ASITD ME 2023: John Micheal Sumaragao of Windmill Cafe & Roastery

Monday, 16 October, 2023

Name of business owner: Mohammed Alameemi 

Name of Competing Roaster: John Micheal Sumaragao 

When did your roastery start? And as the owner, why a coffee roastery? 

In the midst of the COVID-19, exactly in September 2020, our adventure began! Starting from the cozy corners of our home, we witnessed a surge in growth. As a coffee lover, I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting coffee beans from around the globe. What began as a simple idea of supplying premium beans escalated into the thrilling notion of opening a roastery. After diving into research and studies, the culmination of all these efforts resulted in the birth of Windmill Café & Roastery!

Question for Roaster: How did you learn to roast coffee? And what drew you to roasting as a professional? 

My coffee journey towards roasting started with a “What if.” A curiosity sparked in me while my teammates before were busy roasting and cupping the coffees that we had. I took a chance in asking to be of help whenever they need any. I volunteered on several occasions pre-production and post-production like: weighing the coffee, sorting the roasted ones, and etc. The interest in coffee roasting grew bigger each day that I’m involved in the whole process. From there, I personally asked the head roaster, which happens to be also my boss, to teach me the basics as I expressed my interest in this career path. Eventually, he willingly taught me each step of the way and that’s when I got here in this industry. 

What do you love most about the coffee roasting industry? 

What I love most about roasting coffee are the challenges that are faced all throughout the process as each coffee has their own unique characteristics and every opportunity to roast is also a great opportunity to learn and hone my craft. Challenges that mean I have to check and monitor the variables to achieve the correct profile fit for the certain coffee. In this way, I can somehow give justice not only to the coffee itself but the producers behind every crop. 

In your opinion, is roasting more science or more art? 

I can say that the process of coffee roasting can be seen as a combination of both science and art. Coffee roasting involves various scientific principles and factors that influence the outcome. The whole process requires an understanding of heat transfer, chemical reactions, and the physical changes that occur during the roasting process, while on the other hand, the roasting is also considered an art form as it involves subjective decisions and creativity. The end goal of this is to create a perfect balance of logical and creative influence through having the best possible roast with regards to the given coffee characteristics along with the technical monitoring of the variables, while also giving the roaster’s personal flair to it as a way to express art or branding. 

Was there a particular cup of coffee that change the way you think about coffee? 

There’s this Ethiopian coffee that inspired me and grew my love for the craft. I can always remember how I did my approach in roasting it, and cupping it then after. I didn’t know what to expect at first as I was still doubting my capabilities, but once we all tasted it, it knocked me over with happiness. A sense of fulfillment and confidence boost as it tasted great. 

What is your focus as a roastery? Wholesale to café? Do you roast just for your own café? Sell online? 

At Windmill Café & Roastery, we have a multifaceted approach. Our main focus lies in serving other businesses through wholesale partnerships, supplying cafes with our premium coffee beans. Simultaneously, we've embraced the digital realm, making our exceptional beans available online through our website. And of course, you can always find our unique coffee offerings in our physical shop for a delightful in-person experience. Our aim is to bring the goodness of our roastery to a diverse audience, whether they prefer a cozy café setting or the convenience of online ordering.

May you please tell us a bit about your team? Who makes the wheels turn in your operation?
The Windmill team operates like a close-knit family, with each member playing a vital role in keeping our wheels turning. Our collaborative spirit is what makes our operation successful, and we truly see each other as one big family. Without the dedication and hard work of our staff, we wouldn't be where we are today. At Windmill, we believe in growing together, and every team member contributes to the success and vibrant atmosphere of our operation. 

With all the different processing methods now available to roasters, is there a processing method that you enjoy working with? And why?
I personally love coffees that are naturally processed as I have found out that these coffees tend to be complex in flavor as you can play around on how you’ll prepare it such as through espresso or manual brewing. I can really tell that the natural characteristics shine through with this processing method which challenges me more to bring out the best in it. 

How have you seen coffee culture in your region grow over the last few years? 

Over the past few years, we've witnessed a remarkable evolution in the coffee culture of our region. There's been a noticeable surge in enthusiasm and appreciation for specialty coffee. People are not just looking for a quick caffeine fix; they're seeking unique flavors, diverse bean origins, and a richer coffee experience. This growing interest has not only impacted the demand in our café but has also inspired us to continuously elevate our offerings to meet the evolving tastes of our community. The coffee culture here is thriving, and it's exciting to be a part of this flavorful journey. 

Where are you located and can people come visit you? 

We are located in Altowayya in Al Ain City. Our coffee shop and Roastery are strategically placed in the heart of a residential area, easily accessible from the main road. Visitors are more than welcome to come and enjoy our delightful offerings in our beautiful sitting area. We look forward to welcoming coffee enthusiasts and creating a memorable experience for all who visit us. 

What makes your Roastery stand out in a blooming industry? 

What sets our Roastery apart in this thriving coffee industry is our unwavering commitment to excellence. We distinguish ourselves by consistently producing high-quality roasted beans, ensuring that every cup is a testament to our dedication to craftsmanship. Equally important is our emphasis on delivering exceptional customer service, fostering strong relationships with our clients. In a blooming industry, our focus on quality and customer satisfaction remains at the forefront of our success. 

Got something to say? Then leave a comment!