Hold SIP and Enjoy Your Cuppa

By Neha Kirpal June 19, 2024

A tete-a-tete with Mishthi Aggarwal, Founder-CEO, 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters, the fourth generation of the Bikanervala legacy, and the only woman specialty coffee roaster in India.

Despite her family's esteemed business background, Mishthi Aggarwal's love for coffee drove her to chart her own course as a specialty coffee roaster, brewer, grader and trainer.

Founder-CEO of 93 Degrees Coffee Roasters, Aggarwal is the only female specialty coffee roaster in India who holds both the esteemed title of a certified Q grader and an authorised SCA trainer. Recently, she was welcomed as one of the youngest members of the jury for the World Latte Championship as well as the World Barista Championship 2023.

Striving for excellence

Needless to say, Aggarwal's journey has been a testament to breaking barriers. “It is an incredible honour, highlighting my dedication to advancing coffee culture globally. The role allows me to not only contribute to the industry's growth but also inspire aspiring baristas and roasters, particularly women, to pursue their passions fearlessly,” she begins.

93 Degrees, a specialty coffee brand by the Bikanervala legacy, was established with the aim of taking coffee to unmapped territories. It values calculated risk taking and delivering products that bring a change. “Our vision stems from our love for coffee. Travelling the world, meeting new people and learning their stories made us decide that it was time to revolutionise India's coffee culture. Rather than simply looking forward to the next travel itinerary in search of the perfect cup, we are determined to bring the experience home; to hold, sip and enjoy,” she elaborates.

Mishthi Aggarwal

The family legacy

Belonging to the fourth generation of the Bikanervala family, Aggarwal started her own venture of coffee roasting instead of joining the established family business. Inspired by the rich coffee cultures she encountered during her travels, she was compelled to bring a new dimension to India's coffee scene. “While I cherish my family's legacy, I am driven by a desire to carve out my own niche and contribute to the industry's evolution. Inculcating specialty coffee in our lifestyles enables us to not only enjoy our local produce but also promote our flourishing agri-conomy,” she adds.

Growing up in a Marwari household (a joint Hindu business family) instilled in Aggarwal the values of diligence, entrepreneurship and tradition. These influences shaped her approach to business, guiding her to blend heritage with innovation in every aspect of 93 Degrees. “From sourcing ethically to fostering community relationships, our brand reflects a harmonious balance of tradition and progressiveness,” she explains.

Roasted to perfection

The company's technology and roasting equipment is top grade, ensuring premium quality coffee. “Our roastery is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and tools, allowing us to precisely control every aspect of the roasting process. From temperature modulation to airflow management, we ensure that each bean is roasted to perfection, resulting in consistent specialty coffee. Furthermore, we are one of the few brands in the country that ensure that our coffee stays specialty by storing our green coffee in temperature and humidity-controlled facilities,” says Aggarwal.

Their commitment to sustainability extends beyond just sourcing quality beans, and encompasses building enduring partnerships with local farmers. The philosophy is to source the best quality sustainable beans and maintain a warm long-lasting relationship with small local farmers. By engaging directly with various estates, it ensures fair trade practices and supports sustainable farming methods.

This collaborative approach not only ensures the highest quality beans but also contributes to the well-being of coffee-growing communities.

Further, innovation is the cornerstone of the research and development process at 93 Degrees. “We constantly explore new blends, roast profiles and processing methods at the farm level to push the boundaries of traditional coffee experiences. From experimenting with single-origin beans to incorporating indigenous spices, our aim is to offer customers an exciting journey of discovery with every sip,” she adds.

Setting new coffee goals

Like any business, Aggarwal faces challenges in sourcing, roasting and distribution. From fluctuating market dynamics to logistical hurdles, navigating the coffee industry requires agility and resilience. “Through meticulous planning, proactive problem-solving and a dedicated team, we effectively manage these challenges, turning them into opportunities for growth and innovation. Further, we try to come up with innovative and quirky ideas to get the end consumer to switch to specialty coffee, hence bringing us closer to our goals,” quips Aggarwal.

Her vision to take coffee beyond cafes and restaurants involves strategic collaborations with diverse industries. By partnering with restaurants, hotels, bakeries, corporates and institutions, she aims to integrate coffee into various facets of daily life. “Whether it is offering bespoke blends for corporate events or crafting signature coffee experiences for hospitality venues, we seek to elevate coffee appreciation across diverse settings. We even aim to establish a premier coffee training academy to empower our local workforce and generate more skilled baristas from the country,” she informs.

Her plans for the future include expanding the brand's presence both nationally and internationally. “We aim to further establish ourselves as pioneers in India's specialty coffee scene, while also venturing into new markets abroad. We hope to not only expand our D2C offerings, but also open more cafés, roasteries, strategic partnerships and coffee academies. Through such continued innovation, sustainability and community engagement, we are committed to shaping the future of coffee culture, one cup at a time,” she says in her concluding statement.