Ep#29 Jeff Weber - Embracing the Grind at Coffee Port - Not the Rob Bell Podcast | Limeworks

Episode 029 - Jeff Weber

Embracing the Grind at Coffee Port

Jeff Weber is the owner of Coffee Port  at Terrigal, on the NSW Central Coast. 

Many of us love a great coffee, and Jeff's meticulous planning and focus on consistency helps Coffee Port deliver a consistent, high quality experience every time. 

We chat about that, his journey, and some amazing environmental initiatives which are fundamental to Coffee Port's operations. 

Follow Coffee Port at
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coffee.port/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coffeeportcoffee/
Website: https://www.coffeeport.com.au/

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Transcription

Please note, while an effort is made to provide an accurate transcription, errors and omissions may be present. No part of this transcription can be referenced or reproduced without permission.

Rob:So Jeff Weber from Coffee Port, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Jeff:Ah, thank you.

Rob: And so we're about to discuss one of my absolute all time favorite topics, and that is coffee. But I understand that you didn't really start with coffee and it's a bit of a recent venture. Can you give us a little bit of an understanding of your background, before we take a deep dive through my absolute favorite topic.

Jeff:Yeah, depends on how far back you want to go, but, you know, I've been working since about the age of 12 or 13. Obviously your typical young teenager style, lawn mowing, car washing jobs

Rob: Nice.

Jeff:Rolled through to my first job and my only ever job in, I guess, what you could call hospitality, which was at hungry jacks at the age of 14 and nine months. And so as soon as I could really get a job. I was there for, actually, funnily enough, probably the longest that I've really ever held a job as an employee, which was around about a year.

Rob: Interesting.

Jeff:I rolled through a couple of different jobs, all pretty short term. You know, I've had a lot of different jobs sort of from under the age of 20, because I couldn't find anything that I enjoyed. I wasn't settled into doing anything, in particular sales roles, you know, those annoying people that sit in the middle of like a Westfield shopping centre. And they ask for your information so that you can buy their stuff.

Rob: Yep

Jeff:Yeah, I did that at about the age of 16. So I'd catch the train to a Westfield in Hornsby or Tuggerah or wherever it was, and I'd sit there for 8 or 10 hours just trying to collect leads.

Rob: Excuse me, sir, have you got a minute? Yeah.

Jeff:Yeah, that annoying person, which is a really good skill to gain at a young age.

Rob: Absolutely.

Jeff:I then went and did probably one of the physical, most physical jobs that I had, which was epoxy flooring, and they were anything between 12 and 15 hour days, and that was at the age of about 17. So I got to experience really hard, long physical work. I moved out of that. I didn't really fall into anything passionate, until I was about 19, where I went into personal training, and did personal training, worked in the fitness industry for six years,

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:And that was a mixture of 50/50 of that was for myself or for somebody else. So getting employment in that industry wasn't easy then. It was a lot easier just to be a, you know, your own personal trainer and not pay your own wages and not pay your own taxes.

Rob: Sure.

Rob: And super and stuff. Yeah, I did that for six years, and then once I realized that it was not for me anymore, because of the direction that the industry was going, I went off and had a crack at real estate

Rob: Interesting. On sales leasing?

Jeff:It was meant to be a transition into sales, but sort of ended up staying actually specializing more towards holiday accommodation,

Rob: Ok.

Jeff:Which was really cool. I did enjoy it, but my mind was sort of driving me towards wanting to do sales. That, I did for six weeks, because the location and the company that I was doing that for was very set in their ways of operating,

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:It had no personal flair. It had no creativity. It was "ask the person this. If they say X, you say Y". It was totally scripted.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:A lot of cold calling, and that just wasn't working because the database was old. Landlines don't really exist except for in a particular type of person's house, and they pretty much have one line that they're going to come back to you with, which is "I'm not going out of here until I'm in a box". So that became old very quickly. I got married, travelled for a few weeks, six weeks over in South East Asia,

Rob: Nice.

Jeff:Came back and went into a bit of construction labouring on a marina here on the Central Coast.

Rob: Ok.

Jeff:Did that for, I think it was probably about 8 to 12 months, somewhere in, I can't remember how long that took. And once we got to the end of that, I applied for a supervisor's position because I was very familiar with the construction site. I knew where everything was and I actually documented where everything was. So I had a 42 page PDF with images, measurements and information about their construction site. Where services were, what measurements, everything was all documented.

Rob: Wow.

Jeff:And I sort of gave that to them and said, you know, "what else you got here for me?" And that rolled into, I think it was like, ended up being like two or three year process.

Rob: Awesome.

Jeff:That's sort of when I started to explore coffee a little bit more because I was in an office on my own with not a lot of people around me, and the one thing I could do to actually interact with people was coffee.

Rob: Everyone likes a coffee.

Jeff:Yeah.

Rob: Well, we won't say everyone. I'm sure some people are watching this going, but I only drink tea, but

Jeff:That's Ok.

Rob: Let's Persist. So before we jump into coffee port, I'd really love to spring back to, say, the personal training side. And, you know, something that I'm picking up from how you've described your work history is you tend to be very thorough and, you know, sort of all in on something. But interestingly, the I think the experience that you've got in the sales and, you know, even as a PT, sales is a huge part of doing that role, but also the customer service side. Before we go too much in a coffee port. What do you think that that experience really, you know, sort of links to how you approached opening an espresso bar?

Jeff:Absolutely, I think with personal training, one of the most important things is communication and just that's just, I guess in a broad term, but you need to be able to communicate to that person why they're doing something and how you'd like them to do something without being necessarily physical with forcing them into the position that they need to be to perform the movement or whatever. So communication was really important, understanding what people wanted and needed. Sales, yes. You know, you needed to be able to sell yourself. And it was, I guess when I was a personal trainer, social media wasn't too much of a huge driving force, in comparison to now anyway.

Rob: Yeah, sure.

Jeff:Now, it's if you're not present on social media, you're never going to be a successful personal trainer, let alone if your clothes are still on. So, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. It shaped my time management probably a little bit too pointy, you know. So I was busy. I was doing 40 hours a week personal training towards the end of my career in that industry. That's a lot of sessions. That's a lot of back to back half an hour sessions, one hour classes.

Rob: Massive.

Jeff:There's a lot of pre-planning. There's a lot of adjustments on the fly for people with injuries or, you know, just unable to do a particular thing. So you've got to be adaptable as well. Bootcamps, another huge thing. You know, you've got a large group of people, minimum equipment, where you want to get a maximum result. A lot of that was encompassed in that industry.

Rob: I think one aspect that I've sort of noticed, you know, as you say, Instagram for fitness is, social media in general for fitness is just a massive part of that industry now. But I think people looking from the outside in can sort of underestimate the amount of discipline that people have in these industries, whether, you know, generally on the training side, maybe it's something a little bit more extreme, like bodybuilding or something like that. Do you think that you, do you align with that in terms of you feel you're disciplined and, you know, sort of see things through when you set your mind to something?

Jeff:I guess a slightly different perspective that I have on that is some people, some people call it stubborn. Others will call it determined. I'm definitely a thorough researcher, and you're absolutely right. When I pick something up, I don't just scrape the surface. I want to find the absolute depths of whatever it is that I'm interested in.

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:So I will learn as much as I possibly can. And I think it's because I actually just want to explore that for myself, but then I want to share it. And what better way to share something that you're passionate about than understanding it to its fullest?

Rob: Yeah, absolutely, and I mean, then you go in well armed with the knowledge that you need and make some smart decisions rather than, maybe less likely to get caught off guard.

Jeff:Hmm.

Rob: And so that's led to, you know, the favorite topic of the day, which is coffee. And you opened coffee port in Terrigal on the Central Coast almost two years ago?

Jeff:Yeah, I think it's I just sit between 18 months and two years now, so

Rob: Somewhere there,

Jeff:It just depends on who asks.

Rob: Pandemic timeline's a little bit, a little bit volatile, too, in the memory banks, but, so I'm really curious to know where, sort of the journey between the inception of the idea for coffee port, even if the idea was different at the early stages, and just kind of take us through that journey from idea to actually opening the doors and selling some amazing coffee.

Jeff:So the inception of the idea came, I think it would have been 2018, there or thereabouts, again, I was working an office job, managing a marina. And I had my little coffee machine, I had my little Breville coffee machine in the, in the office with me.

Rob: Lovely.

Jeff:There was a cafe nearby, but it wasn't always open. And I sort of looked at that from from my position as the manager of the marina, I looked at what did the customers want and need? And, you know, food and drink as a basis was a requirement. The services weren't always available on that site. So I started to pull together a bit of a plan on how we could offer that service. So the initial plan was in a four point three square meter room with a lift hatch window was going to be a coffee machine

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:And a little spot for some some cakes or sandwiches or something like that. It was a real hole in the wall concept. The names never changed. It's always been, it was always going to be coffee port. And it's not, port wasn't necessarily in regards to which side of the ship. It actually wasn't Marina inspired at all. It was more driven around the concept of, for everybody, coffee is the centralized part of their day. It's a, it's an opportunity for exchange of information, to download or to upload if you want to look at it from a technological point of view, or also for a social perspective as well. So, you know, coffee, the port of coffee. Yeah. It's a real central part of our lives,

Rob: I Like it.

Jeff:Particularly for people like you and I who have a you know, let's call it an obsession.

Rob: Yeah, obsession sounds better than addiction. I like that.

Jeff:Yeah.

Rob: So obviously the idea was there, you know, while you were working at the marina and where how did you land in Terrigal, you know, in order to open that shop?

Jeff:Hmm, that was a journey to so initially the plan was to put it on the site, which that just we couldn't get that through. So I thought, you know, it's been a few months putting together a business plan and all the financials and, you know, sourcing equipment, supplies and that sort of stuff. And I thought, well, I can't put this to waste. I'm a little bit more passionate about it now. So I started looking for another location. We looked at Gosford. We. Looked at a location in Empire Bay. We had a location locked down. We had a lease signed. We had a bank guarantee settled. Two weeks after I was supposed to get keys, the landlord decided that they didn't want to go ahead with it anymore. So they ripped that one out. After I had everything, all the services connected, all of my equipment ordered, everything was ready to go. And I'd taken my six weeks annual leave to do the transition and it set up. So that didn't go according to plan, but not everything does.

Rob: That's quite a rug pull, yeah.

Jeff:It was a big rug pull. Again, being determined, or stubborn, I then went and had a look at another location. It sounded promising. It was it was more of a shopping center sort of situation, had to submit designs. So full 3D designs of what I was going to do with the fit out. I did that. They, we could negotiate the terms. So we didn't go ahead with that site either. The funny thing was, flash forward about six months and that particular location had my design installed

Rob: No.

Jeff:With another location.

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:So, anyway, that's cool. I got lots of experience with 3D design software.

Rob: That's helpful.

Jeff:Very helpful. We continued searching until we landed in, funnily enough, the last place that I actually wanted to be at that time was terrible. I had business in Terrigal previously, but that's when I was younger and I was a personal trainer. I didn't really enjoy the location,

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:So I was sort of drawing off that experience a little bit. However, I was really determined to open a shop. The size was right, the price was right, and we managed to get a deal across the line. So, yeah, we we ended up and it took nine months. So from the time of looking for a new location, um, to actually getting sign, this was nine months.

Rob: Well, starting a business is a bit like having a kid, so nine months seems fitting. Yeah, so obviously that was the physical location journey and some planning. What are some once you sort of had that location locked in, even if it was the empire by location? What are some of the finer details that you found yourself really considering heavily about, you know, say, the experience or what you are offering versus what you aren't offering? How did that sort of process take place?

Jeff:So from the very beginning, when we were looking at the very small like four and a half square metre space, it was completely focused on coffee. Different locations, obviously, they were in different sizes, so it went from one being four square meters to another, one being 120 square meters to another, one being 400 hundred square meters. So it kept growing. So obviously, you can't just do just coffee in something that's, you know, a couple of hundred square meters. So the business concept did change a little bit. But the core of it, we kept I kept coming back to the reasons that I wanted to provide people with coffee, which is I was challenging the fact that coffee would be consistent at a high quality and a reasonable time from order to coffee in your hand. So those were pain points, personal pain points for me as a customer. You know, one day you could go to the same cafe, five days a week for a year, and you would get inconsistencies with time, with quality, with taste, with experience. And I thought, surely it's not that hard. I'm like, I'm going to try and prove myself wrong. So that was one of the drivers as well, which was to try and prove myself wrong. That coffee could not be consistent and quick and high quality. When I talk about quality, we were looking into things such as the technology that was behind the brewing and the customer experience of the interaction, the ordering, the payment taking, how that coffee was made as well. Again, with that technology integration, it's got to be easy for the customer. There needs to be a little bit of you know, they talk about a little bit of friction is good because it helps retain. But I think that when it comes to coffee, you haven't had your coffee yet, so it can't be too hard.

Rob: It's going to be relatively frictionless.

Jeff:Yeah,

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:All the ingredients that we had needed to be premium, so we from the beginning have always paid more for premium ingredients, premium quality milk, high quality water that's coming into machines as well. The grinders, the the process of making coffee is so. So variable through how you treat it and where it comes from.

Rob: Yes, so I mean, I think we've all picked up a coffee in the morning and, you know, I thought, oh, the coffee is not very good today, maybe the same order from the same shop day in, day out. And I think we've all experienced that variation outside of what you've noted in terms of, you know, high quality ingredients. I obviously can't give you secret sauce away, but can you give us some insight into process or systems that have helped you bring that consistency forward, maybe even if they're expected or unexpected through the journey?

Jeff:All OSHA, every single considerable secret that there is because education in an education. So I've had to learn and I want to teach others as well. And I think the most important person that needs to be taught is the customer. So you hit on a really important point, which is, you know, we kind of get off of me like I know it's not very good today,

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:And we generate our own that all kind of reasons as to what it was maybe a different barista today, or we realistically, as coffee drinking customers, don't know much outside of the options of coffee. We don't really know what sort of effects, or manipulates the taste of the coffee. Maybe you used a different toothpaste that morning, maybe didn't use any toothpaste that morning.

Rob: Interesting.

Jeff:There's so many, so many variables that can change your experience with that coffee. It may be the same every day. Some of the things that we've identified. That customers even just making coffee at home is the coffee beans that you're using, the grinder that you're using. The weight of the coffee that you're grinding out, the temp, consistency's the water quality consistency to the coffee machine's pressure and temperature for extractions and again, the milk temperature and texturing methods as well. So what we have done is we've created a system that starts basically from the right hand side, and it's a workflow, a workflow from right to left. But from the beginning, I implemented technology that I knew could future proof us so that we weren't starting by tamping manually. We were starting by an automatic temp, which was giving us consistency straight off the bat.

Rob: And so can we explain tamping as a processing coffee making just for those that aren't familiar?

Jeff:So coffee is ground and it is then placed into the the the handle that you would say baristas logging into a machine, that coffee needs to be compressed into that basket in order to extract espresso coffee. If you don't tamper or compress it, you're going to end up with a muddy mess. Um, so basically the process is just compressing those coffee grounds.

Rob: Got it, and so, you've sort of systemised those processes to remove as many variables as possible,

Jeff:Mmm.

Rob: Does that take a a degree of autonomy or sorry, does that take a degree of personality away from, say, barista's who are working in your in your shop to, you know, put their own flare on it? Or or do you deliberately want them to follow the guidelines to enhance that experience and maintain the consistency?

Jeff:It's definitely a balance, I think there is definitely such a thing as too much automation. We as customers, we want to go in, we want to greet the person or to be greeted our order to be taken. And then we sort of we kind of want to hang back for five minutes or whatever. We generally expect, you know, watch the baristas work, watch them put their love and passion into that that beverage that you've ordered, that you're so eagerly awaiting things like tamping and grinding and extracting espresso are things that customers aren't going to see. So you can automate those things or at least reduce inconsistencies through the technology. And as an example, the grinders that we use are accurate to within point two of a gram. So we're not going to get, you know, 17 grams falling into one basket and 22 grams falling into another.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:Now, just to put a note on that, even a gram difference and make a big difference in your extraction and any flavor profile. So it is important, but the customers don't see that. They don't see the. So that's one thing that you don't need to worry about, the coffee machine extracting and having the the, you know, take a little bit keep. But the volumetrics and the temperature profiling, they don't need to see that. You can talk to them about it if they're interested. But speaking of talking to them, taking out those unnecessary steps that the customer doesn't see to make it more consistent is an opportunity for the barista to interact without distraction with the customers.

Rob: Interesting.

Jeff:So you can provide a better quality service and a more personal service without having to focus on am I 2 grams off in my coffee dose?

Rob: So the baristas in some ways have a little bit of a lighter load in terms of preparing the actual drink so they can engage better with customers. And, you know, we all love chatting to our barista while making a cup of coffee about whatever takes a fancy for the day. Interesting. I mean, I must, I assume that there's still some element of of oversight, even from that sort of barista process, otherwise a fully automatic coffee machine, you know, I'm not sure if they even exist to match what a barista can do personally.

Jeff:Mmm.

Rob: Do you still require that sort of human element to just make sure everything's still going to plan?

Jeff:Yes, let's geek out a little bit more

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:So temperature of the room, age of the beans will have an effect on your espresso flavor profile.

Rob: Interesting.

Jeff:So let's use an example, our current shop in the summertime does get quite warm overnight, so we need to set the air conditioner to turn on at about four o'clock in the morning to start to cool the shop down. Coffee beans in a 35 degree room versus a 17 degree room are going to act differently in the grinder. Without going too finally down to it, the reality is they will grind differently and that will require a different grind coarseness, or how fine they are. So that needs to be tweaked.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:It is something that the barista is needing to keep an eye on. And then with the milk as well, you know, you've got six to eight different types of milk, find me a machine that's going to go and pluck the right one out every time and texture it to the right temperature and the right, you know, the right texture. And,

Rob: Yeah, sure.

Jeff:You know, again it's, even though we're mostly take away, we still pour art on top of our takeaway coffee cups, and we do that in front of the customer for one real reason. When you see a nicely poured coffee, it tastes good and you haven't even tasted it yet.

Rob: Absolutely.

Jeff:You know, if you see this frothy mess come out with just a blob of milk on top, you're already kind of looking at it going, it's not going To taste good.

Rob: Yeah, it's not right. Yeah,

Jeff:Yeah.

Rob: It's an interesting, an interesting point. And one thing around that is that real customer experience that I know you guys are doing exceptionally well is the speed at which a customer can get through your shop. And as much as you might want them to, to hang around in theory, you know, really, as people are grabbing their coffee, especially if they're on a time crunch on their way to work or something like that, they are considering the time investment in terms of parking the car or, you know, crossing the road or whatever it is to get where they're going. How have you really managed to to squeeze that time down to make it really super efficient without sacrificing the quality?

Jeff:Again, technology as much automation in the equipment as possible and then process driven, you know, training our staff in in how to be more efficient with your time rather than texturing, you know, a small cups worth of milk at a time. If you've got a backlog of six more coffees, you're going to texture enough milk. You know, in a reasonable amount of time to do maybe three or four of those coffees, again, depending on the milk, there's so many different coffees now, but you're training each person in their set station. So we have a set station as well where, you know, if you're at a particular spot in the shop, your duty is this. Your operation is to be this. You're responsible for this. So we try and break it down into three or four different sections. And that way we rotate freely as well. On a busy day, there might be three or four people in the shop staff in the shop, and we would just rotate organically knowing that there's there's operations that need to be done here. That person's busy. I'm going to slip in and I'm going to do that.

Rob: Is that purely for, you know, staff interest or redundancy, or is it just, you know, just to make sure that everyone's capable of everything? And if there are lower numbers at some time, everyone's kind of versatile.

Jeff:Yeah, absolutely, that, we're a small shop, we're a small team. We put out, you know, one primary product. That product needs to be perfect and in order to make that as best as possible, a good quality system and having a vast array of people able to perform those duties, it takes the pressure off everybody.

Rob: Amazing.

Jeff:Rather than having like a pyramid style or, you know, your final style of this person overseas, overseas, if that person can't perform that day due to whatever reason, the workload just got a lot heavier on everybody else. If everybody shares the workload, overall, you know, many hands makes light work?

Rob: Absolutely. It sounds like it's a really smooth running operation, and I mean one spaner that potentially that came into the works, you know, was obviously the covid pandemic, which is, you know, different levels of fluctuation, depending on which month we think about.

Jeff:Which day it is?

Rob: Yeah, exactly. But you're primarily take away anyway. Is there any seating in the shop at all?

Jeff:Not now,

Rob: Not now,

Jeff:Not this week,

Rob: So,

Jeff:There was.

Rob: And when it struck you were, you were, what, a few months in, six months in maybe when it really kind of came hammering down?

Jeff:So when we opened, I just wanna take you back a little bit,

Rob: Sure, yep.

Jeff:Rob, as well is, when we open it was around August of whichever year

Rob: 2019 yep,

Jeff:it was at the time. When we opened the shop, I'm pretty sure it rained for like six weeks straight, like it absolutely hammered down. So we had a bit of minor flooding and stuff which didn't affect the shop.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:But Terrigal when it rains is a quiet place. It's a sunny it's a sunny place. So after that, everything caught on fire. You remember that? Everything caught on fire around about

Rob: Absolutely.

Jeff:Sort of end of October, November and,

Rob: And just for those listening who aren't quite sure, we're talking about the bushland, not the shop

Jeff:Not the shop, absolutely. And that ran through til, what, late January, early February. And then everything flooded again.

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:Alright, so we had heavy rain for our first sort of month or so. Then we had major fires throughout the whole country, which at certain points we couldn't say across the road. So air quality was poor. People weren't coming out. We then went into more flooding again, like February, March or something like that. And then we think we got like a month off, which is cool. And then we had covered come along. So when covid hit, I didn't panic. Because we'd already been through, you know,

Rob: Natural disasters.

Jeff:Some stuff. And I thought, what's another challenge? At that point we were even smaller shop, so we were 20 square metres when we first moved into Terrigal. We had a two grip coffee machine and a cake display. That was it. We could fit at most, pre-Covid days, we could fit eight people in that shop, and that was cozy.

Rob: Sure, yep.

Jeff:We had a couple of, I think we had two tables outside.

Rob: Interesting and so really, as covid came through, the takeaway didn't really matter anyway, because unlike some of the bigger restaurants in Terrigal and in other parts of the coast, you're not really relying on that. Sit down, you know, stay and have a chat, that sort of typical Starbucks experience of sit and listen to the music while you write your next novel on your laptop.

Jeff:We had a few novels published out now, and it was yeah, it was definitely set up as a hole in the wall. Our nation going into Terrigal was that we were going to be the only place that was dedicated to coffee. We had no distraction of food or cooking or a kitchen or anything like that. So you didn't have to compete with somebody who was having breakfast, brunch or lunch.

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:We could just take your order and make your coffee.

Rob: It's just coffee.

Jeff:So we have always been driven towards takeaway. Yeah, that's always been our primary. I did a report a couple of weeks ago and we were something like less than five percent dine in.

Rob: I mean, it does sort of help position you quite well for a covid style market where dining is is kind of volatile regardless of what part of the country or the world you're in right now. So it sounds like things are going pretty well, and you've sort of got, you know, the coffee down to an art in many ways. And in the process, it is that kind of setting up for, you know, expansion in terms of multisite replication of of process. We all know McDonald's is a champion of process, for better or for worse. You know, is that kind of the long term strategy or is this just a local shop that you really want to make great coffee for the locals or the visitors to Terrigal? Or is it not even something you've considered yet given the volatile few years that we've had?

Jeff:Yeah, look, I've definitely had a few minutes in between to stop and think about it. There's the opportunity to expand it, put it into multiple sites and that sort of thing, because it is quite systematic and it is simple. The Australian market has the proof to say that generally franchising or licensing and having multisite isn't that appealing to a customer? One of the reasons that Australia put out some of the best baristas in the world is because we're such a highly competitive market and we're so highly competitive because we've got so many individual and privately owned cafes.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:It's something I think it was like 4.2% of all of the cafes in Australia were a franchise or chain. Very, very small percentage. That sort of does say to me, you know, what do you do? Do we do we turn it into something that is multisite possibly for the moment, it's definitely a passion project. It's something that I really enjoy doing. It's it's something that I really enjoy building and offering to people. It's also a stepping stone. We've got a number of other things on the outside and around coffeepot that support each other and that will hopefully be able to take steps into other directions, sort of in the same industry. But not one of one of our core ingredients is our sustainability and our eco conscious actions. So. We have our own packaging. I'm actually my own supplier of all things, packaging, it means that I can choose my own products and I can put them through my own filter process and make sure that they stand up to what we want to use in the shop. We can evolve that as we go, which we're doing at the moment, to start to roll that out to other cafes. So coffee port, it can also for me be somewhere where I can crash test products,

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:We trialled some new lids a few months ago and we were able to get real hard feedback from customers saying that we didn't like the lids.

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:But it didn't cost, it didn't cost a fortune.

Rob: Didn't have to put it into a hard market to find that out,

Jeff:Yeah,

Rob: You can trial it at scale.

Jeff:Yeah.

Rob: That's cool. One of the sustainability aspects which I'm aware of, is, looking for my notes, Huskee cup, there it is. Can't read my own handwriting. Is the use of, what they call Huskee Cup program, which, I think we're all familiar with keep cups and that type of reusable cup. But I understand Huskee Cup is a little bit different in how it works. Can you take us through that a little bit? Just how it differs from a traditional reusable cup?

Jeff:Yeah, absolutely. I've worked with Huskee Cup from the day that we opened. Part of my research into opening a shop was to go down to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. And when I was down there, we met a number of really good companies and people which helped us establish our initial shop. One of those companies was Huskee Cup, and what they were doing was different. And as you mentioned earlier, I generally go deep into everything that I do, and I went really deep into what our options were. What cups are available, because I didn't want to be carrying six different brands of Cup. That's just clutter, and it's also just a recipe for wasted money. You know, one option. So I had to pick one company, in my mind anyway. Huskee Cup are manufactured with like a 50/50 blend, all their information on how they manufactured on their website. But they're primarily a blend of a recyclable plastic, which is a BPA free type plastic, blended with coffee husk. And just to be clear on what coffee husk is, during the milling process of brewing coffee beans, think of a pistachio when you've got that thin film around the seed there, or the nut. That is a husk. So coffee beans have a husk when they're dried and they're milled to remove that husk. So you can imagine there's something like three hundred million bags of coffee bags, that 60 kilo bags.

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:So multiply three hundred million by 60.

Rob: A lot.

Jeff:Each bean has its own little husk. So that's got to go somewhere. And what they're now doing with obviously with technology and manufacturing is they're blending that in with products because a really good example that we probably all be familiar with is when you're pouring a large concrete slab and if you feel that up mostly with something like polystyrene or something, it'll take out the large quantity required of concrete. So you're sort of using it as a filler. But it's also still has thermal qualities. It has binding. It's a binding agent as well. So the Cup itself, the technology itself in how they manufacture the cup is fantastic. They're taking a bio-waste style product, and they're blending in with something else that we use day to day, even Ford are now using it some of their plastic components in their vehicles.

Rob: Interesting.

Jeff:So it is a product that we will start to see more of. The cup for its actual design in twenty eighteen won an industrial design award as well. It's very aesthetic. It's very nice to touch and to hold. It's very durable.

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:From my perspective as a cafe owner, I don't want to have to replace cups and glasses, or the porcelain and the ceramic from being dropped, chip, all that sort of stuff.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:It's wasteful. With these cups, we haven't had to replace a single cup. So it saved my business money. Now, to date, we've swapped over three thousand cups. So that's three thousand less paper cups or plastic cups or whatever the companies are using that have gone into landfill just in 18 months. And that's including our growth phase. So, you know, you can imagine in another two years time how many cups we've actually saved from going into landfill.

Rob: Yeah, absolutely.

Jeff:You know, there in a range of sizes, the extra hot coffee drinkers shout out to you guys, you're not going to burn your hand on one of these cups as well because of the things that are around the outside of it, again, that make it so easy to hold onto and not burn your hand to.

Rob: And so you mentioned before the SWAT process, how does that work with the Huskey Cup?

Jeff:Just like a Swapan go gas bottle, you know, so we're again, we're all familiar with that, we grab our empty gas bottle. In this case, we grab our empty coffee cup. We need to go and get fuel and get coffee. And we take it to the nice people and we exchange it for a full one. So same thing. You take your Huskie Cup into the cafe that are registered and set up to swap. You just drop your dirty old cup in that cup. Might be might be starting to show signs of age or wear or something like that. But that's not on you. You dropped that cup there, let the cafe deal with it, so you've got it set up in a way where by putting them into a more of a circular operation, the wear and tear is going to be less on the cup. Therefore, the cup will have more longevity. But also, if that cup does start to come to the end of its lifespan, they're able to then separate that one out, take it back, tip it, melt it and make it into new cups again. So you basically buy one cup for the rest of your life.

Rob: That's pretty awesome, and I do like the stop and go analogy, I think that that helps frame it in a clear distinction from, you know, traditional KeepCup.

Jeff:Yeah, it's in a comfortable way. When we first started to implement the swapping system, there were a few reservations, you know, people sort of going, oh, but, you know, that's my cup, my personal possessions. Look, when you go to the pub and you get a schooner or your restaurant and you order a meal, that's not your fork.

Rob: Yeah,

Jeff:It's not your glass, you know, probably fifteen thousand other people have used that before you. So it is the same system. They are obviously sanitized, cleaned and monitored for wear and tear.

Rob: And probably cleaned better than where you are, give it a quick rinse it yourself at home anyway.

Jeff:Correct,

Rob: Yeah.

Jeff:Yeah, yeah, probably sanitized.

Rob: Absolutely. So we're coming up on time, but one thing I would love to learn a little bit more about, as you alluded to before, around sharing knowledge, I believe in 2020, you started the coffee roasting school. Can you give us a little bit of a rundown of what's going on there?

Jeff:Yeah, it's had a few iterations when we were ready to launch in in January, Clover came along and sort of put a few dents into that.

Rob: Sure.

Jeff:So the concept was it was a class environment. So it was hands on. It was you know, you'd turn up in your groups and we would teach people where. Where coffee come out, where it's grown, how it's processed and the differentiations between different regions and origins and that sort of thing as well. We would then talk about the processing methods and how to roast, so ideally you'd walk away with a much clearer knowledge on where coffee comes from and how to roast it and the effects of roasting. We were doing that on new technology that was able to be used even in a room that we're in right now without know the big set up costs of of big roasters, gas connections, three phase power,

Rob: Sure, yeah.

Jeff:And smoke extraction,

Rob: Yep.

Jeff:Much smaller unit that could do the same job. So you could be a hobbyist coffee roaster,

Rob: Nice.

Jeff:Which I'm sure would be something of interest in your little realm of coffee passion.

Rob: Probably, yeah.

Jeff:But again, the concept was to then take baristas to that next stage. What we've recently done is start to look at implementing this into schools because schools are now teaching food and beverage, they're teaching their students how to make coffee, and they've got this sort of thing implemented in their schools as it is. So we've taken our course content with twisted it, tweaked it a little bit, and we're now starting to teach that to students. So just two weeks ago, our own Port Macquarie in a school up there teaching a group of students how to roast coffee and they're now going to be roasting their own coffee in house for the foreseeable future and learning more about that.

Rob: Amazing. Because I think from the outside, if you think about roasting your own coffee, maybe it feels like a bit of a bit of a hipster kind of thing to to be considering. But there are some genuine practical applications for it. Outside of curiosity, even someone like myself who does enjoy coffee and is a bit of a coffee, a coffee snob, perhaps. I still don't really appreciate the difference between between a light and a dark roast or, you know, where the beans come from. I just know what I like. And, you know, I think there'd be some some interesting knowledge to be gained through that kind of process.

Jeff:Absolutely, and again, it says knowledge is power. The more you understand, the more enjoyable coffee can become. It may become tedious, but I think it can just become more exciting and adventurous. My partner in that business has been in the coffee industry for 40 years and he's still learning more about coffee every day because it doesn't it doesn't stop. There is no finite amount of information available with coffee. It's constantly evolving.

Rob: Yeah, certainly like microbreweries and and fine wine and, you know, everything else that that has very bespoke tastes and a lot that goes into it. Well, Jeff Weber, it's been really fantastic to chat. We are out of time. But before we go, can you let us know where they can find coffee port and where they can learn more about you?

Jeff:Yeah, absolutely, so you can find coffee pot in Terrigal, New South Wales, we are on Campbell Cresent. You can find information about our store and what we have to offer at coffee, report on the radio or our Instagram handle, I think is coffeepots terrible. But just coffee port Sariego will get you in the right direction.

Rob: Absolutely.

Jeff:Yeah.

Rob: All right, everyone, go and grab a cup. It's going to be the best cup of your life, no doubt. And thanks so much for coming in. Jeff

Jeff:No worries, thanks Rob.

Rob: Cheers.

Rob: There you have it. I hope you really enjoyed this episode, and if you did, please like it, share it or leave us a review on your favorite platform. It helps us show more of this content to people just like you.


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