Totally Roasted in Oman
Part of what I want to do for this blog is to find people in our community who are passionate about food or who are involved in the food industry. I’m not a journalist and have no experience with such things, so I decided to start with my family’s coffee roasting company, Totally Roasted in Oman (TRiO). I work for TRiO as a graphic designer. I do the website, photography and any advertising material. I also make yummy little food bits whenever I can.
TRiO first began in 2005 with my father, Brett Hall, roasting beans in a tiny tin kettle hand cranked over a flame. In order to see how the roast was going he had to shine a torch inside. By 2013 we had a state of the art 5kg roaster and were selling fresh beans to many homes and a few offices and cafes.
In 2014 my father unexpectedly passed away. TRiO had been built by my father’s love for serving people and seeing how coffee can bring people together, so the rest of us found we wanted to see that the company would grow and develop with this at its core.
This interview is with my mother, Andrea Hall, who acts as CEO, and my sister, Stephanie, who manages the day-to-day stuff and does most of the roasting. I sat down with them to talk about why they love coffee and why they love Oman.
What sets you apart from your competition?
Steph It’s fresh! Point number 1 through to 10!
Andrea As in we aim to have people drinking the coffee within 4 weeks of it having been roasted.
Steph Yeah. We’re local coffee roasters, the only local coffee roasters, which helps with that. Also the fact that it’s an Omani product. The two are the same really, but we like to promote that it’s Omani because this country, as it grows, it’s still really proud of it’s roots. It’s still really excited about anything that’s from Oman.
What is it that TRiO does specifically?
Steph As a company we have two primary focuses. We roast coffee and we provide support/consultancy for people setting up cafes.
Andrea That’s right. We want to provide support for people in setting up their companies so that we are able to work collaboratively with others in the coffee industry. So it’s not about competition it’s about collaboration. It’s not about just providing coffee but it’s about helping people to make their businesses better.
So to you, what does a good coffee look like?
Steph I think a good coffee, you should actually be able to smell it before you see it and it should smell like what it’s going to taste like. It’s like you’re already drinking the coffee before you’ve seen it! That is a good coffee!
Are there some common misconceptions people have about coffee?
Steph What we experience is not really misconceptions, but gaps of knowledge. Particularly in relation to roasting. A lot of people don’t understand the significance of being a local roaster and why the roasting is actually a very important part of the whole craft. And how the roasting is what brings out the unique characteristics of each single origin coffee.
Andrea I sometimes get asked which or our coffees are not bitter. But the bitter flavour is related to the brewing method not the roasting.
What are the core values of TRiO? What does success look like to you?
Andrea Like I said before, we want to support local companies. I guess we want to see the coffee community, or the coffee culture grow in this country because leisure is an important part of life. By having great coffee and having the opportunity to sit down and enjoy it with friends, I think that really adds to the value of life. They say the difference between a slave and a free person is one has free time and the other doesn’t.
I think there are quite a few Omanis who like the idea of a coffee shop that’s more than just a coffee shop; that’s a community place. Somewhere that’s a renewing place of leisure. The whole community thing’s a part of the Omani culture. So I think that’d be really awesome, to see that we’ve been able to support Omanis, or anyone, to be able to have a kind of coffee shop that enriches their culture or community.
Steph Yeah, and I think hospitality is a huge part of our core values. Dad got into coffee because he could see how it could benefit people. Hospitality was a part of his nature like he was always… when we had guests come to visit he would bring out trays full of different types of coffees for them. It was canned coffee at the time, but it was part of who he was. Well, it’s a big part of our families history as well, particularly from spending so much time in this culture. So it was like a natural expression. And that became a part of the values of TRiO.
Andrea I think it’s been really wonderful to have so many Omani friends who know what to do and they have the relationships and the contacts and are able to help us. So I think it makes you feel that you’re really a part of the place because we have people who help us to achieve what we want to achieve. So many people have put in hours of help for us.
What do you love most about coffee?
Andrea Drinking it!
Steph Honestly! Its like those times you make yourself a coffee and you take the first sip and just sing because it’s that good!
Andrea When I wake up in the morning I think “Coffee! I’m so excited this morning because I can drink coffee!”