Our Roaster in Residence this month is Emporio Coffee from Wellington. They had their 20th birthday this year, so we thought we’d catch up with Eric Heycoop, Emporio, Coffee co-owner (with Miriam Heycoop), about how they’ve been “keeping it real” over the past two decades.
What espresso coffee will you be featuring this month ?
We’re featuring our Espresso Blend. It’s a well rounded espresso blend with medium acidity , good body and a sweet finish. Hints of roasted nut, chocolate, cinnamon.
What is the recommended recipe?
50ml from 18grams at 28-30 second extraction.
You were one of the four original Wellington Coffee Roasters back in 2000 …
Miriam and I were a young couple with two kids under three when we started off with just a small five kilo roaster. We were based at the bottom of Tory St in Wellington. A few years on, in 2005, we’d outgrown these premises and moved to our current site in Abel Smith St, just off Cuba St. It’s a great neighbourhood and we have both an espresso bar and our roastery onsite. We’ve been really lucky; we’ve weathered a global financial crisis, 20 years of growing competition from coffee start-ups and, more recently, the coronavirus lockdown.
Emporio is 20 years old this year – what’s been the biggest highlight over the last 2 decades?
Developing collaborative relationships with our suppliers and clients is the ongoing highlight of our business but I will always remember our 2015 trip Nicaragua. We went to learn where our coffee comes and meet with the growers. We took the whole family so our children also had an amazing opportunity to experience a very different way of life . Seeing first-hand how well the workers are looked after meant a lot to us in our business. On our return to New Zealand, Miriam and I continued to support the local school, sending supplies and gifts.
How did you celebrate your birthday?
We’re continuing to celebrate our 20th throughout 2020 with giveaways and promotions. We’ve worked with Wellington artist and designer Jacqui Colley to create a line of merchandise that marks our birthday—Jacqui has produced a wonderful 20thbirthday motif for us.
Last year, we purchased the Loring Kestral 35 Smart roaster and we’re really excited about the opportunities this is providing for our business. The Loring is the latest technology in coffee roasters and a leader in sustainable, smokeless roasting. Already sourcing ethical beans, the Loring is taking us into its next stage, ensuring the beans are sustainably roasted. It’s a huge technological advance from our old Petroncini roaster.
Emporio is the official coffee sponsor for the Wellington Phoenix. What keeps the Emporio team active?
A love of the outdoors is definitely a theme at Emporio. Miriam is an avid trail runner and also enjoys jumping on her mountain bike. We’re lucky to have a place in Wanaka so we often get down there to catch up with family and explore the beautiful landscape. Simon is into tramping, surfing, biking, spear-fishing—you name it. I’m more of a motorhead, I love hot rods and own a 1932 Ford, but I’m also great at being support crew for the others’ events!
You guys have been using La Marzocco machines since the start, which machine is your favourite?
We have always used Linea classics. We have had a few over the years, a number of which have been stripped back to their bare bones and rebuilt. We have a 2 group Linea which has been around the country starting in caravan (the dinosaur) at the top of treble cone Ski field. It now has pride of place in our training room in Wellington.
What’s your go to coffee order when you’re at a café?
Long black – can’t beat it! I’m also drinking quite a bit of soft brew at the moment too.
What tips would you give to a home barista just getting started?
Invest in a good quality grinder. Get the basics right first, concentrate on producing great shots and silky milk. Forget about the latte art for now, it takes lots of practice and isn’t the definition of a good coffee.