Brewing Success: Mishthi Aggarwal’s Journey to Redefine Indian Coffee Culture

From family legacy to Harvard education, Mishthi Aggarwal blends tradition with innovation in specialty coffee, shaping India's coffee future

Mishthi Aggarwal, the visionary behind 93˚ Coffee Roasters, is not just brewing coffee; she's cultivating a movement. Inspired by her family's entrepreneurial lineage and fueled by a profound passion for coffee, Mishthi is on a mission to redefine India's coffee culture. In an exclusive interview with Deccan Chronicle, she shares insights into her journey, from the influence of her family's legacy to her commitment to sustainability and innovation. Here’s a peek into the story behind 93˚ Coffee Roasters and how Mishthi is shaping the future of coffee, one cup at a time.

What inspired you to venture into the coffee industry, and how did your family's entrepreneurial background influence your decision?

I am proud to belong to the 4th generation of the esteemed Bikanervala Family, so business and entrepreneurship was in my blood. Being from a joint family, I was raised in an atmosphere where business was discussed all the time. Inspired by my family’s legacy and driven by a passion for food and beverages, particularly my love for coffee is what influenced me to start 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters. I entered the coffee industry with the goal of taking Indian-grown specialty coffee to unprecedented heights.

As a certified Q grader and authorized SCA trainer, how do you ensure the quality and authenticity of your coffee blends?

As the only female specialty coffee roaster in India, certified Q grader, and authorized SCA trainer; the quality of coffee that we serve is of supreme concern to me and my team. We maintain a high standard of quality checks at all stages - right from sourcing the best quality beans directly from coffee growers, milling them and up to the final brewing stage. Our roastery is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and tools, allowing us to have complete control on every aspect of the roasting process, thus delivering coffee that is authentically brewed and is the best in quality.

93 Degrees Coffee Roasters is committed to sustainability and transparency. Can you elaborate on your relationships with coffee growers and the measures you take to support them?

We have kept our commitment towards sustainability and transparency as the core of our business. By focusing on sustainability, we have been able to build the most amazing network with coffee growers. Our commitment to sustainability goes much beyond just sourcing the best quality beans; it means building enduring partnerships with local farmers. By engaging directly with estates, also we ensure fair trade practices and support sustainable farming methods. This collaboration has not only helped us in sourcing the best quality coffee beans but has also allowed us to give back to the society and contribute to the well-being of the coffee-growing communities.

How do you balance your academic pursuits at Harvard University with the demands of running a coffee business?

Having managed my academic pursuits at Harvard University while simultaneously leading 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters through meticulous scheduling, delegation, and strategic planning, I ensured both areas received the attention they deserved. By dedicating specific time to studying, attending classes, and overseeing business operations, I maintained a balance between academia and entrepreneurship. Delegating tasks within the company and fostering open communication with my team enabled me to remain informed about business developments while focusing on my studies. My dedication to effective prioritization, adaptability to changing circumstances, and commitment to self-care underscored my passion for both education and the coffee industry. Now that I have completed my studies, I can devote even more time and attention to my business.

Mishthi Aggarwal, Founder, 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters

What drives your passion for coffee, and how do you aim to redefine the coffee-drinking experience in India?

My love for coffee started when I traveled across the globe and got the taste of amazing coffee varieties. India, despite being a major coffee growing country does not have a great coffee culture, except maybe in South India. Since then I have been driven by a desire to contribute to the coffee industry's evolution in the country. I want to revolutionize the coffee-drinking experience by offering a variety of specially curated coffee. We integrate traditional coffee roasting techniques with a contemporary touch. This allows us to maintain the authenticity of Indian coffee while introducing new flavor profiles.

As a fourth-generation entrepreneur, how do you draw upon your family's legacy while carving your own path in the industry?

Growing up in a Marwari business class household and being the fourth generation of the Bikanervala Family, I have always been in the thick of business discussions. Very early on in life, I imbibed the qualities of diligence, entrepreneurship, and tradition. These influences shaped my approach to business, guiding me to blend heritage with innovation in every aspect of 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters. These values lay the foundation of my entrepreneurial journey.

How do you stay updated on global coffee trends and incorporate them into your business strategy?

It is important that we stay tuned to the latest trends in industry, and hence we actively participate in industry events. We are a member of the National Coffee Board and serve as jury members in prestigious championships. We are constantly engaging with the global coffee community through conferences and global meets. This has helped us stay ahead of times when it comes to understanding global trends and making constant efforts to stay relevant through innovations.

What's the story behind the name 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters, and what significance does the temperature hold in your roasting process?

The name 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters signifies the standard set by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) for the ideal brewing temperature for cupping water. For us, it symbolizes not just a numerical value, but a commitment to excellence and specialty coffee in India. We aspire to elevate Indian coffee to meet this standard of quality and consistency, offering exceptional coffee experiences. Our aim is to establish a benchmark for other brands and companies, inspiring them to uphold similar standards of excellence in the industry. Temperature plays an important role in the roasting process. At 93˚ Coffee Roasters, we have the best top-grade technology. We are equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and tools that allows us to precisely control every aspect of the roasting process. It is very important that the temperature modulation is correct along with airflow management. We ensure that each bean is roasted to perfection, resulting in consistent specialty coffee. Also, we are one of the rare brands in the country to ensure that our coffee stays specialty by storing the green coffee in temperature and humidity controlled facilities.

Can you share some insights into your bespoke blends and innovative brews? What inspires your creations?

93 Degrees Coffee Roasters believes in bringing to its customers the best specialty coffee always. And to stay ahead of all, we believe in constant innovation which is a result of the in-depth research and development process at 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters . We constantly explore new blends, roast profiles, and try new processing methods at the farm level to push the boundaries of traditional coffee experiences. The inspiration to offer our customers an exciting journey of discovery with every sip is what has led us to foster a culture of innovation and creativity.

How do you envision the future of India's coffee culture, and what role does 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters play in shaping it?

I feel proud to say that the Indian customers are now more open to try specialty coffee. They want to explore and expand their drinking habit. There is a growing culture of going out for coffee and catching up with friends over coffee, and this trend is very encouraging. Here 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters has a big role to play. We offer a wide variety of specialty coffee and make it readily available to them through cafes, roasters and through strategic partnerships. Through continued innovation, sustainability, and community engagement, 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters is set to transform the future of coffee culture, one cup at a time.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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