I’ve always been impressed by Supreme’s coffee, their cool and innovative branding and strategies. Coffee Supreme actually started 21 years ago in New Zealand but has a really strong presence in both Melbourne (2002) and NZ after all these years - which by todays coffee-world standard of new roasteries that seem to open every other week is a testament to their progression, commitment and dedication to the industry. Still a small company with big impact, it now has two locations in Australia (Melbourne and Brisbane). They are slowly but surely expanding with style.
Justin Emerson, one of the owners, who is based in Melbourne has been with the company since he was at University over 15 years ago. Before joining Supreme, he used to pull shots and worked on coffee machines in local cafes to keep them running - back when there were no maintenance teams. Clearly a techy coffee-nerd it makes sense that he now runs the technical team and sales program, as well being instrumental in building many of the new supreme café fit outs around the country.
I’ve known Justin (and his partner Marsha) for years. I remember him well, not only because he had portafilter tattoo on his arm (before coffee tattoos were cool) but because when I was running Batch Espresso in East St Kilda years ago -any time I had a question about a machine, or the coffee – he’d be round to fix and explain pronto.
What strikes me about their company is the integration between NZ and Australia. They have a well-aligned aesthetic. Look at virtually any Coffee Supreme image or photo across Tasman, and the architectural and interior aesthetic is so clean and well thought out. Their design is incredible, which I think translates through to their coffee. They are always thinking of innovative ways to constantly improve.
I’ve also noticed they tend to hire only wicked people. When I asked Justin what has been the biggest support in his business he concurred they have a knack for attracting amazing staff who go the extra yards to make supreme awesome.
Because Justin is so immersed in the coffee industry, he often looks outside the coffee industry to find inspiration, but when looking within the industry he finds inspiration from others like Rocket in NZ, Maker in Melbourne, and Heart in the USA who he says are doing great things.
Their biggest goal as a company is to continuously source better beans and to get better machines and knowledge to keep it growing. The biggest obstacle he says is actually getting people to understand the importance of this, and pay more for better coffee and “not run a piece of shit cause its ‘free’ ”. I had to laugh because you can hear the passion in his voice – and that just makes me happy.
I found the roast to be a tiny bit darker than what we may be used to here in London at the moment, but it was super smooth and balanced with a couple of interesting zingy notes. Not bitter or dirty. It was a pleasure to drink. I had many people commenting on how round it was too.
Ooh ooh! If you’re looking to get Christmas coffee gifts, Coffee Supreme’s NZ counterpart ships internationally so get in there!
(Thanks so much to the Supreme Team for being part of TGITC's Pop Up Cafe here in London - and for the extra treats! Hope to see ya soon peeps! x)