Mocopan Coffee experiences unprecedented growth

Mocopan growth

Mocopan’s commitment to quality, consistency, and its customers has led to unprecedented growth with no signs of slowing down, thanks to the expansion of its Preston roastery.

When Agostino Monici, Sergio Coperchini, and Vic Panatieri formed Mocopan Coffee in Preston, Victoria in 1954, it’s doubtful the Italian immigrants could have predicted how large the coffee roaster would become. Mocopan has continued to play a key role in the Melbourne coffee scene for more than 60 years.

“It’s amazing how many people we meet that have at some stage partnered with Mocopan along the way, or whose family has worked with Mocopan at some point during their coffee journey as well,” says Steve Wrightson, Sales Director, Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re really proud of our heritage and how it’s stood the test of time.”

About 20 years ago, the roastery relocated from Plenty Road to a larger roastery around the corner on Albert Street. By 2017, the site was running at full capacity, and the need to expand arose again.

“We were bursting at the seams. Over the last 10 years, we have seen an increase in our volumes by 250 per cent. We’ve been successful at both winning new customers and growing with current ones,” Steve says. “That put us under a lot of stress in terms of capacity.”

mocopan coffee roastery
A conveyor connects the two sites, delivering packaged coffee from production to warehousing.

The opportunity arose for Mocopan to take over its neighbouring warehouse. Over the last three years, the roaster has relocated its production to the new site and converted the original space to storage and warehousing.

Alongside Mocopan, the Albert Street roastery roasts fresh coffee for a number of large Australian coffee retailers.

“The Mocopan café business is really strong. We supply more than 500 cafés across Australia and that continues to grow, particularly in Brisbane and Tasmania,” Steve says.

“We have, for a long time, partnered with some of the largest and most innovative coffee retailers in Australia. Together, we have experienced significant growth for a number of years.”

Steve says despite its size, Mocopan upholds its commitment to consistency, freshness, and quality. Mocopan’s emphasis on these values and collaboration has helped the company form new partnerships.

“Last year also saw our first venture into supermarkets in the Australian market. We worked with Coles on the Urban Coffee Culture launch, which really contributed to our increased capacity demand,” Steve says.

While planning its expansion, Mocopan looked overseas to see how the roastery could maintain its quality and consistency at an even greater scale.

“We held a discovery tour around the world, visiting some of the best roasteries and packaging innovations throughout Europe. Italy and Germany stood out to us in particular,” Steve says.

“That became what we wanted to implement at the new facility. The investment is not just about capacity. It’s an investment in achieving higher quality standards on a consistent level.”

Due to the investment and expansion in operations, Coffee Operations Manager Peter Stathos says the company’s goals are now being achieved with even greater efficiency.

mocopan coffee roastery
Mocopan has increased its volume by 250 per cent in the last 10 years.

“We’ve been able to invest in faster lines and new technology, so while we’re producing the same volume – if not more – it’s taking less time,” Peter says.

This new technology runs throughout the production process, beginning in the factory’s green bean management room. Mocopan invested in a new colour sorter to ensure quality even before roasting.

Post-sorting, the green beans are funnelled to storage silos, where they wait before being fed to one of two Brambati roasters. Mocopan has installed a new 600-kilogram batch drum roaster – one of the largest in Australia – and moved its 300-kilogram roaster from the previous site. Across the two, Mocopan has the potential to roast more than 2500 kilograms of fresh coffee per hour.

“We’ve also been able to also invest in new technology and software within the roasting equipment and how we roast. The software is much more advanced and provides greater control over our roast profiles,” Peter says.

“It’s also improved our sustainable practices and gas consumption. Being more efficient and producing the volume in less time means we’re not operating as long and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Once roasted, packaged, and boxed, a spiral conveyor carries the boxes up to and across a bridge connecting the manufacturing and warehousing facilities.

Standing in the Mocopan storage warehouse feels like being a kid in a coffee-coated candy store. Seemingly endless aisles of pallet racking reach the rafters, carrying boxes upon boxes of roasted coffee. Despite the large volume of coffee kept onsite, Peter says it doesn’t stay long.

“We are obsessed with ensuring coffee lovers across Australia are drinking the freshest coffee possible,” he says.

“This goes hand in hand with tight quality control from our operations to quality assurance teams. We pride ourselves on consistency.”

Mocopan has introduced several automated processes to the new production plant, all with the aim of improving consistency and efficiency. This ranges from the roasting software recording profiles and mechanical packing lines to automated sampling processes.

“Automation has made us more efficient and gives us speedier response times with things like quality checks,” Peter says. “There’s a perception that when you automate, people lose jobs, but that hasn’t been the case with us. We’ve been able to not only grow and become more automated, but retain our workforce at the same time.”

Steve adds that Mocopan’s people are at the heart of the business and vital to the company’s future.

“We have some really great talent in our business that have taken ownership to make sure we’ve hit our milestones with this project,” Steve says. “The pace of change over the last two years is unprecedented.”

The expansion is almost complete and Steve says Mocopan Coffee now has capacity ready to last until at least 2032.

“We’re focused on strong and long-term growth in Australia and New Zealand, but we also have global aspirations,” Steve says.

While Mocopan Coffee maintains its values of freshness, quality, and consistency, Steve says the trademark of its success has been a relentless commitment to its customers.

“Our model is built around partnerships,” Steve says.

“Anyone can have a relationship with their customers, but to have a partnership means having a level of trust, which is built on joint long-term aspirations, with our roastery and our coffee at the core.”

This article appears in the April 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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