Roaster in Residence: Grey Roasting Co

March 9, 2020 in New Zealand

This March our La Marzocco Roaster in Residence is Grey Roasting Co. , a coffee company founded by two time NZ barista champion, Dove Chen. For the entire month of March, we’ll be pouring Grey Roasting Co’s daily blend espresso roast in our showroom and we’ll even be giving a complimentary bag with every home machine sold in March.

We caught up with Dove Chen to find out more about his coffee and what inspired him to make the transition from barista champ to coffee roaster.

Dove Chen


First, tell us about the espresso coffee you have chosen to feature this month.

We are featuring our Daily blend. To achieve a balanced taste, it consists of three components.

  • Brazil Kaparaó Pulped Natural
  • Brazil Caldas Royal Natural
  • Colombia Popayan Reserve Washed

It’s what we serve all day, every day at Grey Street Kitchen. It’s for everyone. It’s easy drinking and also interesting.

Grey St Kitchen

What is the recommended recipe for these beans?

Black coffee and tulip size milk coffee
19.5g in 22g out

Large white coffee(280ml)
20g in 32g out

Then add a sunny spot, some great company, and conversation and you’re set.

You recently launched Grey Roasting Co, what made you decide to get started in coffee roasting?

A few reasons —  first, I don’t like to be settled! I like to be active and doing something new. Secondly, roasting has allowed me to continue to cultivate my passion for coffee and to be able to work with new people and gain knowledge. And lastly, it’s the dream, right? For someone in coffee, it’s pretty great to be serving your own coffee across the counter.

coffee beans grey roasting co


You’re a 2-time NZ Barista Champ. What did you learn from competing that you have brought with you to Grey?

It’s the mindset you have to be in to do well in a competition. From setting goals to making plans, putting in the effort, and then executing all your ideas.

Barista Champ Dove Chen

Describe your approach to coffee and the coffee you serve and sell? 

Being customer-friendly is our main priority. I want to bring a premium product to more people. It can’t be too challenging, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dumbed down for anyone.  It’s just not obsessed with being the most progressive. I want the best coffee roasted really well.

What’s your morning coffee ritual like?

At work, I drink espresso. It’s the easiest coffee to make, but the hardest to please.  At home, it’s V60 Filter coffee. I love the process of brewing filter coffee when I have spare time.

Do you have a favourite coffee machine and if so, why is it your favourite?

Yes, it has to be the La Marzocco KB90 ABR. I was fortunate enough to have one on my bar for three months while my old machine was on holiday (at the workshop). The straight-in portafilter feature is definitely a game-changer, it improves the workflow of espresso preparation and reduces the risk of baristas’ wrist injury. The built-in scale/auto brew ratio ensures the accuracy of the ideal recipe perfectly from shot to shot. The other cool thing about the KB is the cool touch steam wand. Not only is it cool to touch, but it also steams up the creamiest textured milk.

If you could name your favourite tech, who would it be?

Malcolm Henry or Jason Pipi. Argh, Sam Giles is nice too. I can’t choose one. They’ve all been so helpful!

Do you have any predictions for the coffee industry going into a new decade?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I think things will continue to get more expensive, with tighter margins etc. This, unfortunately, will push cup/bag prices up, but maybe it’ll make customers be more discerning. However, It could help to grow the specialty end of the market and a trend of making specialty coffee more approachable.

On the other hand,  I am so looking forward to trying new, exciting and innovative machinery to assist baristas to achieve consistency.

Dreaming of the future, what does that look like for Grey Roasting Co.?

We’d like to form great relationships. With farmers, the industry, cafe, and consumers. We’d like to use our knowledge to help cafes produce better coffee and people make better coffee at home too. We’d love to hire people and give them great opportunities in this great industry. We’re starting small because we want to be smart, be sustainable and be around for a long time. Of course, we’d like to build some killer sites too!

If someone falls in love with your coffee during the month of March, how can they keep stocked up? Where can they buy it for their home machines? Where can they have it in a café?

Hopefully, soon there’ll be stockists dotted all around! Obviously, our place, Grey Street Kitchen in Hamilton, is a great spot to grab a brew. Daily Daily on K’rd has been serving it as well in Auckland. Online is the best place to grab a bag for home.

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