When moving a venue, one typically moves farther than down the road. But for Little Drum Coffee, the location was perfect.
“I saw our neighbours moving out one day and just thought it was a great opportunity,” says Charlie Self, Founder of Little Drum Coffee. “Moving happened in a couple of weeks and was a little bit crazy, but I think that sums me up: controlled chaos.”
The shift in venues, however, was more than just a change in scenery.
The new roastery has three times the space enabling it to set up a brew bar, reflecting Little Drum Coffee’s growing demand and community focus.
“[Moving] was a great opportunity to really showcase what we do and how we do it. Customers can now come in, have some coffee, and hang out,” says Charlie. “We’re still roasting in view of the customers, but the move gave us a chance to split the space, so we are no longer are on top of each other. Now it feels a lot more breathable, lighter, fresher, and cleaner, which is great.”
The new venue has large front facing windows that lead into the café with raised stadium seating and a retail area in one corner. Designed as an open layout, a large doorway leads to the back revealing a workbench and vintage roaster which has been retrofitted by Charlie himself.
“I installed new fans units, blowers, and so forth, and also connected it up to a computer so I can do profiling,” says Charlie. “And I’ve had it certified and ticked off by all the right guys.”
Serving a variety of single origins and blends, Charlie shares that the café is designed to cater to everyone as targeting niche markets would be too hard to sustain a business in New Zealand. Feeding into the café’s ethos, Charlie says all are welcome, and is confident café goers will find a coffee to suit their palate.
“I cater to all with a fool proof coffee blend which is easy to use. Then I have another sector for the coffee geeks with all the different specialty coffees featuring things like extended and aerobic fermentations,” says Charlie.
“We particularly focus on single origin coffees and giving the consumers the ability to access and taste all these coffees from different regions,” Charlie says. “Then, they can find out what flavour profiles they like and invest further.”
For Charlie, Little Drum Coffee has always been about supporting the local region and creating small specialty batches.
“We don’t have sales reps out in the field, which means our customers are actually coming in contact with us, as the roasters, so it’s a direct conversation,” says Charlie. “It also gives us the chance to show them the variety that we’re roasting. It’s a one-on-one relationship.”
Coming from an artistic family and beginning his career as a chef, Charlie finds pride in creating something that people can put in their hands and consume. Being able to create a place for his customers to come has been an extension of this.
“To be able to deliver a product to the market that makes me proud, and I know people are enjoying what I’m doing, that’s very gratifying,” he says. “This is the way I’ve set up this business: I’ve based it around good feelings. I’m here to make happy customers, have beer in the fridge and spend time with my kids.”
Litte Drum Coffee
Unit 11/21 MacDonald Street, Mt Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
Open Tuesday and Thursday 7am to 1pm
(+64) 21 227 4787
Instagram and Facebook: @littledrumcoffee
This article appears in the August 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.