Campos Coffee talks Melbourne expansion and future growth plans

Campos Coffee

Campos Coffee Commercial Director John Ronchi on the opening of its new flagship café in Melbourne, and why this is only the beginning of the roaster’s expansion plans.

It’s not every day an Australian specialty coffee roaster celebrates its 21st year of operation with the opening of a new flagship café, but then again, Campos Coffee is not just any roaster.

Campos Coffee Commercial Director John Ronchi says the launch of its Victorian flagship café concept cements the company’s desire to introduce more people to great coffee, adding to its small but growing network of cafés operating under the Campos banner in Australia.

“We’re so excited to be up and running. Like anyone who’s opened a café, a lot of hard work and man hours goes into these openings, so to be able to immerse ourselves in the local community by offering great coffee, what more can you ask for?” John says.

When looking for the Melbourne flagship site, Campos Coffee chose the hustle and bustle of South Yarra’s Chapel Street. The location is at the heart of Melbourne’s historic, architectural, and creative culture precinct, which is undergoing a post-Covid renaissance.

The roaster is excited for planned collaborations with local makers and artists set to create a cosy hub for Melbournians to convene.

“First and foremost, we want the café to have a real community feel, so it’s important to us to support the locals in any way we can,” John says.

The café’s walls will display a rotating selection of local artists’ works, changing every three to six months – beginning with clay tablet and wall sculptures by Victorian ceramicist Cassie Hansen. Campos has also partnered with local ceramic studio, Pot Dispensary, to create a bespoke range of cups for the new store.

“Cafés are often thought of as being the heart and soul of a local community – a place for people to connect with each other over a great cup of coffee. Our vision for the Chapel Street flagship is to not only serve an exceptional coffee experience in a beautiful setting, but also to connect with and support the community,” John says.

“Melbourne is often thought of as the spiritual home of coffee in Australia and we want to bring a flagship café to help us build an authentic, credible reputation and be a great Melbourne café for coffee lovers to visit.”

John Ronchi is the Commercial Director of Campos Coffee.

Partnering with interior design agency, Guru Projects, the café is inspired by the nostalgia and warm colour tones of traditional European espresso bars, rich in detail, yet pared back and refined, exuding a contemporary elegance in its simplicity. ​

“Each of our flagships has its own style. The Chapel Street site doesn’t have hundreds of square metres of space or an adjoining kitchen, for us it’s simply about showcasing the coffee,” John says.

“The extra space we have upstairs is also available to train our café customers and host public events for local sports teams or the local community to use for meetings and events.”

To celebrate the opening, Campos Coffee held a Free Coffee Week from 28 to 4 February. John stepped in on the last day to lend a helping hand to the exhausted baristas and was completely overwhelmed by the positive response from consumers and high foot traffic.

“I arrived at 8am on Saturday and, apart from stopping to go to the bathroom once, didn’t look up from the coffee machine until 4pm,” he says.

The Chapel Street flagship café is serving the coffee roaster’s signature Superior Blend, alongside a range of rotating espresso blends and single origin filter coffees. A retail offering will also present a select range of brewing equipment and branded items, as well as providing a grinding service to those buying beans to use at home.

“The Campos Superior Blend is our original café blend and what we’re famous for. While we look forward to serving this, we’re also excited to introduce customers to the full breadth of delicious coffees we have on offer,” John says.

Each month, the current Champion Australian Coffee Roaster – awarded by the Australian International Coffee Awards, twice – hand selects a new single origin, offering interesting new flavour profiles to keep customers on their toes. Throughout April, Campos Coffee will offer an El Dorado single origin from Ecuador, featuring a bright citrus aroma with a delicate yellow box honey-like sweetness.

“In the cup, [the coffee] contains a really interesting tropical fruit and floral profile dominated by lychee and jasmine. As the coffee cools, it’s sweetness will become more pronounced and floral, like fresh maple syrup. It’s very clean, very transparent and has a nice long aftertaste,” John says.

He adds that every good cup of coffee should have a delicious morsel to accompany it, and Campos has partnered with Glen Iris bakery and patisserie AM Bakehouse to offer a rotating menu of freshly baked sweet and savoury sandwiches, and pastry delights.

“Vegan and gluten-free options from Mahadeva’s Kitchen will also be on the menu for customers to enjoy,” John says.

A taste for growth

Founded in Sydney, Australia, in 2002, Campos Coffee has become one of Australia’s most loved and celebrated coffee brands. With a focus on quality from start to finish, from the relationship with the coffee growers – using beans grown ethically, sourced sustainably and with care – to the final brew presented to the customer.

Presently, Campos Coffee supplies coffee beans to about 700 cafés across the country in its iconic Campos green cups, in-store at select Woolworths’ nationally, and at its three flagship cafés along the east coast – the original flagship in Newtown, New South Wales, one in Newstead, Queensland, and the newly opened venue in South Yarra, Victoria. According to John, Campos Coffee’s reach is only going to span further.

“Our mission is to serve Campos Coffee to all Australians, wherever they are, however they like it. This year, we’re really focused on supporting and growing our café network across the country and we’re enjoying getting to know local Melbourne communities in the process. We also want to make Campos coffee more easily accessible for people to enjoy at home by expanding our presence in grocery stores in partnership with Woolworths,” says John.

This year marks Campos Coffee’s 21 year in business.

Despite Campos Coffee’s expansion, John is most proud of the brand’s internal growth, and says he has enjoyed watching each member of his team climb the company ladder and take senior roles.

“Whether it’s an employee starting out as a delivery driver and becoming a business development manager, or a barista becoming a roaster and then a green bean buyer, I’ll always be very proud to be involved with this team. I’m very lucky to be surrounded by talented people,” he says.

“On a personal level, I’ve also loved helping café owners succeed. Watching someone open their first café and being able to give them advice on how to set up and create a great community café that turns into a successful business, is so rewarding to be directly involved in that process.”

John has worked with Campos Coffee for 15 years, and throughout his tenure says one brand promise still rings true for the business today, and that’s its commitment to consistency.

“Words I live by is that you’re only as good as the last coffee you made. Campos has enjoyed the same blends, coffee machines, and partnerships since its inception, and we strive to make every latte, ristretto, flat white, and everything in between, the same way,” he says.

“We want every customer to love coffee as much as we do, and we believe our consistent, specialty coffee offering is the best way to achieve this.”

The flagship café is located on 572 Chapel Street in South Yarra, Victoria, and is open from Monday to Friday 7am to 3:00pm and weekends 8am to 4pm.

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This article appears in the April 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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