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Why the tourism and accommodation sector in NZ is moving to sustainable specialty coffee

November 16, 2022

Why the tourism and accommodation sector in NZ is moving to sustainable specialty coffee

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There’s a big change happening in the local tourism and accommodation sector in New Zealand that’s creating a superior coffee experience for guests. New Zealand has long been seen as an innovator in the global specialty coffee scene; with more roasters per capita than most other countries, you don’t have to go far to find a well constructed cup of coffee in cafes in most towns and cities within Aotearoa. 

Your local hotel or accommodation coffee experience can often vary from an instant coffee sachet tucked in with the tea bags on top of the bar fridge to an espresso served in the lobby with imported beans that might have been in the hopper for longer than is ideal. With domestic tourism at an all time high and NZ welcoming international visitors it’s time to showcase not only the best in accommodation but also provide guests with an exceptional coffee. 

We spoke to four progressive accommodation providers who think differently, and explain why they’ve chosen to work with Kōkako Organic Coffee in their establishments and the positive impact this is having on their guests' experience.
This included Adam Murphy, Co-founder of The Huts Ahipara, Stephanie Piner, Hotel Manager at Ebb-Dunedin, Irene Edwards, Marketing Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka, and Andy Howson of The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp.

The in-room coffee experience at Ebb-Dunedin features our Kalita range.
Image credit – Ebb-Dunedin

So why did these forward thinking brands choose to partner with NZ owned Kōkako? 

For Andrew Howson of The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp it was always about a considered alignment, which included “brand values, product quality, personality, integrity, service delivery, beauty, community building, stewardship of our environmental impact, an appreciation for start-up challenges and a vision for a successful future”

For The Huts, initially it was the organic coffee beans which fitted their organic breakfast offering and a quest to showcase only organic, spray free or local products to guests. It was the same deal for DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka who had done extensive research prior to opening, seeking out Kōkako for its high quality and superb taste.

At Ebb-Dunedin, Hotel Manager Stephanie Piner said, “we are conscious of our impact; we carefully choose suppliers and products that best fit both our beliefs and our customers. Kōkako Organic Coffee hit the mark perfectly, offering a top-notch quality product and its commitment to change within the industry.”

At The Huts, you'll find a well-stocked, locally-sourced pantry.
Image credit –  Claire Mossong

Now that our borders have fully reopened, how does having a NZ owned coffee brand such as Kōkako in your establishment add to the unique experience of your offering?

From day one, The Huts in Ahipara have gone the extra distance, sourcing loose leaf organic botanical tea, having their beds crafted locally in Kaiwaka, and grinding the Kōkako coffee for guests on the day of arrival.

At DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka Marketing Manager, Irene noted that their Executive Chef, Mark Southon “has done an incredible job with our menu, incorporating ingredients that are locally sourced and being able to state that even our coffee is New Zealand owned just takes that customer journey to another level.”

At Ebb-Dunedin they take the ritual of making a morning coffee seriously. “Offering a pour-over filter coffee option to our guests was very important, reminding them to slow down and enjoy the moment” said Stephanie. “To do better for our local and broader community, to offer sustainable and nurturing products to our guests and customers is incredibly important.”

Having a New Zealand supplier (with global awareness) was one of the mandatory requirements for The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp. “Thinking about tourism on a global scale, we see New Zealand as quite the team, and we want to make sure we all are winners on that particular stage. Delivering Kōkako coffee adds meaningful and valuable stories to our business, along with some classic Kiwi understated excellence, and humility!

All-day communal dining at The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp wood-fired restaurant.
Image credit –  The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp

Consumers have never been more conscious of sustainability in their purchasing decisions; how does having Kōkako available align with your broader sustainability and procurement commitments?

Adam from The Huts noted that, “we are a small business but we like to think we have a big purpose. We try to illustrate to guests that you don't need big spaces to live, you don't need wifi all the time and you don't need TV to entertain you. Instead we put emphasis on the things you do need such as great tasting organic food, good books and music. Kōkako reinforces this through not only a great tasting coffee but leading the industry in sustainability initiatives.”

The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp is building towards a completely regenerative business model whereby the act of doing business directly contributes towards improvement of the quality of our waterways, our soils, our air, and the food we grow. “Kōkako's credentials in environmental and social impact ensure we can be more than comfortable buying their product as it is contributing to not only happy taste buds... but a far more meaningful outcome for people and the planet.

The horseshoe bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka serves up quality drops — morning to night.
Image credit — DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka

You all provide Kōkako for your guests to brew in their rooms; how has this helped to elevate the customer experience and what feedback have you had from your guests?

DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka sees the Kōkako coffee brand as giving their customers that extra little touch of indulgence, with guests often asking where they source their coffee. At Ebb-Dunedin they love the pour over filter coffee offering to guests, noting it’s a wonderful way to enjoy your morning coffee. “The feedback has been fantastic, it’s an incredibly gentle way to make and enjoy coffee.”

The Huts offer two brew methods for guests to use; either French press or Chemex, accompanying this with tasting notes of each coffee so they can purchase more when they get home. Brand recognition has been a source of smiles for The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp. "Oh you have Kōkako!" is always great to hear from guests. 

Pouring out a fresh brew at 
Image credit – Ebb-Dunedin

Globally and now in New Zealand we are seeing a move away from commodity coffee in progressive accommodation establishments to more local, specialty coffee that delivers a better customer experience; do you see this trend continuing?

At DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka they’ve found that coffee becomes a very engaging talking point for team members and customers, empowering them to begin conversations that elevate their guest experience. Adam Murphy from The Huts sums it up best; “The fact that more accommodation businesses haven't done it sooner for both their marketing and their guest experience is crazy!”

For Andrew Howson of The Great Glenorchy Alpine Base Camp, it's all about enhancing the customer experience: “Our life's photo albums are full of our favourite personal experiences. If there's any way that a business can move the dial on sculpting a better customer experience – you explore that avenue, coffee included.

If you’re in the accommodation sector and are keen to dial up the coffee offering in your establishment, the team at Kōkako would love to have a chat. Join these four progressive operators and plenty more who have discovered how a great sustainable specialty coffee offer can make your guest experience better than your neighbours. 


For more information

Contact: Zoe Fawcett, Sales and Hospitality Manager, Kōkako Organic Coffee Roasters - zoe@kokako.co.nz or 09 379 2868.


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