The latest co-roasting facility in the coffee-guzzling New York City area, Regalia Roasting Collective is celebrating its first birthday this weekend. The co-roastery and its wholesale and retail roasted coffee brand, Regalia Coffee, have had a big first year of offering resources for consumers and startups alike to achieve their coffee quality goals.
“The missions of the two projects have stayed true to their course, though I ultimately see them as an interchangeable set of services for our clients to use as their needs evolve,” Regalia Owner Paolo Maliksi told Daily Coffee News. “The mission of the Regalia Roasting Collective is to give those interested in a life of coffee another set of options to be successful. Through Regalia Coffee, my goal is to consistently produce a final cup profile that allows you, ‘the viewer,’ to effortlessly explore all that is intrinsically beautiful from the green. These coffees are roasted with incredible care and precision, and won’t be released into the wild unless they meet very specific cup profile and extraction criteria.”
Paolo and his wife Chisato Maliksi handle day-to-day operations of the roasting business, with both maintaining accounts, while Paolo manages the sourcing and roasting. Regalia Co-Founder Scott Rao heads special projects, leads experiments and hosts an occasional roasting masterclass at the RRC facilities.
The roastery occupies the first floor and basement of a mixed-use building in Long Island City in Queens, with production towards the back, cupping/QC lab up front, and green coffee storage available on pallet shelving on both floors.
“I like to think of the space as a warmer, friendlier production facility,” said Maliksi. “Imagine walking into something that looks like a cafe from the outside, only to find a fully-equipped coffee roasting facility. Most warehouses in NYC are dull and cold, and it was important for us to have a space that felt different.”
Lab and production equipment offerings at Regalia include a Decent Espresso DE1Pro machine, a Fetco for batch drip, bag sealers, moisture meters, a Mahlkonig EK43 grinder, various cupping accoutrement and the company’s 15-kilo Mill City Roasters machine outfitted with a variety of features that were custom to this unit but have seen been adopted as readily available add-on options by the manufacturer.
“Installed on our machine are digital gauges from Dwyer ‘Digihelic’ that measure gas and drum pressure,” said Maliksi. “Gas control is managed with an electronic actuator that is connected to a Belimo Valve. Along with this is an incredibly powerful burner, variable drum speed and airflow, fast 3-millimeter probes, and the latest Cropster software.”
RRC clients gain free access to the collective Cropster account, making a trove of vital data available at any time while also streamlining production cycles. The roasting space is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and clients can reserve their roasting time up to 90 days in advance using Square Appointments software.
Training and coaching are also a part of the RRC package. Maliksi said that starts with guidance for the first few hours on the roaster with the mindset of “machine operator” prior to considering the nuances of craft, basic aptitude and consistency.
“By guiding the initial operation, and providing our clients with steps to achieve consistency, we can turn any barista into a roaster in under two hours,” said Maliksi. “While the financial benefits are immense, nothing beats the tools and the additional set of skills you can now provide your staff, who after roasting once are armed with a trade. This produces a newfound sense of ownership and responsibility your staff will have towards your business, and hopefully in turn increases their longevity and time with you.”
Events at Regalia include a monthly meet-up between cafe owners and green coffee importers, called Green Forums.
“We do this because not every cafe/restaurant that is roasting their coffee has the time to ‘shop’ the market like roasters do,” said Maliksi. “Instead, we bring the importer to the clients, and have them build the relationships they choose. I like to think of it as a subtle way of teaching the market to the client.”
Regalia Coffee, too, offers some educational products to its customers. Most notably this includes the Roast Defect Kit, as mentioned by Rao in his book The Coffee Roaster’s Companion. Each kit includes three 100-gram samples of roasted coffee: one intentionally under-developed, one baked roast, and one ideal roast, along with the roast curves plotted for each. The kit is intended as an educational experience for both professionals and consumers to learn how different roasting treatments and flaws affect the cup, and is offered in a seasonal selection of individual coffees.
“It is a very popular item,” said Maliksi, who said the Regalia wholesale business, which provides custom offerings for every client, is also constantly growing.
“The last thing I’d want is for our clients to feel like they have to choose from an ‘a la carte’ menu of coffees. For me, there is nothing ‘specialty’ about that. We are open to customizing offerings, be it blends or specific green purchases for our clients. Though it is more work, it gives everything we do more meaning and weight.”
Maliksi said there are no plans for a Regalia retail cafe, although tours of the facility are open to all, and RRC members take turns presenting coffees to the public via makeshift pop-ups at the roasting space, where coffee and brewing equipment are available for purchase. There are currently 22 listed RRC members, including cafes, individuals, nonprofits, green importers and more.
Regalia Roasting Collective and Regalia Coffee are located at 3902 Crescent St, Long Island City, Queens, NY.