roastery stand out in a booming industry?
We value transparency, consistency and customer care. We live by these pillars and they keep us going on a daily basis. They resonate our passion in what we do, and I think that’s what makes us who we are and that makes us stand out.