Kitchen Tips

How this Taranaki coffee roastery has taken the world by storm

Whether you take a long black, flat white or soy/trim/triple latte with cream, every caffeine-dependant soul can relate to one thing - the love of coffee. Meet Ozone Coffee Roasters, the Kiwi business turning that love into a worldwide community.

By Harriet Keown
Ozone Coffee Roasters have one purpose: to build friendships and community through a shared love of coffee. From their humble beginnings in a small New Plymouth roastery to their now-global presence, with eateries, roasteries and wholesale subscriptions spanning Auckland to London, the goal has remained simple. It all comes down to brewing a good, sustainable, ethical cup of joe.
Off the back of the success their first Auckland eatery/roastery has experienced since opening in early 2019, we talk to the Ozone team about their sustainability wins, how they maintain their relationship with bean suppliers, and what we can expect from the next chapter in their story.

Q: What is the story behind Ozone Coffee Roasters?

Ozone Coffee began with just three passionate people roasting out of a small shop in a Fitzroy, New Plymouth in 1998. Today, not much has changed, besides gaining a lot more friends around the world. It's these friends and these encounters that have helped Ozone become what it is today - a community of the like-minded and inspired.
We are coffee and hospitality experts, with locations in New Plymouth, London and Auckland. We have a bean store and roastery in New Plymouth, and an all day every day eatery and roastery in Grey Lynn, Auckland. Our business also has a wholesale division where we roast and supply out of both New Plymouth and Auckland to cafes and businesses all across New Zealand – with our London team doing the same throughout the UK and Europe. We also offer online subscriptions for business and residential customers throughout NZ and the UK too.

Q: How did your approach differ when opening each of your roastery spaces?

We strive to build supportive and engaged communities and our approach doesn't differ no matter where we are in the world. Whether we're in a town of 70,000 (New Plymouth) or in a bustling city of 8 million (London), building long-lasting friendships take time. We've created a model which is reliant on building a regular customer base, and work to build genuine and authentic connections with these people over a period of time.
From our most recent openings, we've tried to be more considered around the design of our spaces and the shape of our offering to fit the territory. But throughout, it's always about an all day, every day space that supports building new friendships and a sense of community.
The open-plan kitchen at Ozone's Auckland eatery and roastery allows guests to see their meal being made from scratch.

Q: Why is it important to you to have your roastery and eatery offerings under the same roof?

Coffee and people are at the core of what we do - and coffee is the conduit for our building relationships. Having an eatery alongside the roastery helps facilitate that union.
We understand that guests want to see where their food is coming from – and seeing your meal being prepared from scratch strengthens the connection between us and our customers, and our customers to their food or coffee. Transparency to the process is key in designing our spaces – there aren't any additives or detractions. We roast with care and attention, and we create our dishes with care and attention too.
Nathan Taylor on the re-conditioned 1960s UG22 Probat at Ozone's Auckland roastery.

Q: How do you strengthen and support relationships with your bean suppliers?

We place a huge importance on regularly visiting as many of our farmers as possible at origin. We work very closely with our producers and we have built strong and lasting relationships with each one of them. We trade through a relationship, sustainability and quality model - rather than rely on the certification and differential model.
In our experience, while certified coffee has its merits, we choose to work with those who are producing and supplying the highest quality of product, who have excellent sustainable practices and are socially responsible to their workers. We talk with our producers about the real cost of production at origin and work out the price required to make coffee production possible, removing them from the volatile commodity market. We want to be a company that helps businesses grow with us - and for the sustainability of their livelihood and their specialty coffee, we pay well over and above the cost of production prices.
The Ozone team at Finca Cerro Azul in the Siguatepeque coffee growing region of Honduras in March, 2019.

Q: Why do you think it’s important that people know the stories behind the coffee they drink?

We take great care in telling the stories behind our coffee because it demonstrates how our people are connected to the coffee producers we work with, and showcases our understanding of the sustainability of the products we purchase.
Every time we visit origin, we spend time assessing the economic, social and environmental impacts, and undertake a self-audit. We want to ensure that our relationships are built on a sustainable-sourcing model - where we work with the same producers year on year, working with them to improve their product, to grow together and to develop a partnership over time. We aren't after the best deal, but want to help build communities at origin, to ensure workers are paid a liveable wage, to have visibility into the environmental impacts and changes taking place (and work with producers to try and mitigate risks ), and to ensure that we can communicate the value of coffee as a speciality item.
These assessments, audits and impact reports encourage transperancy between us and our customers. Our stories and partnerships with producers are extremely important, and ensure our customers know where their flavour in the cup is coming from.
Green beans drying on a patio at Origin (Central South America).

Q: What are the sustainable aspects of your business that you are most proud of?

One of the big 'wins' for us at Ozone is the buy-in we have from every part of our crew in making our business as sustainable as possible. Our direct trade model on the wholesale side is built around betterment at origin across quality in the cup and the lives of the workers on the farm. In the retail space we are focused on working with like-minded locals to create an offering that truly looks after our planet and our people.
We also have a dedicated Sustainability Co-ordinator, who is also our Exec Chef, Joe O'Connell. Joe facilitates the process of making us as holistically sustainable as possible, championing local suppliers and working to minimise waste as much as we can.
Exec Chef and Sustainability Coordinator, Joe O'Connell.

Q: Why should Kiwis be supporting local, sustainable businesses?

We have an inherent love for our planet in NZ and there is a local option for almost everything or certainly a close alternative. By supporting sustainable producers and businesses we can prove the viability of operating in a responsible way and hopefully influence industries to move in the right direction. We vote with our wallets - so go and support Kiwis doing the right thing!
The Auckland team enjoying the sunshine outside the eatery.

Q: What can we expect to see in the future from Ozone Coffee Roasters?

We are really excited to have just opened our second London roastery and eatery in Bethnal Green, London. We've pursued a second London space off the back of the success of first roastery and eatery in Shoreditch. We needed a larger wholesale production facility and office space and following on from Auckland, our new London location has been built with community top of mind, offering another 100-seat eatery as a space for everyone. We're really excited that we've been able to take learnings from every project on our journey. Where Auckland took influence from our original London site in Shoreditch, we have more recently taken inspiration from Auckland as we developed Bethnal Green.
Ozone's newest eatery and roastery in Bethnal Green, London.
Ozone Coffee Roasters
18 Westmoreland St West
Grey Lynn, Auckland
Mon-Tues, 7am-9:30pm
Wed-Fri, 7am-10pm
Sat, 8am-10pm
Sun, 8am-9:30pm