Last but certainly not least for our Commercial Bay meet the team series, is our coffee bar manager, Sam (one of three Sams in the wider Kōkako team, not confusing at all...) We've known Sam for years, watching him work his magic at Kōkako outpost The Storehouse and our favourite burger joint in Mount Maunganui, Palace, before he made his way up to Auckland last year and joined the the team soon after. Read on for our chat with Sam about his delicious first coffee experiences and his Kōkako journey.
What is your first memory of coffee?
Flatting in Point Chev, 1.5 scoops of nescafe, 2 sugars & 2 milk. x 3.
How did you first get into the coffee industry, and what do you love the most about it?
Slinging flat whites on my friends coffee cart in Titirangi circa 2009 which ended up turning in Mt Atkinson Coffee.
You've been a part of the wider Kōkako family for a while, can you tell us a bit about your journey with us?
I started a Cafe in Taupō called The Storehouse in 2013 with a good friend Brad. Not long after opening and seriously struggling, we realised we needed a better partnership with a new coffee company. After searching day and night we stumbled upon this (at the time) small cafe and roastery in Grey Lynn called Kōkako cafe. After a few phone calls, a few long blacks, and meetings Mike and the team, we decided Kōkako was the right fit for us. It's all history after that, we had a great working relationship with Kōkako and eventually sold the cafe in 2017 (and it continues to be one of our outposts, we're stoked we could continue working with the current owners!)
And what made you want to work at our Commercial Bay coffee bar?
I have been a huge fan of Kōkako for years – I thought it was a great opportunity to come work for a company that I hugely admired, and I love working with people who are very passionate about what they are doing.
When you're not at work, what would we find you doing?
Cooking, baking bread and eating out.
What's your favourite coffee?
A single Shot Aotea Piccolo made by Yurie.
And when you're not drinking coffee, what do you drink?
By volume, it would be water, beer, whisky in that order.