Veneziano Coffee Roasters: Home is where the heart is

Veneziano Coffee Roasters

Veneziano Coffee Roasters on adapting to consumer trends, the rise of coffee subscriptions and what it means for the café experience.

COVID-19 has resulted in many changes to our daily lives over the past year. One example is how and when people buy and drink coffee.

Many people are still working from home and have had to find alternatives to their morning café run or office coffee machine.

“If the first thing you do in your day is have your daily cup, you don’t want to compromise on that daily ritual. It’s something that’s important to you and keeps you going through the day, so you want it to taste good and you want it to be right,” says Ben Romeril, Chief Operating Officer of Veneziano Coffee Roasters.

This routine gave many consumers a greater appreciation of café-quality coffee and made the specialty coffee industry take notice of the at-home market.

“Over the years, we’ve seen waves of change ripple through the café scene. As an industry we’ve been excited by the introduction of single origins, micro lots, filter coffee, and cold brew; unique fit outs and amazing café designs; and the incredible food quality coming from cafés as the whole breakfast brunch scene exploded in Australia,” Ben says.

Veneziano Training Manager Erin Sampson leads the roaster’s booming online classes.

“We haven’t seen as many big changes in the home scene. Years ago, it was all about instant coffee, then it turned to pods or capsules. The single-serve market is still popular and growing, but that’s been it for the most part. There hasn’t been the same quality drive at home as there has been in cafés.”

COVID-19 changed that. As such, coffee machine manufacturers or suppliers and coffee roasters – Veneziano included – have seen huge spikes and uptakes in retail coffee orders. Ben attributes this growth to people’s desire to recreate the café experience at home.

“We’ve seen around a 200 per cent growth in online sales. We saw a huge increase at the start of 2020 and, while it has settled down somewhat, it’s still quite high,” he says.

“The average consumer has come to expect quality through their visits to the café. Now they’re coming to understand they don’t need to compromise on quality at home either.”

Seeing a new and growing demand for quality coffee at home, Veneziano introduced a coffee subscription service to guarantee consumers a steady stream of fresh specialty coffee at home.

“Coffee has always been a habitual purchase, something that’s largely done as part of your weekly supermarket shop. As people broaden their coffee horizons, they’re still seeking something that is convenient and part of their every day. A subscription makes it so much easier for them,” Ben says.

“It’s a ‘set and forget’, so you know your coffee is going to turn up and, more importantly, you know it’s going to be fresh. The freshness of a product on the supermarket shelf can vary, whereas if you’re buying direct from a coffee roaster you know you’re getting a fresh product and that’s key to getting a quality cup.”

Veneziano offers 12-month subscriptions for each of its six blends, and one to its micro lots, providing subscribers with coffee and access to training and educational material and classes.

“Subscriptions have become pretty widely accepted among all sorts of categories. When you think about how many subscriptions you have to online viewing platforms, like Disney+ or Netflix, or places like gyms, it opens people to the idea of subscriptions to coffee,” Ben says.

But coffee needs a machine to go with it. Veneziano has been a long-term partner of espresso machine manufacturer La Marzocco in the café space and has carried that relationship into the retail market, offering 12-month subscription bundles with the La Marzocco Linea Mini.

“Coffee starts with the machine and we’re partnering with a number of manufacturers, such as De’Longhi and Rancilio, to keep exploring that and starting that conversation,” Ben says.
“When a customer goes home with a new machine, we want them to have great coffee to go with it. Having that access to specialty coffee right from the get go is how we will lift consumer understanding and appreciation of quality coffee.”

Across April and May, Veneziano also ran a Mother’s Day promotion with Breville, providing a special gift pack alongside the purchase of select Breville espresso machines from participating retailers.

This gift pack included a trial subscription to the Veneziano Crave blend, barista tools and accessories, and access to an online training class with Veneziano. Ben says training and education is another aspect of coffee reimagined in the wake of COVID-19.

Veneziano is offering 12-month subscription bundles alongside the purchase of a La Marzocco Linea Mini.

“Breville reaches about one in three households, so it’s a great opportunity to give consumers a café experience at home. To ensure that’s what they do get, we’re training hundreds of coffee enthusiasts with online classes,” he says.

“These sessions used to be physical one-on-one experiences, now with things like Zoom, we can offer a range from personalised masterclasses to larger classes of up to 50 budding baristas. If we keep growing at this rate, we might soon have hundreds in an online classroom.”

Veneziano Training Manager Erin Sampson runs the classes, and Ben says the former Australian Latte Art Champion is talented at breaking down the fundamentals of making coffee, while having a bit of fun as well.

“We spend a lot of time training baristas in the café space and it’s no different training baristas at home. We’ve found that people are excited to learn more about the craft of making coffee. Not only do they find it educational, they actually really enjoy it too,” he says.

“We’re also looking at how we can build greater engagement with consumers, from video support material to more opportunities to attend masterclasses, and teach them more about where coffee comes from, the finer details of specialty coffee, and getting their friends and family involved.”

While Veneziano is increasing its focus on the home market in 2021, Ben stresses it in no way deducts its attention from its wholesale business and the many cafés around Australia proudly serving Veneziano coffee.

“As a coffee roaster, we’ve historically focussed on working with and being a strong partner to specialty cafés. So, the exciting part of these home initiatives is that they will help support our café partners as well, through brand awareness and educating consumers on the quality they can expect from a Veneziano partner café,” Ben says.

“In the long term, I think these changes to the home market are going to help elevate the café industry. If we can get people drinking quality coffee at home, they’ll build an appreciation for good coffee and be willing to pay more at the café. They’ll also have higher expectations of the industry, which pushes all of us to work harder at producing a better experience.”

With many other coffee roasters also embracing a subscription model for their at-home customers, Ben is excited for more people to delve into the world of coffee making.
“Coffee tends to be a bit behind the wine industry, where there’s always been wine clubs and people happy to get subscriptions,” Ben says.

“This is new ground for coffee roasters, and we need to explore how to speak with consumers directly and get them involved in the art of making coffee.”

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

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