A fascinating and enlightening 2-hour meeting with Matthew Mills including a tour of the modern coffee roasting and processing plant.
Masteroast is fundamentally an aggregator, ordering the coffee from source, most of it green bean, and roasting the coffee in one of 4 different sized roasters according to client specifications, in whole bean, ground, and 6 other variety types. Masteroast is not a wholesaler as they produce no coffee brands under their own name. They roast coffee for Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose, large national coffee shop chains, as well as smaller independent retail outlets and cafes. Masteroast also provides a variety of bagging, packaging, and types such as pods and coffee bags on different processing lines.
- Regarding the question surrounding the roasting of CoopeVictoria’s new “Esencia de Mujer”, Matthew informed me that Masteroast already roast 7 other female producer coffees for the UK market. CoopeVictoria commercial and marketing department would have to produce a video, online material, and promotional pamphlets indicating how their “Esencia de Mujer”, is different to other feminist coffees produced in Central America and the specific characteristics of this coffee in terms of acidity, colour, flavour, and other cupping notes. Matthew reiterated his offer to give CoopeVictoria a Promotional Day at Peterborough, later in the year inviting senior buyers and managers from UK national food industries, retail outlets and coffee chains to cup and taste their new women’s coffee. Masteroast has Fairtrade accreditation as well as Rainforest Alliance, Soil Association and EU environmental certification. Traceability is all done through barcodes to the amount batch, harvest bean type, when pciked roasted etc
- I gave Matthew Mills a bag of the Roast Lab Grecia – High Wycombe Celebration Coffee whole beans for his research department to accurately test the roasting quality to allow precise replication for any further orders. The smallest quantity his company can roast is 10 kilos of raw bean coffee, in any style or format we like. 10 kilos would probably generate around 30 – 35 bags of 250g of roasted coffee.
- Increasing the volume of CoopeVictoria Coffee sold in the UK
Discussions appeared to focus on 3 main alternatives, each with their own variations.
- Wycombe For Fairtrade has the Grecia – High Wycombe Fairtrade Towns Celebration Coffee roasted at Masteroast, with same or different label and sell independently as Masteroast is not a wholesaler or retailer.
- Find a larger, independent roaster who is a wholesaler as well with a larger client base and retail and /or catering contract outlets (Horsham Coffee Roasters) selling our coffee online as well as locally around High Wycombe.
- Find a larger, independent roaster who is a wholesaler with a large online client base but also with a sizable retail and catering contract outlets such as Kingdom Coffee, who have hundreds of churches, local authorities, independent cafes, and universities signed up. This can provide volume on top of the quality. Most are likely to have coffee machines hired from the wholesaler. (Darren has his coffee roasted by Masteroast.)
- Increase sales of CoopeVictoria “Monte Camejo” and or “Esencia Mujer” by involving Kingdom Coffee in Reading. This would utilize his hundreds of churches, independent coffee shops, local councils, food industry machines, colleges, and universities, in addition to his large online home sales base. Kingdom Coffee is Fairtrade certified along with the roaster, Masteroast. The coffee would be processed according to the customer’s precise specifications. CoopeVictoria would need to provide as much information as possible from their marketing department as to the attributes of their feminine coffee brand and why it is different from all the other female producers coffee in the UK market e.g. bean type, acidity, washed, SCA score, flavour etc..
- Darren needs to be involved in the next phase if Wycombe For Fairtrade is serious about upscaling the volume of coffee. It has to be good as margins in the UK coffee market are tight and expectations have to be realistic or tie in with a major brand name e.g. Starbucks. Idea not to spend too much money on marketing. Accessing the food services market is another potential area of opportunity in offices and shops. Cafeology (Fairtrade) have done this with sports centres. Find out how well the RoastLab produced Celebration Coffee sold in the retail outlets, like the Peterlee Farm shop, The Meat Hook, Flowerland etc. Sales and customer feedback.
Somebody must run the brand, cannot just throw money at it, have to get new coffees noticed in the tea and coffee trade journals. Also, someone must be the driver to sell it to wholesalers, retailers corporate and supermarket buyers as well as directly to the consumer. Costa Rican coffees have a long history, a good reputation, and are much respected.. Matthew’s experience of selling “green bean” coffee is not too difficult.
Mike King – Chairman, Wycombe For Fairtrade