Member company profile – Kaffelogic

Event Date: 22nd January, 2022

We revisit allied member Kaffelogic and interview Director/Owner John Robson about their journey since the creation of their company.

Tell us about your company?

We design, develop and manufacture coffee roasters and software solutions for industry and home use. Our first model, Kaffelogic Nano 7, is the perfect sample roaster for those wanting to monitor, improve or develop their coffee offerings.  Coffee roasters, green bean traders, growers and competitive barista’s around the world are now using Kaffelogic, with the product having been sold into 22 countries to date.  The Kaffelogic Studio software is being hailed as a game-changer in the world of sample roasting and is grabbing the attention of global players around the World.

How long have you been trading?

Kaffelogic has been in development since 2014 and following a successful Crowd Fund campaign in 2018, we starting manufacturing in earnest mid-2019. We have now sold over 500 units to users in 22 countries and counting.

Tell us about your role?

As a shareholder, and Sales and Marketing Director, my role is to establish sales networks around the globe along with overseeing our marketing direction. Chris Hilder acts as CEO and Director in charge of R & D, software development and production.  We have a manufacturing partner based in Christchurch, Assembly Specialists Ltd, a subsidiary of Longbeach Holdings Ltd.

What is the best part of your job?

Dealing with people and seeing the response when customers receive their Kaffelogic is always positive.  Being involved with a fast-growing business with global reach and arguably one of the most important coffee-related products to come out of New Zealand is such an amazing experience.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces?

In the face of Covid-19, we cannot travel to our international markets and participate in trade show events around the world. However, our international customers are doing a great job of promoting Kaffelogic by virtue of writing great reviews and comments on various online platforms. Currently, our biggest challenge is keeping up with demand, we are constantly in a back-order situation even though we are increasing our production batch sizes, a very positive problem to have!

What is your favourite part of the industry?

I love the fact that coffee is such a dynamic industry that is constantly evolving. And the people are great at all levels, whether a home user, competitive barista, small roastery or coffee grower, all people involved are positive and focused.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry since your company has been operating?

I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and the growth of specialty coffee has been huge. This has produced so many opportunities across many sectors, whether this is single-serve coffee systems, micro roasting at home or the proliferation of great coffee shops in virtually every town across the nation. Coffee is now a far-reaching industry responsible for employment and business lifestyle to thousands of Kiwis.

What change would you like to see?

I really wouldn’t want to see any change. As an industry, coffee has been evolving for centuries in a natural way so we should not try and force change, rather let it find its own course.  I just hope that this great industry never loses its heart through automation or corporatisation.

What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?

I am yet to visit ‘Origin’, so I guess a pour-over that’s just been roasted on a Kaffelogic RTD profile, at a sponsored farm or Co-op in Africa just as the sun sets would be my ‘dream’ experience, hopefully not too far away!

Name two coffee legends would you want to have coffee with and why?  What would you drink?

Scott Rao and James Hoffmann, both legends in their own right and would offer some incredibly interesting conversation I am sure! And this would be over a nice juicy Hazy IPA!

Anything else you’d like to add: 

I think New Zealand should be incredibly proud that someone like Chris Hilder, Founder and inventor of Kaffelogic, has had the determination and drive to bring Kaffelogic to the World.  Its been an incredibly difficult task to bring a product like this to market in New Zealand let alone the World.  Like many other great Kiwis who have helped the New Zealand coffee industry get to where it is today, Chris Hilder will become an industry ‘name’ of note in the future, I am sure.

In 2018, we interviewed new member company Kaffelogic’s director and creator Chris Hilder on his coffee journey.

What is your company’s main business?
Manufacturing a nano-batch coffee roasting system for home and professional use.

How long have you been trading?
We are a startup company. Our roaster has been in development for four years and we are currently seeking crowdfunding for our initial production run.

What led you to start your business?
Initially, I was dabbling with roasting coffee because of an interest in mechatronics. That changed when the control system that I developed started producing beautifully roasted coffee and members of the Dunedin startup scene encouraged me to develop it into a commercial product.

What is the best part of your job?

Discovering some completely unexpected result from a coffee roasting experiment – I get to do random stuff and see what it tastes like.

What is the biggest challenge your business faces?

Our business model depends on people changing how they do things – whether it is roasters changing the way they assess beans and develop roast profiles, or consumers changing the way they buy, store and prepare their coffee. We don’t know what it will take to bring about that change, or how big the change will be, so we have to plan for the unknown.

What is your favourite part of the industry?
I really like seeing roasters and importers engage with the growers to increase the quality of the coffee and increase revenue to the grower.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry since your company has been operating?
We are just starting up now, so we haven’t seen anything yet!

What change would you like to see?
Continuation of the trend towards smaller businesses in New Zealand and more direct relationships with growers.

What would be your dream ‘coffee experience’?
I would love to travel the world with our wee coffee roaster and drink coffee with the growers and plantation workers.

Name two coffee legends would you want to have coffee with and why?  What would you drink?
The inventor of the flat white, to finally determine if a Wellingtonian or not invented it, drinking a flat white of course!
Sheik Abdal-Kader Ansari Djezeri Haubuli, to get his recipe, and would love to drink exactly the coffee he described as “the beverage of the people of God” in the seventh century.