Products & Services

British Specialty Coffee Update: In-Store Tabletop Roasting Available Soon!

By Thomas Ruddy, CEO, Kava-Zone Ltd. & Mr. Bean Coffee Ltd.

Around the 9th century, the coffee plant was discovered by a herder in the Ethiopian plains in today’s Jimma region. He noticed his goats were exceedingly active after eating cherries from a small tree which today we know as Coffee Arabica. This led to the invention of coffee from another region where this early innovator migrated to Kaffa, Ethiopia. After several centuries, the cherished trees arrived (or were discovered) in the Arabian Peninsula, and coffee was widely adopted by about the 12th century and sold in public places called “coffee houses.” These were lively places of intellectual discussions, where you would purchase a handful of green coffee beans upon entry. These beans were roasted in a closed rotating device called a “shish” over a charcoal fire for about ten minutes, then ground or crushed before pouring hot water through a filter or directly into the cup, making Turkish-style coffee today.

Those early entrepreneurs held the coffee plants and roasting techniques closely as they started wider trading of roasted beans into Europe (Sarajevo was quite instrumental in this). Coffee beans made their way into Britain about 1637 when a Greek student brought some beans to Oxford, where it was an instant hit among intellectuals and led to the founding of Britain’s first coffee house, The Grand Café. Over the coming decades, cafes proliferated across London and were referred to as “Penny Universities” because when you spent time in them, you would inevitably learn from others talking or lecturing about topics of the day. Many important cultural and business enterprises flowed from those coffee houses, such as the London Stock Exchange, Lloyd’s of London, and the Royal Society.

Kava-Zone’s founder, Tom Ruddy, first saw an antique shish in 2007 while strolling around old town Sarajevo, where he worked as a private sector consultant with the United Nations. He created this company to bring back and modernize the old coffee house culture with the shish devices, called nano-roasters by the specialty coffee industry, as their flagship coffee bean nano-roaster. After such a long absence, the time seems ripe given the “fourth wave” of coffee, fundamentally changing consumer habits and preferences driving the global specialty coffee revolution.

Kave-Zone is launching its first Shish® through a new London-based company, Mr. Bean Coffee Ltd. ® They are listing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to fund the final expensive development work and production of the first molds for the Shish. To participate in this historic offering, please send your email address and basic contact information to (copy to so we can send an exclusive discount offer for VIP funding backers who will be the original supporters of record for this exciting retail hot beverage innovation opportunity. The value propositions include new customer traffic, new revenue streams such as Shish® rental fees, green bean sales, and residual income from retailer-controlled Shish® Craft Roaster Club membership program based on monthly credit card payments via the Mr. Bean Coffee mobile application.

Visit Mr. Bean Coffee on Stand B32, Cafe Business Expo, ExCeL, London on 10-11 October 2023 to see our prototype Shish roaster in action.