Named in homage to Italian tradition and derived from the Latin word roca, meaning rock, Rocanini was founded on the principles of both strength and presence. With several years experience and a true passion for coffee, an enthusiastic group of friends came together and opened Rocanini as a coffee-roasting operation to explore the true essence of the coffee bean.
They now have three cafe locations to share their love of coffee with Vancouver, and with Modern Mix Vancouver, as we sat down for a chat with one of the owners, Frank Zheng.
So you’ve been a barista, a roaster a business manager and now an owner. What was your goal when opening the first Rocanini cafe location on Steveson?
Well first and foremost, we are about the coffee. We started as a roasting operation and decided it was time to help other people discover coffee the way we did. We wanted to complete the process. To truly take the bean from plant to cup. For us discovering the unique tastes of different coffee beans is amazing and we wanted to share our love of coffee with Vancouver.
You now have three cafe locations and a lot of coffee to roast. Can you take me through the process you use to choose which coffees to include on your menus?
We source our beans from many regions around the world, depending on production. There is always a greater selection during the spring/summer months than in fall/winter. When choosing coffee beans, you really have to know what you like. I usually choose one or two that I know I’ll like and then a few that I think my customers will like as well, which is definitely a challenge.
From getting the beans to putting them on the menu, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to two months. We usually get samples of the coffee beans, roast them a few different of ways until we get the exact flavour we want and then taste them in a variety of beverages before including them on our menu.
What is your favourite part of owning a coffee shop?
The roasting process for sure. For me, it has always been about the coffee and bringing the unique flavours to our customers. The way in which you roast the coffee bean brings out a different flavour, so you can really choose what you want the customer to taste. I’ve been on trips across the United States and Europe to learn everything there is to know about the roasting process and it is by far the best part of my job.
Since you have a great passion for coffee, do you have a favourite beverage?
I can tell you my very first coffee drink was a mocha and I have since moved on to prefer cortados and drip coffee, as it allows you to truly taste each aspect of the bean. My favourite would have to be a bean from El Salvador. Each year, they produce ten sacks of coffee and somehow, I was lucky enough to get one. It was truly a very special experience, because I might not ever have the chance to drink that coffee again.
Visit Rocanini in Steveston in Richmond or Yaletown on Beatty Street. For more information, visit: rocanini.com.