Thriving cafe not their cup of tea

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Trading was so good for a coffee business in Northeast Valley, its owners have decided to shut up shop for good.

Grid Coffee Roasters co-owners Nick van der Jagt and Gavin Mockford opened their artisan coffee-roasting business in Flax Cafe in Caversham in 2012.

Ms van der Jagt said a “wee baby roaster” in the cafe produced about 40kg of coffee a week.

The business then moved into its own premises in North Rd, Northeast Valley in 2015.

The plan was for the premises to be a space for the roastery and a workshop for technician Brian Johnston to repair coffee machines, while also serving some coffees.

But due to its proximity to tourist hot spot Baldwin St, the business became more focused on the cafe side of the operation than the owners had expected, she said.

“That wasn’t in the plan .. It got too big and too busy.”

The “business philosophy” had alway been to remain a boutique roastery, she said.

“Our core business is wholesale coffee and we were dictated to by what everyone wanted and it was not what we wanted,” Ms van der Jagt said.

Co-owner Gavin Mockford said the Northeast Valley business would close this weekend, allowing the couple to focus on their new premises in Cable Car House in Mornington.

The new premises in Eglinton Rd opened about a month ago and were about six times bigger than the old premises.

The new premises did not have a kitchen, so only takeaway coffee was available, he said.

People could bring their lunch to eat there, he said.

They had no plans to serve food.

“But down the track, who knows?”

From the new premises, the company would continue to roast about 200kg of coffee a week to supply businesses as far afield as Timaru and Orepuki in Southland.

They had considered continuing to run a cafe at the Northeast Valley premises but dismissed the idea after considering the work that would be involved running two operations on separate sides of the city, Mr Mockford said.

“I just want a life – business is hard work,” he said.

Ms van der Jagt said new owners were set to open Steep Cafe in the vacant premises in Northeast Valley.