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Featured Member : Zentveld’s Coffee

Page image for Zentveld’s Coffee

Tell us about your company
Zentveld’s are the Australian Coffee Specialists, based on the family plantation in the hills behind Byron Bay.  Since 1993 we have been dedicated to producing the finest, most complex Australian coffee blends for cafes, restaurants and retailers. Our focus on quality and good taste is reflected in being Australia's most awarded coffee company in the national coffee competition - The Sydney Royal Fine Food Show - with over 22 medals for our 100% Australian coffee during the years we entered.

Practicing real fair trade, we proudly support our local growers with a true world premium price, and remain the largest purchaser of Australian estate coffee, roasted and presented as 100% Australian estate coffee.

Our regional coffee benefits from rich volcanic soil and plentiful moisture. The cool microclimate of the NSW North Coast induces a slower ripening season, developing characteristic sweetness and naturally low caffeine, in our high quality arabica coffee. All our beans are naturally pesticide & GM free. Our coffee is vacuum packed, within 24 hours of roasting, into customised bags with a one-way degassing valve for maximum freshness and shelf life.

With environmental sustainability in mind, one fifth of our plantation is dedicated to local rainforest species, creating a wildlife corridor and creekline regeneration. All our coffee crop by-product becomes compost to feed both trees and soil and we have long standing minimal water usage and recycling initiatives.

With over 18 years roasting experience, we remain passionate and dedicated to presenting Australian coffee at it’s best - consistently roast profiled to produce blends with a range of flavours and depth of character, presented in our distinctive purple packaging.

We offer a full foodservice range, and also retail and gift sized packaging. This includes plunger/dripfilter ground, espresso ground and wholebean coffee; and is complemented by fabulous chocolate coated espressobeans; fine loose leaf teas and superb drinking chocolate.

We are excited to have extended our offerings with the recent launch of our Global espressoblends. We now offer certified Organic blends with Rain Forest Alliance and fair trade beans, featuring bolder exotic flavours in our global offerings. Sourcing premium estate beans, our global blends are developed to offer espresso complexity, exceptional taste and balanced full flavour. Totally seperated from our Australian coffee and strongly branded in red, our Global espresoblends are complemented by our cafe service range including china, paper cups, umbrellas, sugarsticks and more.

As specialist coffee roasters, we are focused not only on good taste, but personalised service and market differentiation with our unique coffee story reflected visually through our branding and appealing packaging.

Our fabulous team works on continual product and service development, quick order-response, training and cafe advice, and specialised marketing material creation.

We look forward to sharing our coffee passion with you ...

When did you see this business opportunity and tell us about your journey.
Premium quality coffea arabica has been successfully grown in Northern NSW around Byron Bay since the late 1980’s when the NSW Department of Agriculture worked on developing suitable varieties that would produce quality, high yielding coffee trees that would thrive in the local microclimate. The two varieties - K7 and catuai - have proven successful in the region, responding productively to our natural cooler sub tropical conditions and rich volcanic soils, and yielding local beans that possess distinctive cupping characteristics that have been rated as true high quality “single origin” coffee.

The cool climate of our (low altitude) Northern Rivers region has resulted in three major natural and environmental benefits:

  • the cherry (fruit) ripen slower over a longer period of time than most coffee producing nations which produces a high quality ‘dense’ bean with a distinctively sweet full flavour
  • the local coffee is able to be grown naturally - without harmful sprays such as pesticides and herbicides because we do not have the pests and diseases prevalent to more tropical climate coffee
  • the trees naturally produce less caffeine than most as they are not affected by diseases or pests so prevalent in the tropical zone coffee countries (coffee trees produce caffeine as a defence mechanism)

John and June Zentveld (snr.) were true industry entrapreuneurs in deciding to plant 30 acres of coffee in 1988 on the family’s plantation at Newrybar. At the forefront of industry research and development they trialed coffee varieties; honed nursery production and water saving techniques; arranged the purchase of a specially designed Australian made harvestor and imported professional processing equipment - so vital for commercial viability and industry success.

In 1993 Rebecca and John identified an opportunity to establish the first roastery in Australia dedicated to local coffee. Setting up on the family’s plantation Rebecca learnt (the hard way!) how to best roast the local beans for offering to the local market, at a time when it was believed “the best coffee comes from Italy”. With few available reference points (pre-internet and before the cafe barista roasting trend) Rebecca learnt, by trial and taste, to produce fine roast profiles adding complexity and interest to purely Australian coffee blends - constantly suprising those in the coffee industry who believed beans “had to be foreign to be any good”.

Zentveld’s Coffee roastery, the family plantation and the coffee processing and equipment business (CAPE Australia) have been a driving force behind the industry’s growth for 20 years. Observing Zentveld’s successful initiatives many new growers have sought advice in order to establish and develop their own plantation and coffee businesses, in areas such as nursery sales; coffee processing; value adding and environmental sustainability.

Zentveld’s have always been active in relevant peak bodies to promote and further the local coffee industry. Active in establishing the first growers association, regional food events and associations such as Northern Rivers Food, Zentveld’s continue to work closely with government bodies such as the Department of Agriculture, RIRDC and  university based programs, to further coffee research for the future success of our local coffee industry.

Zentveld’s offer a real showcase for the coffee industry. We are unique in covering all areas of coffee production from tree variety choice to coffee growing and processing techniques; to roasting and packaging for wholesale trade; to cafe espresso tasting and barista training in our dedicated coffee space. Zentveld’s are the specialists in Australian coffee. We have always been at the industry forefront, with our investment in roastery and harvesting equipment and packaging, and focus on quality, ensuring we can offer the finest possible all Australian coffee as wholesale roasters, competing successfully in the Australian market.

What have been the biggest success factors and the biggest challenges?
Our success is based on offering a unique story, from a uinque location. Focusing our roasting and blending skills on purely Australian grown coffee has set us apart from other Australian roasters, both specialty and commercial. Our location on the family plantation has given us a special connection to the coffee crop - with our genuine interest in learning how all the aspects of terroire, variety and processing techniques affect roast profile and final cup quality.

Our green bean processing facility on the farm allows for the latest research and development of techniques, which we can then feed into new blends to further improve quality in our roastery, year by year. We are proud of our efforts towards environmental sustainability -  being pesticide and GM free; minimising water usage; setting aside one fifth of our plantation to encourage the growth of local rainforest species and creekline regeneration providing a wildlife corridor; and encouraging low ‘coffee miles’ as we source our Australian coffee from local growers.

The biggest challenge for our local roastery is competing with the equipment deals offered by larger coffee companies. The fact that “nothing comes for free” is lost on many a cafe owner who often see only how they can reduce their capital outlay by choosing a coffee company who offers an equipment deal. They accept a machine - grinder - china - umbrellas - windbreak offer, in exchange for a given blend (at an inflated price), and give up their freedom to choose a coffee blend based on good taste, service and pricepoint.

We are a boutique roastery who practices real fair trade (we purchase beans from local growers at a consistent world premium pricepoint ), which means maintaining our competitiveness with much reduced margins is a constant challenge. Our strengths lie in the high quality of our products, the uqiueness of our beans being Australian - and the fair prices we pay to the growers we buy from.

We are happy and proud to open our doors and share our successes and knowledge with others. Our visitors, including Government and industry guests, customers, tour groups, marketing professionals and promotors, and barista trainees all seek the very unique coffee experience that we can offer from the crop to the cup... in the hills behind byron bay.

We have established a strong local presence with our products being served at many local cafes, restaurants and retail oulets. Our wholesale office on the plantation is open on weekdays to passing retail trade, and our roastery door cafe ‘Bangalow Espresso and Pizza Bar’ gives us the opportunity to offer our full range of products directly from the roastery to the public. We happily and regularly work at local events and fundraising initiatives to support the local community.

Where to from here?
Zentveld’s look forward to continuing to support local Australian growers as we spread the message about the importance of choosing local. We will continue working closely with  local associations, university researchers and peak bodies in order to further development of the local industry and encourage progress in research and development. We look forward to increasing the number of courses we offer in coffee appreciation and barista skills, and welcome an increase in the number of people visiting or hiring our unique coffee space.

With our comprehensive range of cafe supplies and experienced, most committed and fabulous team,we are well set up to be servicing more cafes, restaurants and fine food stores both locally and across Australia.

For more information: www.zentvelds.com.au