Where does your passion for coffee come from?
It was really something I fell into. But just like a relationship, when I met coffee, it was love at first sight and I knew I’d found ‘the one!’ It’s exciting, it’s always evolving and there are so many innovations and opportunities. Coffee brings people together and I love that. The more I learned the more it consumed me and I have never looked back. Coffee has brought me many wonderful opportunities and now I hope to bring those opportunities to others- my staff, our customers, my family.
How long have you been involved with coffee?
I’ve been involved in coffee for over 15 years. I started at Lavazza and from there I found my passion and interest in coffee. I have travelled the world, seen amazing world class production facilities and learned to really appreciate coffee. But, it wasn’t until I spent time in Rwanda in a coffee plantation that I felt I really understood coffee. Up until then I treated it, like so many others, like a commodity. But standing in those fields, I saw the human aspect. It was then I saw people behind coffee and my perspective changed.
How often do we sit at the latest and greatest café and critique the coffee. Too hot, not strong enough, too acid etc… But we rarely stop and think about how many people lives that one cup of coffee has impacted on. That’s our difference. We want to challenge people to stop and actually think about what they are drinking and the impact that one cup of coffee is having on so many lives.
What role have you played in developing the capsule market in Australia?
During my time at Lavazza, I built the Lavazza capsule business in Australia (which is the A Modo Mio system). It was an amazing challenge and I really loved every step of that journey. I built a very strong knowledge in the capsule market which has taken me all over the world to speak at global coffee events on the capsules market both locally and on a global scale. I really found something that I was very passionate and interested in. The world of capsules is still an evolving market with such big opportunities. From biodegradable capsules, to new technology and innovations it is a very exciting space to be in. Our goal with St Remio is to have a capsules for every solution on the market. We are pretty close to that which is something I am proud of.
What’s your go to morning coffee?
I have spent so much time in Italy that an espresso is where it is at!
What has been your most proud moment since creating St Remio?
Running a business is really hard. It’s non-stop and all consuming. We are almost 4 years old now and I feel I have aged 50 years! But it’s a roller coaster ride I wouldn’t change. Seeing St Remio on the shelves at Coles was such an amazing moment for my wife and I. We’ve really poured our heart and soul into this and it’s so awesome to see your hard work sitting on the shelf of a supermarket nationally. I am very grateful that Coles believed in our brand as much as we do and that they can see the market opportunity. But even though we have hit the shelves, it really is only the beginning. I definitely swing for the fences and I make no apologies for that. If you don’t dream and back yourself in, how will you ever know what you are really capable of?
What was your favourite memory from visiting Rwanda?
It’s the people. They are amazing and warm and they work tirelessly. But we all share the same goal and that is to work for our families. That is the common thread. Language barrier or not, we all have the same fundamental drive and that is to provide for our families and give them the very best that we can. The female coffee producers were nothing short of inspiring. They changed my life and my outlook and for that I am very grateful. Being able to help them and build a legacy with the support of our loyal customers is something we as a team are very proud of. We have the power to have a positive impact – so why wouldn’t we take that opportunity to make a difference? Rwanda opened my eyes up to life, real life.
Where to next for the brand?
Like I said earlier, one thing about me is that I swing for the fences. Don’t underestimate our size, small is mighty! Small is flexible and nimble and we can MAKE. IT. HAPPEN! I want St Remio to continue to grow and build and I won’t stop till it is a household name. Imagine if shoppers believed in our brand as much as we did. Imagine the impact we can have on the women in Rwanda. Imagine what we can create together! I am inspired by this and it drives me each and every day. Where will we end up? Anyone who runs a business will say ‘ I don’t know’ but I do know that if we share our message people will want to be part of the journey with us.