“Coffee is art while coffee farmers, roasters and baristas are the craftsmen.”
Meeting with Alvin, he greeted us with “I just got some new coffee in. Want to try?” We don’t decline offers like that and before we knew it, he showed us how he brews dark roasted coffee using a nel drip, followed by another brewed through a Hario v60, and lastly, an experiment with a rarely seen Kyuemon dripper. Through each pour, he would share with us the details of each coffee, what we should be able to experience and the details of how he was brewing each. Very quickly, it was clear that not only was he passionate about the coffee industry but also highly knowledgeable through constant experimentation.
After moving back from Toronto, Alvin pursued his passion in lifestyle, first working for Lane Crawford as a merchandiser while part time at Amical Café in Admiralty. He had drank his fair share of Tim Hortons (i.e. the coffee chain synonymous with being Canadian) during university but this would mark his first exposure to specialty coffee where he would build the foundation of his knowledge before starting his own roastery in Tsuen Wan.
At Inferno Dynamics, they’ve chosen to go with a Giesen drum roaster, which offers more settings and variables to allow for greater possibilities in developing different flavor profiles. One of the goals that they’ve set from the get go is to discuss the roasting profiles with the customer to allow for a better understanding of the beans and an opportunity for the customer to customize the roast to their preference. The team at Inferno Dynamics tries to work with smaller farms, focusing more on the varieties and processes used. To form a relationship with the farmers where they source from and better understand their processes, they’ve visited farms in Yunnan, China and Guatemala and have plans to visit Panama, Honduras and Ethiopia this coming year.
His vision for Inferno Dynamics comes back to his passion for lifestyle. “I see lifestyle as an appreciation of craftsmanship, taking the time to understand the theory and message of each product”, says Alvin. “When we roast coffee, we try to ensure the efforts from the farmers are developed and that the end consumer understands the process of what’s happening at the farm, how we roast, and why we roast a coffee a certain way. Coffee is art while coffee farmers, roasters and baristas are the craftsmen. The best cup of coffee is the collection of their expertise.”
How would you describe your roasting style?
We’re more influenced by a Nordic roasting style but it really depends on the bean’s profile and how we would like to bring those characteristics out.
Which region’s coffee do you prefer?
I used to be a big fan of Guatemala but have recently favoured Costa Rican coffees. They’re balanced, nutty and sweet and I’ve never had a bag that’s let me down.
What’s our favorite way of brewing coffee?
For me, it’d have to be the traditional Japanese Nel drip.
How do you spend your spare time?
I don’t really have much spare time anymore; it’s always about coffee now. I used to ride in Toronto and I’ve been meaning to get back into it here but the groups usually meet at night and we start too early.
How would you describe your view of ‘lifestyle’?
Be original and authentic to who you are.
What’s next for Inferno Dynamics?
We’d love to look into collaborating with partners who have the same vision as us.