March 14, 2016
Stéphane Cataldi, a self-proclaimed “dinosaur” of the
specialty coffee world, offers a unique perspective on starting your own
roastery: a product of two traditional coffee cultures (an Italian who grew up
in France) at a time when google didn’t exist, Stéphane built his
ground-breaking French roastery in his garage.
Using his background in telecommunications, Stéphane’s
early internet business has grown considerably: as he walks us through his
experience, he offers words of wisdom on opening a business the thoughtful way
and maintaining your principles as your business evolves, including what might
be our favourite gem, “the market doesn’t know what it wants.”
The story of Caffè Cataldi is one that we can all
learn from and could use to reflect upon: Stéphane’s slow start and growth
belies the barriers he’s worked diligently to break and shows us, really, the
comparative ease of starting in coffee today.
Stephane Cataldi, the roaster behind Caffe Cataldi in
Brittany, was born in Alsace to Italian parents 40 years ago—coffee has always
been a part of his life, but he really fell in love with it in 2000 and went on
to start his own roastery (Caffe Cataldi) in 2009 after 11 years spent in the
telco world, making the internet a reality in France.
Cataldi, who started roasting with a Probatino and has
since moved up to a Giesen W6, was the first French roaster to put the roasting
date on the bag and sell COE in France. He was awarded the “Meilleur
Torréfacteur de France” in 2010 and his coffees have since gone on participate,
and win, several competitions in France and abroad (1st French Brewer’s
Cup 2012; 2nd/3rd French Brewer’s Cup 2012, 2014; 1st Irish Brewer’s Cup
2015; 3rd French Barista Championship 2014).
Every business choice Stephane makes has been and still
is driven by quality: since day one, he has only sold specialty coffee and
continues to build direct trade relationships with farmers in order to better
understand the challenges faced at origin. In 2015, joined by three friends,
Stephane opened a roaster/shop in Paris, Hexagone Café.