Inside Kokako's coffee roastery with Mike Murphy

by Kate Richards / 26 August, 2018
ArticleGalleryModule - Kokako

Inside Kokako coffee, the ethically-minded coffee company.

Just as owners sometimes look like their pets, Kōkako Coffee managing director Mike Murphy looks a little like his roastery: slight, minimalist and just a bit geeky. “I literally wrote in my diary last night, ‘Nice clothes for photoshoot,’” he says. But despite that note-to-self, he’s dressed in the same denim shirt he always wears, with a thermos-shaped lapel pin worn like a barista badge of honour.

Murphy lives round the corner from this converted 1970s engineering warehouse in the central Auckland suburb of Mt Eden, where Kōkako’s close-knit team roast the beans they supply across the country, so he walks to work when he can. He walks a lot, in fact, for inspiration as well as exercise. “It allows me to be inquisitive.”

Some of the ideas he’s had – most of which centre on caring for other people and the environment – have come to life at the organic roastery: there are bike racks fixed to the wall to encourage staff to cycle to work (plus showers out the back), several doors were lifted from a house being demolished, and the walls are clad in fast-growing, locally milled New Zealand poplar.

Among the initiatives the company supports is the Rotoehu Ecological Trust, a conservation group dedicated to protecting the North Island kōkako population in Rotoehu Forest, in the Bay of Plenty. So the eco-friendly ethos is evident, but it’s not all about being green. Murphy thinks working this way is simply “better business”.

A source of real pride are the images dotted around the walls, shot by Auckland-based photographer Josh Griggs during a trip to Papua New Guinea. Every 18 months, a few members of the Kōkako team make a pilgrimage to the developing nation, where the bulk of the beans used in their popular Aotea blend are grown. The aim, says Murphy, is to ensure workers at the Fairtrade co-operative are getting a fair deal, and to help teach them about optimum bean processing – all the way from coffee plant to coffee cup. 

Gallery - Kokako in Papua New Guinea:

ArticleGalleryModule - Kokako PNG

This was published in the June 2018 issue of North & South.

Latest

Daffodils is a charming, bittersweet and tuneful piece of Kiwiana
103864 2019-03-22 16:20:19Z Movies

Daffodils is a charming, bittersweet and tuneful p…

by Russell Baillie

Aren’t pop musicals meant to be all sweetness and light? No, not if Daffodils is anything to go by.

Read more
Bill Ralston: The keyword is tolerance – even of those we disagree with
103852 2019-03-22 12:37:05Z Social issues

Bill Ralston: The keyword is tolerance – even of t…

by Bill Ralston

Neither evasive nor hate-filled words are needed in the Christchurch mosque-killings aftermath.

Read more
How young New Zealanders are demonstrating their inclusiveness
103832 2019-03-22 09:47:50Z Social issues

How young New Zealanders are demonstrating their i…

by The Listener

Kiwi students provide an inspirational example of how to embrace diversity in the wake of – and even before – the Christchurch attack.

Read more
I never thought I could be in danger over my beliefs – until Friday 15 March
103824 2019-03-22 00:00:00Z Social issues

I never thought I could be in danger over my belie…

by Fatumata Bah

I heard the stories and anecdotes of racism faced by my fellow sisters in hijab, but it was never at the forefront of my mind every day.

Read more
How to enhance your dining experience – with water
103174 2019-03-22 00:00:00Z Dining

How to enhance your dining experience – with water…

by Metro

A stunning dining experience isn’t just about food and wine. Water plays a big part too.

Read more
Facebook won't give up its insidious practices without a fight
103856 2019-03-22 00:00:00Z Tech

Facebook won't give up its insidious practices wit…

by Peter Griffin

Facebook came under fire for its response to the live-streaming of the Christchurch terror attack, but it's digital nudging that's also concerning.

Read more
In photos: The world unites in solidarity with Christchurch
103800 2019-03-21 15:36:46Z World

In photos: The world unites in solidarity with Chr…

by Lauren Buckeridge

Countries around the world have put on a show of solidarity for the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

Read more
The tangled path to terrorism
103777 2019-03-21 09:59:55Z Psychology

The tangled path to terrorism

by Marc Wilson

The path that leads people to commit atrocities such as that in Christchurch is twisting and unpredictable, but the journey often begins in childhood.

Read more