Transformation Areas

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Kokako – champion of quality coffee – opens new roastery

Kokako’s coffee business is entering a period of new growth, with the recent opening of a new coffee roastery to meet increased demand. We spoke to Managing Director Mike Murphy to find out the secret of his success.

Kokako, a certified Fair trade and organic coffee roastery and café, has had sustainability embedded into its DNA since its inception 13 years ago. While sustainability will always be one of the defining characteristics of this Auckland-based business, a new business focus is paying dividends.

“In the early years, the Kokako product offering tended to be more generalist, trying to be everything to everyone, with a range of food and catering,” says Managing Director Mike Murphy.

“We now specialise in quality, sustainable coffee, based in our flagship café in Grey Lynn, Auckland, and this has led to a tipping point for the company.

“With a focus on the bottom line to ensure financial sustainability and longevity of the brand, we have recently been focused on better governance, including a formal Board, and as a result we’re more accountable for our activities and are in an improving financial position. We have strong partnerships with our customers, which has also added value to the business.

“As a result of this focus on quality, specialisation and collaboration, our business has grown a lot over the past year.”

The business has grown so much that the coffee roastery, previously in the centre of the café, couldn’t keep pace with demand. The company has leased a new site across the road from the Grey Lynn café, upgrading the premises and installing a larger coffee roaster. The new roaster can roast 25kg of coffee at a time, compared to 10kg in the former roaster. It was opened at the end of June 2014.

Mike attributes much of Kokako’s success to productive partnerships with other companies, an almost obsessive focus on quality and an absolute commitment to sustainability.

“In our early days, Hungry Bin used our premises to test its first worm farms before they were commercialised. Hungry Bin has gone on to become an international success story, and we now have 16 Hungry Bin worm farms at our new roastery. Every day we take food waste from our café over the road to the worm farms, and anything that can’t go into the worm farms is collected by We Compost to be made into fertiliser.

“We’ve also been working with Friendlypak recently to select new biodegradable and compostable take-away coffee cups and lids. Friendlypak helped us choose a progressive brand that meets all our sustainability requirements, and we’ll be introducing the new cups to the café on 1 September.”

If Kokako’s success story is tempting you to rush out and sample some of its quality coffee (and we recommend you do), you can find it in all of the New Zealand cafés listed here.

Coffee for the office

If you’d like coffee for your office, Kokako has a great package for businesses. Mike says that Kokako supplies coffee to some of the most discerning companies in New Zealand – those who value the coffee experience of their staff and clients. If you are not already convinced that Kokako should be the coffee of choice for your workplace here are some other factors which will add value to your business:

Mike says:

“We understand your needs”: Our staff will work with your team to ascertain your weekly coffee needs, equipment and training requirements. Once we have worked with your team to ensure that our coffee can be delivered in a consistently good way we can set you up on a weekly standing order. Your coffee will be roasted fresh and shipped on a Friday so that you receive your coffee via courier every Monday. Alternatively our customer service team can call your office weekly to ascertain your coffee needs – that way you can always be assured of fresh quality coffee in the office.

 “Easy Payment and Billing”: We have a simple Account Setup form and all our customers are on weekly Direct Debit. We provide a tax invoice with every delivery and weekly correspondence via email to your accounts team on direct debit payments.

“Become a Fairtrade Workplace”: You are most likely aware of the benefits of buying Organic and Fairtrade coffee for the office, but did you know that your workplace and business can also be accredited by Fairtrade if you stock Fairtrade products? Kokako can help you become a Fairtrade certified workplace. To find out more, email or visit

 Find out more about Kokako on the Sustainable Business Directory and on the Kokako website.