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From Packaging to Training, Expat Roasters Finds Its Place in Bali

Expat Roasters

The Expat Roasters Beachwalk Brew Bar. All images courtesy of Expat Roasters.

As its name suggests, Bali, Indonesia-based Expat Roasters (styled “Expat. Roasters” by the company), has always carried some non-local influences in its approach to coffee.

Yet as the coffee roasting company has steadily grown over the past few years while cultivating relationships with nearby coffee growers and wholesale accounts, it has expanded its own sphere of influence at home and abroad.

wholesale tins

2-kilo refillable wholesale tins for Expat Coffee.

The coffee company’s latest initiative is an eco-friendly wholesale packaging solution involving refillable wholesale coffee tins as opposed to traditional bags. In this case, the influence between Expat and its home island is reciprocal.

“Bali is very forward-thinking in terms of climate change,” Expat Roasters Owner and Head Barista Shae Macnamara recently told Daily Coffee News. “They’ve eliminated plastic bags in stores and work very closely with businesses to eliminate emissions and pollution.”

coffee tins

New reusable tins (in yellow) for in-store consumer purchases are replacing traditional valve bags.

Expat is currently providing wholesale clients with 2-kilo tins with one-way valves that are refilled at their respective shops, while the company has also transitioned its retail packaging to 12-ounce tins that can be swapped out in subsequent purchases.

All of the coffees for those tins are passing through the company’s production roastery, which features a 15-kilo VNT roaster from Vietnam and a 10-kilo Toper from Turkey.

“Our roastery is about 30 kilometers from the [coffee] growing region,” said Macnamara, who originally hails from Australia where he was a longtime barista and consultant. “One of our projects is to go to the farms and discuss how we can improve growing techniques and increase quality and yields for the future.”

Shae Macnamara

Expat Roasters Co-Founder Shae Macnamara.

Since launching in Bali in 2017, Expat has increasingly worked with growers to help boost its own supply line while also supporting the island’s specialty coffee industry overall.

“We work with the farmers to build greenhouses, raised beds, and better infrastructure so they have higher yields and can charge more for their coffee,” said Macnamara, a past board member of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association. “The biggest thing we want to provide for coffee producers here is education.”

Expat Roasters Bali

Macnamara and the Expat team also look abroad for various exotic and decaf offerings, an effort that plays more towards the company’s desire to diversify the coffee appetites of consumers.

“Most of Bali hadn’t tasted a Costa Rican honey process or didn’t understand what a Monsoon Malabar coffee was,” said Macnamara, who won Australia’s Coffee in Good Spirits championship in 2016. “One of my goals was to bring that coffee to Bali, but to primarily highlight all the local growers in the region.”

Expat coffee roaster

At the Expat Coffee roastery.

Since opening in 2017 with a coffee bar supported by a 1-kilo roaster, Expat has expanded to occupy two full-service cafes that also act as training facilities for wholesale and for Indonesian barista competitors that may lack training resources elsewhere.

The second Expat location opened last year on the Bali Beachwalk, while the South Bali, Seminyak, location features an upstairs training bar outfitted with World Barista Championship equipment for training purposes.

Expat Roasters team

The Expat barista competition team.

The intense focus on training — which is typically led by Expat staff — is all part of the company’s founding vision to be a resource for the local and regional coffee community of Bali.

“I want to provide access to knowledge and research,” Macnamara said. “When I came to Indonesia, there didn’t seem to be a sense of community in specialty coffee. In the last few years, it has changed a lot.”

Expat Roasters Brew Bar

The Expat Roasters Beachwalk Brew Bar.

[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Shae Macnamara’s status as sole owner of Expat.]