New technology is cutting coffee bills in half, according to co-owner of The Coffee Workshop in Christchurch. John Robson sells micro-roasters and green beans to cafés – equipment which he says will revolutionise the industry.

"The roaster has a software package that talks to your lap top via blue tooth, the customer selects blend  A, B or C, pushes a button and it roasts automatically, so there's no spending five years learning the craft,” he said. "It's like a small pub brewing its own beer."

Micro-roasting allows cafés to develop signature blends in a fraction of the time and at a significantly reduced cost, as well as selling bagged beans to patrons as an extra revenue stream. The small machines approximately the size of a microwave oven and costing around $10,000, and have proven so popular that Robson is installing one a week.

"The smell is not to everyone's liking but we've had clients that want more smell in their cafe because they want to send the message to their customers that they are roasting on site.”

The Coffee Workshop also offers a walk-in custom roasting service.