We stumbled upon Nagpur-born Mithilesh Vazalwar at the recently concluded Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai. His workshop ‘Be your own barista’ guided participants on brewing coffee at home using three different techniques. And why was he the best man for the job? Mithilesh is a certified Coffee Q-Grader (there are only 25 In India) and the first Indian Aeropress Champion 2017.
If that’s not enough, he also possesses certifications from SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) and SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe). He has also undergone rigorous training and acquired certifications in Melbourne, Delhi and Chiang Mai.
Just another day in Mithilesh Vazalwar's life
So if you’ve always wanted to make a career in coffee, you ought to get to know Mithilesh better. Excerpts:
So what exactly do you do?
I am a professional coffee roaster, taster, brewer and trainer. I am also the Founder of Corridor Seven Coffee Roasters - we are soon going to be online but due to the good problem of high demand we are only on Instagram and accepting orders from there.
I also consult for existing cafes and restaurants as well as new upcoming ones in India and abroad regarding setting up and running a specialty cafe. Our coffee is used by several known restaurants and hotels as well as specialty cafes in Delhi, Goa, Mumbai, Nagpur and Surat.
We roast only on order and as per the customer’s preference.
We have a direct relation with the farmers and that enables us to maintain quality and consistency; also the buck reaches the real farmers rather than the middle men. All in all, you can say it’s all things COFFEE.
How did you develop such a keen interest in coffee?
Coffee has always been a passion. It fascinated me since I was 14. My first memory is from my school corridor where coffee was brewed for teachers. Three years ago, when I entered this field I didn’t know much but I was sure of one thing - that coffee is not just a beverage, and that it has a long journey from crop to cup.
The farmers in India are extremely hardworking and have not got their long-due recognition. Also, consumers deserve some real good coffee too, by real I mean - freshly sourced, roasted and brewed.
My career gives me the opportunity to meet amazing people with sound background of global coffee practices that help me implement the same in my trade.
What is your favourite type of coffee? Can you share your coffee recipe?
It is an Aero-Press! I use filter roast coffee which we roast at our roastery and let it sit for three days so that it has degassed well.
30 grams coffee (medium fine grind)
89 degrees Celsius temperature.
Total brew time: 2:15mins
Agitate only four times after the first pour.
Press it only till the hissing sound
Add 10ml hot water.
What are the characteristics of truly great coffee?
Aroma is the main factor. Second, it should taste good and be consistent right from the start till the end. I love acidic coffees, so the flavours should be pronounced and clean till the last sip. Lastly, a great coffee should be freshly roasted and consumed just near to the date it was roasted.
Which is your favourite cafe in India?
Frankly, I have not been to any cafes since the last several years. I brew coffee at our own roastery and café :). But do check out Meraki in Surat - they are one of the cafes that are using our coffee and these guys are doing pretty well.
What are your plans for the future?
Feb: I speak at Ted 24th
March: We launch our website (corridorseven.coffee) and a concept of "be your own roaster". It is something where our first 700 customers would in more ways than one be selecting their own roasting profile for freshly roasted coffee package delivered straight to their homes at a special discount of course. Also, it will contain tonnes of recipes and live news of what we guys are up to.
April: Our training centre will be launched at Corridor Seven Coffee Roasters.
Which instant coffee brand would you recommend for coffee lovers?
Sorry I don’t consume instant coffee haha :P.
Which is the one gadget a coffee lover should invest in?
Aeropress hands down!
What is your opinion on tea?
I love tea! Especially the adrak and kadak chai in the morning. That is my ritual :).
Keep up with Mithilesh on Instagram and go grab a cup of coffee!