A Smooth Rich Buzz

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-By Kristy Attard

How do you like your coffee? Award winning, organic, fair trade, single origin… the team at Coffex Coffee has been giving coffee drinkers more reasons to drink up since 1959. “We’re always doing something different; it’s fairly fast paced but it’s always exciting,” says Marketing Manager Joshua Symons. Sourcing only the finest green beans from destinations around the world, Coffex roasts and grinds them to perfection here in Australia. With a divine selection of coffee products to suit even the most discerning customer, Coffex Coffee has an international reputation for quality.

Steeped In Time

An Italian family who saw a gap in the Melbourne market for a freshly roasted Italian style espresso coffee founded Coffex in 1959. Espresso coffee was already very popular in Europe. “That’s pretty much still the pillar of what we base the company on today.” The first batch of Coffex Coffee beans were roasted in Coburg Victoria, home to the first of the Coffex coffee shops on equipment imported form Europe. Today Coffex is one of Australia’s leading suppliers of premium ground coffee beans with its flagship award winning 6 bean blend Superbar – “It’s intended to give the customer that extra need for another cuppa.”

Coffex is an international brand, having expanded into overseas markets like China, Dubai, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Vietnam. The coffee market is fiercely competitive. With so many different brands vying for the consumer dollar, what do customers look for in a good cup of coffee? “We think it’s consistency, because repeat business is based on this principle,” comments Mr Symons. Consumer feedback is important; “Feedback really is what empowers us as a company and when you get positive feedback it lets you know that your efforts are matching the needs of the market.”

Providing great flavours and service makes Coffex a success. “It’s just making sure we provide the complete service in making the perfect cup.”

Underlying all operations at Coffex is the motto, ‘Quality and purity in all that we do.’ “We base that on our processes with coffee which includes roasting, packaging and delivery, and then our customers define the product when it goes through to brewing.” Coffex employs best practices in all of its manufacturing processes, enabling the company “to market a premium product to an audience which… demands quality and consistency.”

Coffex Coffee has established systems in place to ensure that the quality of its products is consistently excellent. “Our factory is completely closed looped, our roasting system is all computerised, so every second of each roast is defined and everything is calculated.” Employees work in accordance with stringent HACCP principles inside the factory. “It’s quite a large operation, it’s very controlled.” While Mr Symons acknowledges that this approach towards manufacturing coffee may isolate Coffex from certain sectors of the market that prefer a “boutique approach,” he notes that Coffex’s operation ensures that quality is maintained, meaning customers get that perfect espresso every time. “Our commitment is to provide that consistent product.”

Beans to Brew

A perfect cup of coffee starts with only the finest beans. Coffex sources coffee beans from seven diverse destinations around the world – from Brazil to Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Jamaica, Kenya and Papua New Guinea. The different locations and varieties of beans impart specific flavours to the resulting coffee. “We’ve been buying the same beans from the same regions since 1959. It doesn’t change; even if it gets a bit expensive, Coffex has to wear some of that. We can’t change that because that’s the pillar of our company.”

The medium roasted Brazilian blend is smooth and sweet, while retaining a rich, rounded quality. True coffee connoisseurs will appreciate the Jamaica Blue Mountain Certified blend. These full bodied, beautifully balanced beans are one of the worlds most sought after coffee beans. If you are after something a little stronger, indulge in a Colombian Condor – a sensual mix of chocolate and citrus flavours on a powerful base. The volcanic soils of the Kenyan highlands grow a bean with a unique acidic twist. These are just some of the coffee blends Coffex has been roasting, grinding and packing in its Australian factory using, believe it or not, the company’s original roaster! “It’s still here,” says Mr Symons. “We’ve still got that original roaster now and we do little specialty roasts on it like the Jamaican Blue roast and all the different single origins that we do… It sits next to our large 300 kg roaster which is huge and kind of dwarfs it.”

Many different cultures appreciate the tradition and ritual that comes with drinking a fine cup of coffee. Coffex, both Halal and Kosher certified, has a Mediterranean blends range offering customers an exotic taste sensation. Enjoy a strong, bittersweet Turkish style coffee. Try a Lebanese style coffee and find out why coffee is such a hit in Lebanon with caramel Arabica beans ground extra fine. Let your tastebuds go to Greece and savour the sweet, lightly roasted Illios blend.

The eco conscious ‘green’ consumer can indulge in the ethical range of fair trade, organic and rainforest alliance blends. “We have focused on fair trade and organic; we were one of the first companies to really back fair trade,” says Mr Symons. “We developed a separate brand to Coffex called Global Café Direct which we launched in 2004 and that really has been, over the last 10 years, one of the biggest stories for Coffex. It’s one of the leading fair trade organic coffees in Australia. This is a popular coffee for our customers in New Zealand as well.”

Fair trade products have been steadily rising to fame with retailers and consumers over the last decade. “I really do believe we helped that movement begin,” boasts Mr Symons. He says that many people will point out that the entire range of Coffex coffee isn’t fair trade; in its quest to source only the finest quality beans, Coffex continues to patronise farmers who are not necessarily fair trade certified, but the company nonetheless always pays a fair and just price for its beans. Mr Symons has been at Coffex for six years and says, “the most rewarding part has really been building the Global Café Direct brand and also being able to see what fair trade really achieves. A lot of my efforts have gone into really growing that brand and selling a lot of fair-trade coffee.” During fair trade fortnight in Melbourne central, Coffex provided funding and held events to promote fair trade in general and “to show that fair trade coffee – yeah, it’s fair trade, but it’s also quality coffee as well.”

Coffex has begun to focus on sponsoring some major international events like the Formula One and the MotoGP. “We have our first Formula One Grand Prix approaching this year; and we completed our first MotoGP last year, we will be doing these events until 2013.” Coffex is the exclusive coffee sponsor of the MotoGP and putting the advertising aspect aside, the interactions are what make the sponsorship worthwhile. “The MotoGP, normally in October each year, was just great. Our whole team, our entire office was all trained up and was out there in the cold, wind and rain… but we all had a great time. It’s a great team building exercise for the company. It was a complete success for us on many different fronts, but definitely from a team building aspect.”

A Fresh Cup

“I think we’re actually heading towards quite an exciting time for Coffex.” Mr Symons credits the people of Coffex as the most valuable asset to the future of the business, with plenty of fresh ideas to offer. “From a marketing perspective I know where I’m heading. Where I want to take Coffex is to really market and step up and be truthful about, ‘this is what we stand for, this is what we do and this is who we are.'”

Coffex will continue to implement its new environmentally friendly workplace operations. Throughout 2009 to 2010, Coffex made a number of changes to the way it does business to minimise impact on the environment by employing the services of a sustainability officer. There were many improvements made, including a switch to recycled paper and reusable stationary in the offices, installing energy saving lights and offsetting interstate flight carbon emissions.

Coffex Coffee will continue creating premium coffee blends to make customers ‘Choose Coffex, and drink Coffex’. “We’re very proud of the product,” says Mr Symons, “I think the vision going forward has to be about maintaining our standards, number one. We put all this effort in making this premium product but then if it’s not executed at the consumer level than everything can be lost.”

In the future, Coffex aims “to bring our espresso to more experiences… I think it’s important that we don’t shy away from the fact that we’re one of the big guys… Yeah, we’re one of the big guys and we roast a bloody good coffee.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

September 20, 2018, 5:30 AM AEST