Translated from the original Greek
MASPETH – Four Greek-Americans, friends since childhood, joined forces about six months ago when they started operating one of the most modern coffee roasting production units in the New York Metropolitan Area. They are Athanassios (Tom) Tsiplakos, Stefanos Vouvoudakis, Nikos Tsoukalas, and George Kaloyiannis, who founded the company Arista Coffee and in May they rolled out their first coffee batches.
The Maspeth-based Arista Coffee roaster factory produces a great variety of coffee mixes.
It is one of the very few with fully automated processes from roasting to grinding and packaging, all controlled by computers that adjust the temperature in the roaster, cooling, grinding, and packaging into hermetically-sealed airtight bags.
The factory makes an impression on the visitor with its cleanliness and its order.
On the left side of the production plant they have painted the 59th Street Bridge connecting Queens with Manhattan and this, as the owners pointed out, is nothing accidental, but reminds that Arista Coffee products go beyond the limits of Queens, Brooklyn, and Long Island and distribute into Manhattan and throughout the Metropolitan rea.
The roasting factory is equipped with its own offices, a reception and tasting room, in which customers may taste all of the coffee varieties and realize the difference.
Visitors are taught about the method and the equipment that will enable them to produce the best coffee, espresso, or even iced coffee.
There is a warehouse housing restaurant and office equipment, and the most important division is the machine shop, where all of the items of equipment can be repaired, irrespective of brand name and country of origin.
The startup of the Arista Coffee was unlike other businesses, but a dynamic one, because its owners were involved with coffee for a long period of time, mostly in supplying restaurants and stores.
While engaged with coffee distribution, as they pointed out, they got a better understanding of what the market demands were and they decided to create a coffee roasting plant, where they would produce top quality coffee, which is why the name is Arista (meaning excellent) Coffee was the easiest thing for them. They wanted to be literally excellent.
Their attempts to acquire a coffee roasting plant began in the summer of 2014 by searching for the location that would meet all of the specifications including the required liquid gas pressure, which is used to roast the coffee.
Coffee, as the partners mentioned, requires a deep knowledge of the stuff, passion and above all, you need to love what you are doing.
“We started the company a few years back. We go into Greek restaurants and the quality of the coffee they were getting from different companies was not the same as the quality of Starbucks coffee. We were able to see the window of opportunity and took the initiative to create something of our own. We purchased the space in December and in May we went into operation,” said Vouvoudakis.
Tsoukalas, who owns a contracting company, said he undertook the responsibility to configure the area, in order to enable the installation of the equipment and all of the electrical installations and fire safety.
“We buy coffee from 30 different regions from Central and South America, Africa, and Indonesia, because each one is different from the other in taste and quality. The best coffee grows close to the equator and at an altitude”, said Tsiplakos.
“We buy about 30 to 38 types of coffee. We also have organic and kosher coffee. The coffee cutting plant produces roasted or ground coffee in several varieties.
When asked what their customers prefer most, Tsiplakos emphasized: “it depends on the machines the customers have at the restaurant.
“If they have a coffee grinder, then we supply them with roasted coffee beans. If they don’t have room to have their own grinder, we supply them with ground coffee. Also, depending on the cafeteria we also provide the packaging.”
With regard to the roasting, he stressed that it requires skill and passion. It is done one satchel at a time using he micro-roasting procedure, which is the best way because the cooling of the coffee is done by its own ventilation.
“We have our own recipe and produce our own blends. We have eight mixes and depending on the customer preferences we can offer coffee from Brazil, Kenya, and several others. Parallel to these, we produce our own expresso, Italian espresso, French espresso and West Coast espresso. And we also produce our own iced-coffee.”
Tsiplakos pointed out that the New York customer is very well-educated and quite demanding.
“We do not only provide our customers with a great variety of coffees, but we also provide know how and the equipment. We have special leasing programs for the equipment that will guarantee the quality. We also have the technicians, who can deal with any repairs on the equipment,” he said.
The area where the products of Arista Coffee are vacuum-packed at the roaster factory can be seen above. The factory and company headquarters opened in Maspeth, in 2015