I first came into contact with Nigel Walsh, designer and manufacturer of the Stonka Roaster, in 2003, just as we were starting Underground Coffee Co in a garage under a cafe we had in the middle of Cashmere, Christchurch. We had purchased a second-hand 5 kg Probat Roaster, knew nothing about roasting but knew we had to get an afterburner if we wanted to roast in the middle of suburbia and not annoy anyone.
Our options were to buy purpose-built and pay as much for an afterburner as we had for the roaster or look at getting something made locally which is what we did through Nigel.
We explained what we required and Nigel was confident he could make one and within the budget we had and went for it. The result was excellent and allowed us to roast successfully in the garage for 18 months with no issues from the neighbours regarding smell or smoke. Nigel’s eye for detail, understanding of the roasting process and view of the big picture were excellent and has allowed us to continue to use the same afterburner once we got our new 20 kilo roaster and in different premises.
It became obvious when we moved into our new premises in 2005 that the our trusty 5 kg Probat would not handle the increasing volumes we were producing and our options were again to buy an established overseas brand or look locally which was our preferred option given that we were very focused on all things Kiwi and supporting New Zealand made.
Nigel had expressed interest in manufacturing a roaster for us over the 2 years we had dealt with him since he produced the afterburner and it was a logical choice to commission Nigel to build our new roaster.
At the start of 2006, Stonka, a 20 kg drum roaster fired up in our new premises and has been successfully roasting since without missing a beat, again testament to Nigel and his team’s eye to detail, quality workmanship and commitment to the art of roasting which has helped Underground Coffee go from a backyard operator to one of Christchurch’s leading roasters.
It was certainly a gamble in having Nigel build us a roaster with 95% of New Zealand Roasters sticking to the tried and true overseas machines but Nigel’s passion for coffee, understanding of the roasting process, practicality and workmanship has given us a machine as good, if not better than what we could have purchased elsewhere.
We certainly have no regrets and are more than happy to recommend Nigel to anyone contemplating a new machine.
– Pete Davies, Director, Underground Coffee Co
Vivace Espresso has dealt with Mecserve, designer and manufacturer of the Stonka Roaster, over the past 6 years. We have contracted them to do all our maintenance on our coffee roasting plant and machinery. We have also contracted them to design and build two coffee lifting systems over the past few years and we employed them to install our new roasting plant in November of 2008.
I can recommend from experience Mecserve as a company that can take on complicated projects and deliver what they promise to the highest quality. I can also recommend Nigel Walsh as an engineer with an amazing amount of knowledge who seems to be able to design and implement any project that is required for our industry.
Bernard Smith, Vivace Expresso, WBC judge
At Chiasso Coffee we really love our Stonka Roaster. The quality of materials and craftsmanship are of the highest standard.
We love to support New Zealand made so the fact that our Stonka roaster was hand crafted in Christchurch was a big plus for us. The level of service and support we’ve had from Nigel has been unreal – nothing has been too much trouble in our mutual quest for roasting perfection.
The roasters are beautifully simple to use and yet produce truly exquisite, evenly roasted coffee. Chiasso Coffee won the 2018 Best In Class Trophy for our Ethiopian Kochere Filter coffee at the Australian International Coffee Awards. This award winning coffee was hand roasted on our Stonka Roaster.
Jono Norton, Director – Chiasso Coffee Roasters New Zealand