Peoples Coffee is a small-scale roasting, wholesale and retail business specialising in fair trade organic coffee. We started in 2004 as coffee roasters with an aim to connect with the farmers who grew the coffee and to control the quality of as much of the process as possible.
We rented a 20-square-metre store in Newtown, Wellington and with a bunch of zealous friends laboured to fit out our small Roastery and Espresso Bar.
These were wonderful days of smallness and beauty, when each customer was known by name and everything was done by hand.
The coffee drinkers of Newtown embraced the little espresso revolution we were pumping out of our Constable Street store, but we were not without critics or sceptics. When we canvassed local roasters about fair trade we were generally met with sighs of disapproval and murmurs of poor quality or haphazard supply. While initially unsettling, this also emboldened us to make our ideals work within the cut-throat competition of the Wellington coffee market.
In mid-2005 we went entirely certified organic as well as fair trade. This made sense due to the similar market niche, but also because many fair trade coffee cooperatives (a number of which already used organic techniques) were heading to organic certification due to the increased price it would fetch.
In 2008 we opened our second espresso bar in a converted printer’s dockway, on Garrett Street, just off Cuba Street and opposite Glover Park.