Chandini SRK's journey in crafting coffee culture

Perfectly roasting coffee beans is an art, and Chandini SRK, Founder of First Crack Specialty Roasters, embodies this passion.
Perfectly roasting coffee beans is an art
Perfectly roasting coffee beans is an artPhoto| Express

HYDERABAD: Coffee is always a refreshment that we relish. Perfectly roasting coffee beans is an art, and Chandini SRK, Founder of First Crack Specialty Roasters, embodies this passion. She began roasting coffee driven by a desire to create something unique. Recently, she hosted a session named “Crafting Coffee Culture” by First Crack Specialty Roasters at The Quorum Hyderabad. This session focused on coffee tasting and cupping, providing a hands-on coffee experience for everyone present. CE spoke with Chandini to learn more about her passion for coffee.

Talking about her journey into roasting coffee beans, Chandini explains, “I am a roaster myself. I got into this field during the pandemic when everyone was picking up new hobbies. I got a 1 kg sample roasting machine and turned my terrace into a roastery. That’s how it all started. Over time, it became a passion. I even earned a roasting certification in Italy. Later, I began sourcing beans from coffee producers like those in Chikmagalur. This hobby turned into a passion, and my love for roasting led me to meet some of the pioneers in the coffee industry.”

Regarding the Crafting Coffee Culture session, she says, “I’ve been roasting for a couple of years, but I started my independent roastery in Miyapur about six months ago. We’ve launched our brand, and this event wasn’t just about launching it. The intention was to create an opportunity for the coffee community to experience amazing and exclusive coffees and learn about home-based brewing. Attendees had the chance to cup various coffees. Ashok Patre, a pioneer in coffee growing known for exceptional coffee lots worldwide, being part of this event made perfect sense.”

Chandini observes the evolution of coffee culture in Hyderabad, noting, “The coffee community is growing. While places like Bengaluru have already established their specialty markets, Hyderabad is doing well. We offer specialty coffees, and people are eager to explore high-end coffee. Our goal is to provide customers with high-quality cups and exclusive lots with good flavours and complexity, fostering trust in our brand.”

Chandini’s passion for coffee has taken her around the world. She shares, “Travelling allows me to gain knowledge by meeting exceptional coffee experts. I’ve tasted amazing coffees from Pan-America, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. However, when I miss those coffees, I turn to Ratnagiri Estate in India. Their coffees are outstanding, and as a roaster, I’m proud to source and roast their beans.”

Reflecting on her memorable coffee experiences, Chandini says, “The journey from a simple hobby during COVID to a career has been fascinating. I was introduced to specialty coffees during my master’s in Edinburgh, UK, where coffee kept me awake during classes. I never thought it would become a career. Meeting exceptional people and pioneers in the coffee industry during my travels has been invaluable. Implementing their insights in my roasting has enriched my craft.”

Looking ahead, Chandini aims to continue hosting tasting sessions. She concludes, “The event Crafting Coffee Culture aims to hold more cupping sessions under its banner. We want to create a community where people can cup different coffees from around the world. It will be an open platform for knowledge transfer throughout the community.”

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