New Zealand's best coffee is roasted in New Plymouth, according to the judges of this year's coffee awards.
Coffee brand Icoco was announced as the supreme winner of the 10th annual Huhtamaki New Zealand Coffee Awards for its Ethiopian Heights blend.
The Waiwhakaiho roastery was also awarded a gold medal in the organic blend category, two silvers in the ethically-traded and New Zealand roasted espresso categories and a bronze award for supermarket espresso.
Manager Jonathan Kirby said it was the roastery's third year of winning medals in the competition, but the first supreme award.
Icoco is owned by husband-and-wife team Joop and Carmen Verbeek, who also own IncaFe, which they established in 2003.
They took over Icoco, established in Auckland in 1998, five years ago.
"We intended to convert it to IncaFe, but it hasn't happened yet," Mr Verbeek said.
As well as the IncaFe and Icoco brands, the company imports, roasts and distributes "private label" coffee for other companies. It uses only organic, fair trade beans and the company is carbon-zero certified.
"We pay carbon credits that go towards riparian planting in New Zealand," said the Amsterdam-born, former engineer who has lived in New Zealand for 13 years.
Mr Verbeek said the couple import fair trade beans directly, mostly from Peru and put money towards childcare and sustainability in the regions where their coffee is grown.
"You become more passionate about these places when you go there. They are beautiful places to visit."
Their refurbished, German-made, cast-iron drum-roaster can roast 60kg of beans at a time. With other roasters onsite, the company is able to produce 1000 tonnes of coffee a year.
IncaFe won two bronzes in the supermarket plunger and supermarket espresso categories and New Plymouth's Wildcat won bronze in the supermarket plunger category.
Susan Strongman is a Witt journalism student.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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