Member “Shout Out” – Kōkako

Event Date: 20th May, 2022

Instagram: @kokakocoffee

What is your core business? We are NZ-owned and operated specialty coffee roasters. We’re certified Fairtrade, BioGro organic, and climate neutral. We supply wholesale (both hospo and retail) as well as direct to the customer.

When did you start trading? 5 January 2001

Give us a three-sentence summary of your company: Kōkako is an NZ-owned and operated specialty coffee roaster. Sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do — we’re committed to doing right by the earth and its people. We have three certifications that we wear with pride: Fairtrade, BioGro organic, and climate neutral through the Fair Climate Fund.

Who are your customers? Cafes, restaurants, hotels, specialty grocers, offices, at-home coffee lovers.

Describe your ideal customer: A climate-conscious coffee lover who appreciates not just the taste and quality of our specialty coffee, but also our commitment to sustainability.

How do you reach your customers? (online, storefront, in person, on the phone, etc) Online (website/SEO + social media), directly from our roastery, directly from our owned cafes/coffee bars, through our hospitality and retail partners.

What’s something you sell/offer that not many people might know about: We are the exclusive suppliers of Kalita products in NZ

Tell us about any advances over time that you’ve embraced. These may be technological, sustainability, or HR for example We’ve been organic since day one (back in 2001). In 2009, we made it official, getting certified through BioGro NZ — we also became Fairtrade certified in 2009.

In 2016, partnered with the Fair Climate Fund to offset the carbon on every kilogram of coffee we roast, making us climate neutral. All of our coffee and Drinking Chocolate packaging is home-compostable. We started creating biannual sustainability reports in 2016 which are available for the public to read through our website: https://www.kokako.co.nz/pages/sustainability

What has been the project/concept/service that you’re most proud of? Our three certifications (Fairtrade, organic, climate-neutral) — they’re longstanding and we wear them with pride. Mitigating our impact adds a significant cost to our operations. Many in the industry advised us against the certifications in the beginning because of the cost, but there has been a shift in attitude since then, and more and more people are seeing the value in what we do. We love seeing other roasters taking steps towards more sustainable practices.

What gets you and your team out of bed in the morning? Why do you do what you do? Great coffee helps! Aside from that, we really believe that we’re making a positive change in the industry. We have a great like-minded team who care about their impact on the planet, are passionate about specialty coffee, and bring innovation to the category.

Do you think the expertise of industry is appreciated by the general coffee drinking public? We’re lucky to have a great cafe and coffee culture in NZ. With people spending more time at home due to the pandemic, we know coffee lovers are “upspecing” their home set-ups. Interest in coffee only seems to be growing and so is the appetite for industry expertise.

In an ideal world, where would you like to see the future of our industry? I’d like to see the coffee industry being more proactive in creating better, fairer livelihoods for coffee producers, as well as mitigating our impact on the environment.

What’s in the future for your company? Any current projects that you are proud of? Sustainability will always be a big focus for us. We’re not perfect but we’re constantly looking for ways to improve. In terms of our coffee and product offering, this year will be more experimental. We have some new products in the works and discussions about how we can push specialty coffee even further. It’s exciting.

Sam Taylor https://www.kokako.co.nz/