It’s not easy to overlook a tall, outspoken Swedish man who built his international reputation as a head roaster of Berlin’s Five Elephant. Patrik Rolf was already an active member of the speciality community living in Germany, but after moving to Copenhagen and opening his coffee roasting business called April Coffee, his productivity skyrocketed.
Patrik shares his insights and behind the scenes of running a coffee roasting business on Youtube. He interviews key influences of the speciality coffee industry in Coffee with April Podcast. Patrik even documented his journey of becoming the 2019 World Brewers Cup silver medalist in Boston. There he brewed the highest-scoring cup using a prototype of his April Brewer. The latest activity was turning a prototype to a consumer product and offer it to the speciality coffee community.
We talked to Patrik just before the official launch of the Kickstarter campaign to the April Brewer. We wanted to understand better his motivation to develop a new product for coffee brewers around the world.
Patrik, what frustration did lead you to develop your coffee brewer? Don’t we have enough of them already?
It wasn't frustration. It was curiosity. Since a few years back I have been working under the assumption that how coffee should be brewed is dictated by how it's roasted. I am not just talking about the time after roast. Factors like colour, weightloss, density, roast time have a big impact.
Creating a brewer was a way to explore how I can brew modern light roasted coffee better. I think it's important to take into consideration that most of the brewers we are using today in our part of the industry were created many years ago and mainly from Asian countries, that historically has another roasting culture than over in Europe. It's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I am personally enjoying to use for example both V60 and Kalita. But I also realise that those brewers were created during a time when this industry roasted coffee very differently from today.
Creating a brewer was about chasing a better cup of coffee and competing in the Brewers Cup was a great platform that motivated me to push forward with the development of the brewer. I am a coffee roaster first but I believe strongly that you need to be able to connect all the variables, Green Coffee, Roasting & Brewing in order to make tasty coffee.
It’s the third generation of April Brewer – what did you improve on every stage of development?
It's been a lot of changes, three “official” versions, and many more that's didn't see the light of day. The main focus has been the base of the brewer, alternating the flow rate by manipulating how the air circulates.
I also tried different materials, thickness and colours in order to enhance specific attributes in the brewed coffee. It's been a mix of both official sensory research and a lot of trial and errors.
What was the biggest surprise or challenge when you work with Serax on turning the prototype to the final design?
There hasn't been many actually. They are very professional and it was a great fit from the start. I have learned a lot about different clay's and colour adaptations and they have helped me to turn a hand-made prototype into a professional version where all the three pieces fit together. Collaborating with them has been a great choice, they have helped me make it better.
Where and how will you manufacture the April Brewer?
The production will be sorted by one of Serax Facilities. It's important for me that it's handled by professionals to ensure consistency and that the fine people that support us by purchasing a brewer gets the best version of the product. We have a few different ideas on location but it depends on how many orders we are able to get, it comes down to production volume.
Why did you decide to use Kickstarter to sell the April Brewer and when we can expect it available on the market?
We are using Kickstarter for the launch. Producing a product that isn't based on roasted coffee is new for us, which brings a lot of uncertainties. That's why we are doing a soft launch via Kickstarter to make sure we have enough interest for a first production. Initially, we have planned a limited run but if there is a big interest we would be happy to do more. The early adopters at Kickstarter will get a really great offer since they are kind enough to help us out from the start.
Thank you for the interview Patrik and good luck with the launch of April Brewer on Kickstarter.
Note: At the time of publishing of this article, the campaign is already over 250% funded.