While I do love myself a great cuppa, I’m not yet at a level where I can identify the underlying notes and flavours of certain brews. Perhaps I haven’t properly been educated enough about the matter, or I’ve yet to try a life-changing espresso pull.
A trip to Perth, Australia back in 2010 led Rameeswarran Sinniah (Ramesh) to realise the passion he had for a good cup of coffee, specifically speciality coffees.
This was at a time when the awareness and availability of speciality coffees were still low in Malaysia, he believes.
As a result, the trip materialised into an opportunity for the former Electronics Engineering graduate to become a wholesaler of roasted coffee beans via his marketplace, Auresso.
Appreciation for Arabica
It seemed rather unconventional to me that Ramesh dove into the speciality coffee scene by starting out as a coffee supplier. I’d imagine that most people inspired by the art of coffee would want to be a barista and run their own café.
Bringing this up to Ramesh, he replied, “We noticed a gap among local home users in obtaining freshly roasted speciality coffees.”
He explained that while Malaysia does produce a lot of coffee, they are mostly of the Robusta and Liberica species, which are used widely in traditional coffee stalls.
“These coffees are roasted dark to accent the rich flavours and mouthfeels, and served sweet and creamy, as generally, the locally-grown beans don’t have many subtle flavours,” he pointed out.
“The speciality coffee market consists almost exclusively of Arabica beans. With the higher-grade Arabica beans, it is possible to roast them lighter in order to retain more of their origin flavors, reflecting the natural qualities of the coffee.”
As the Australian coffee scene was more mature compared to Malaysia’s at that point in time, Ramesh’s goal was to bridge this gap by importing coffee from Australia to sell it locally online.
Hence, Auresso started with a B2C model on an ecommerce site in late 2011.
In its early days, Auresso focused only on providing roasted coffee beans for home consumers. Sales were conducted on a pre-order basis and order fulfilment happened on a monthly basis.
As awareness grew though, Auresso instead began getting more inquiries from café owners who were interested in its roasted coffee bean supply.
“This gave us confidence and led us to focus mainly on B2B market ever since,” Ramesh reflected, adding that their current client ratio consists of 80% business clients.
Today, Ramesh describes Auresso as a boutique speciality beverage supplier.
More than roasted coffee beans from local and international speciality coffee roasters, Auresso offers organic teas and premium drinking chocolate powders, to name a few.
The team also provides coffee bar consultations for the sales of commercial coffee machines and grinders.
International shipping is available on Auresso’s website. Prior to the pandemic, Ramesh reported that Auresso has fulfilled orders from customers in Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Dubai, and the UK.
Not your average café
In 2017, Auresso opened a showroom in Shah Alam as a one-stop shop for its business clients to learn, taste, as well as buy coffee grounds and equipment.
The showroom was a part of Auresso’s expansion plans, where it comprised a mockup coffee bar meant as a product sampling station, and to conduct basic training for Auresso’s wholesale clients.
“Unfortunately, we had to close and relocate during the pandemic in order to sustain,” Ramesh told Vulcan Post.
“We have since moved to Klang. Our current place is used as an office, our store, and a small space for product sampling with wholesale clients.”
Existing café owners or prospective ones can also visit Auresso’s office for a personalised product sampling session.
A growing homerista market
The global coffee scene has undergone dramatic shifts over the last few years. In Malaysia, awareness and accessibility for good coffees, especially speciality coffee has also increased, if not exhibited by the booming café culture we see today.
Homeristas are on the rise as well, perhaps catalysed by the lockdowns. It has now become more accessible for hobbyists to get their hands on brewing devices, complemented by coffee knowledge sharing both online and offline.
What that means for Auresso is that there is now a bigger B2C market than a decade ago when it originally began.
“In fact, we have been steadily growing our B2C market ever since the pandemic by launching our online stores in various marketplaces and spending more on our digital marketing initiatives which include creating quality contents and paid advertisements,” Ramesh shared.
Auresso is hoping to appeal to home brewers who have at least some basic coffee brewing devices such as French Press, a drip coffee maker, Aeropress, espresso machine, pour-over brewers, and more.
The marketplace also provides a complimentary coffee grinding service for home brewers if they do not own a coffee grinder.
For now, Ramesh’s short-term plan is to increase Auresso’s distribution volume.
In the long run, there are plans from the founder to open his own cafés as well, as if coming full circle in his original plans to supply good speciality coffee in the Malaysian market.
Featured Image Credit: Rameeswarran Sinniah, founder of Auresso