The maturation of Melitta Australia

Melitta Australia

Celebrating its 40th year in Australia, Melitta’s Managing Director Justin Rejske discusses the brand’s evolution and its newest features that have made Melitta one of Australia’s first total solutions providers.

From inventing the world’s first coffee filter holder and filter paper in 1908, German coffee roaster and manufacturer Melitta is now celebrating its 113th year around the sun and its 40th on Australian soil.

But despite its age, the brand shows no signs of slowing down, having added three new features within the past four years. These features are designed to enhance one of the only things that hasn’t changed over time: Melitta’s value proposition.

“Our value proposition is that we offer a consultative approach that allows [Melitta] to propose specific solutions that best support our customers and their individual coffee plans,” says Justin Rejske, Managing Director of Melitta Professional Coffee Solutions Australia.

Its value proposition consists of seven segments, including machines, service, customised solutions, and responsibility, and its newest additions coffee, finance, and digitalisation.

Melitta’s machine component examines the brand’s ability to provide a range of quality professional machines to customers.

Its service arm aims to provide best in-house customer service from support to installation and repair. Customisation seeks to provide tailored customer solutions, and responsibility represents a need to establish sustainable practices and end of life product management.

Under the umbrella of ‘coffee’, Melitta focuses on sourcing and providing selective quality beans. Finance represents flexible payment models and digitalisation means creating data-driven machine management.

Together, these value propositions offer Melitta’s customers a total solutions approach to all coffee related business problems. Justin says Melitta’s customer centric approach is a point of pride for the business.

“This is what distinguishes us. We really aim to understand our customer’s needs and, therefore, are able to determine the right solutions for the business,” he says.

Reaching this position as a total solutions supplier has not, however, happened over night.

“When we first started in Australia, we focused on the retail segment with roast and ground coffee and with our filter paper. This is our heritage and was the foundation of our Australian journey,” Justin says. “Then in 2003, we extended our focus to professional businesses and started to deliver equipment and after sales service solutions for the food industry.”

Justin says the biggest challenge remains ensuring Australian businesses can connect with Melitta as a brand and understand who it is and what it has to offer.

“Having been focused as an equipment manufacturer and distributor for the past 17 years, we haven’t been entirely visible in certain professional segments, so getting people to understand that we do offer an extended assortment of premium quality products and services has been one of the big goals,” says Justin.

Over the past couple of years, Melitta Australia has continued to expand its portfolio, adding its own coffee label at the end of 2020.

Justin Rejske, Managing
Director of Melitta.

“We source our green beans from various regions of the world from South America to Asia, and have a range of certified and premium products, as well as affordable and catering blends,” Justin says.

Melitta’s specialty coffee range includes six different blends and offers two ground and four whole bean blends. The range also sees instant products including chocolate and chai powder options. Melitta’s high-end La Tazza Verde blend is both Fairtrade and Bio certified. Its Manu Espresso Rainforest blend is Rainforest Alliance certified.

“We see Australia as very progressive. Consumers are now looking for certified and sustainable products, such as Fairtrade, to ensure the farmers are getting paid a fair value,” Justin says. “And it ties back in with the responsibility section in our value proposition: if we’re paying our farmers correctly, they have the opportunity to manage their farms more sustainably and ethically. It’s full circle.”

While 2020 presented Melitta with an opportunity to expand its product offerings, it also saw the need to release flexible financing solutions to support customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Justin recalls seeing customers who didn’t have enough capital to continue to expand or even restart their businesses after each lockdown.

“We realised we had the opportunity to provide an in-house solution,” Justin says. “We don’t use external financial institutions, which allows us to offer a variety of flexible solutions and I believe it adds to the long-term relationship we have with our customers.”

To further assist, Melitta offers rental machines on short- and long-term leases as well as traditional coffee contracts where payments are made in installations.

“Our installation payment plans are more flexible as we offer our customers the opportunity to pay for their machine based on consumption,” says Justin. “For example, one of our options is that we only charge for the number of cups of coffee they dispensed last month.”

Melitta’s financing plans are designed with the end goal of customer machine ownership.

“Because Melitta is a manufacturer and produces all its goods and services internally, similar to our finance solutions, it allows us to offer these solutions because we’re not reliant on other partners,” Justin says.
With the importance of data backed decisions every increasing, Melitta introduced its basic telemetry system, Melitta Insight in 2021.

The current telemetry system records and sends data from Melitta’s coffee machines to the corresponding devices, with the brand expecting advanced versions to be continually released.

“And we’re also in the process of looking to plug in external data to the dashboards, such as weather or calendar events,” Justin says.

Melitta’s La Tazza Verde blend is
both Fairtrade and Bio certified.

By linking these technologies, customers will have the ability to correlate events and factors such as public holidays with product sales, encouraging more strategic marketing and decision making.

In the past, Melitta offered specialised telemetry solutions to its biggest chain customers. Now, Justin says the brand has evolved in a backward fashion, coming to focus on small chain operators and individual customers.

“We’re seeing greater demand on a small chain and non-chain basis, as opposed to our initial big chain clients, and we realised we needed to provide a solution to fill this gap,” Justin says.

Melitta has completely changed the way it functions with its three new features. With staff now having a greater holistic understanding of the products and services they sell, customers benefit from a wider selection of options.

According to Justin, the addition of coffee, finance and digital features are significant to Australian coffee markets due to a lack of complete solution providers.

“From our side, the addition of these three features are important because it reflects how driven Melitta is by its customers and shows that we do offer a real coffee partnership that is long term,” says Justin.
“For 113 years, we have been building a bridge between progress and tradition with solid foundations that bear us and a vision that drives us forward. We are proud of our achievements and curious about the future.”

Justin says Melitta’s business has always been customer driven, with a focus on what is in specific demand, be it from a single customer or the industry.

“With over 100 years of company history, we owe our success to an ability to anticipate market trends and to develop pioneering products which make life more enjoyable, more convenient and much easier,” says Justin.

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This article appears in the August 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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