Our Roasting Process
When it all began...
The Wild West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand has its own boutique coffee roaster hidden away in the bush near the edge of the Tasman Sea between the historic gold mining town of Charleston and the quaint fishing village of Westport. Called Kawatiri Coffee Roasting, it has been quietly roasting Fairtrade, Certified Organic coffee beans for about 14 years.
The founder, Tater Coppernoll, started roasting coffee when she migrated to the West Coast from Oregon in the USA: ‘Westport didn’t have much to offer in the way of fresh organic coffee when I first arrived, so I started roasting my own green beans.
Tater’s love of good coffee is in her genes. Her father, a gold miner in the wilds of Idaho—a “sourdough” as such men were called—roasted his coffee in a frying pan over an open fire. ‘His “Cowboy coffee” was hot enough to scald the hair off a black bear and strong enough to dissolve the business end of a spoon,’ says Tater. ‘He’d keep the brew going for several days, adding more coffee grounds and fresh spring water, all the while leaving the kettle in the coals so visitors could squat by the fire and enjoy a hot coffee.
Custom Built Roasting House
Bruce, Tater's partner and home-grown Kiwi engineering bloke, went on to design and build everything needed to roast world-class coffee. Kawatiri Coffee's roasting operation includes a traditional hand-crafted batch-style building. The inside of the building houses the roasting room with the roaster itself, a cooling system, ventilation and de-stoner. In the packing room looms the ingenious bagging machine with the bins of fresh roasted coffee filling the room with a delicious aroma. The set up has grown with the company and its equipment and protocol are constantly being reworked and rebuilt as demand dictates.
Kawatiri Coffee Roasting is not an city roaster. It is not even an urban roaster. Kawatiri Coffee Roasting is proudly all 'bush.' Outside the roaster is a small deck where coffee can be enjoyed while overlooking the beautiful coastal bush of the Tasman Sea and the Paparoa Mountains. From the lush Beech and Rimu forest trill the songs of New Zealand's beloved native birds, including Tuis and Bellbirds, and at night, the exotic call of Great Spotted Kiwi. The only other sound is the surf crashing against the limestone cliffs and dazzling sands not far from the roaster's front door.
Custom Built Roasting Machinery
Bruce designed and build our roasting machine, and his spirit is crafted into everything. The spoon we use to check our coffee during the roast has been with us for years: lovingly named Wizel Gummage.
Coffee imported from around the world
Here at Kawatiri Coffee Roasting, we source 100% Top Grade coffee from many of the coffee growing regions around the world. Because we don't think coffee should contain any pesticides or other nasty chemicals, we only roast Certified Organic green beans. We also choose to roast only Registered Fairtrade coffee because we think farmers the world over should get a fair deal for their hard work. By roasting Fairtrade coffee, we contribute to the social equability and environmental awareness in many farming societies worldwide. Our Registration ID for Fairtrade is 6178. The International Organic Certification Organizations we deal with include: NASAA Certified Organic, OCIACertified, and BSC OKO-GARANTIE GMBH
Registered Fairtrade & Certified Organic
We only use Registered Fairtrade and Certified Organic sources for all our beans.
A whole lot of hard work
As the business snowballed, Tater’s son Buck joined the roastery full time. With a passion for living off the grid on the West Coast, sustainability, growing his own food, and meeting new people, he was a natural choice. ‘Working in a beautiful location is fantastic, and I’m convinced roasting coffee in unpolluted Tasman Sea breezes makes it tastier.’ After a long apprenticeship, Buck was promoted to master roaster but can still be found offering in-store tastings all over the South Island.
The only roast on the coast makes it to the top of Mount Everest
But Kawatiri Coffee has made it a lot further than that—all the way to the top of the world, in fact. A neighbour, John Apps, fellow coffee lover, and a doctor at Mount Everest Base Camp, arranged for Mike Roberts of Adventure Consultants, Wanaka, to take the coffee with him to the top of Everest.
The roastery now supplies cafes, country stores and supermarkets from Northland to Dunedin, as well as a loyal international customer base via mail order.
A whole lot of hard work
Surging demand required Kawatiri to upgrade from its original kit to a 25-kilogram roaster designed and built by Tater’s partner, Bruce Thomas. Displaying classic Kiwi ingenuity, the roaster is fashioned from both new and salvaged materials as well as plenty of No. 8 wire, as is the recently completed new roasting shed.
- Kawatiri Coffee Roasters is owned by Tater Coppernoll and Buck Couchman and is based at Virgin Flat Road, 21 KM from Westport
- It roasts only Registered Fairtrade Certified Organic coffee beans from around the world, including, African, Indonesian, and South American Regions
- Available from New World and Fresh Choice supermarkets and independent stores and cafés through the South Island. Mail order directly though
kawatiri.coffee website store for New Zealand or International delivery options.
A legend in the worlds of coffee and skydiving, Tater has been roasting on the coast since 2004.
A bit rough around the edges, but a natural No. 8 wire engineer when he's not skiving off fishing, hunting and rafting.
Easily taken advantage of by puppies and small children, Buck wanders the country with a surfboard and diving gear claiming to be our sales rep.