It was a drive in the countryside that lead Scott and Carla Burns to Zentveld's Coffee. Searching for gourmet products to line the shelves of their new Cake & Deli Cafe, Vanilla Pod, they stumbled upon Rebecca and John Zentveld's roastery and plantation in the hills behind Byron Bay.
"Rebecca made us an espresso (which was top notch) and showed us around," Scott Burns says of that first encounter.
"I remember fondly sharing our coffee story, offering tastings, showing them through the roastery and outside amongst the coffee trees. We could tell their standards would be high right from the first meeting on our farm," Rebecca Zentveld reflects.
The rest they say is history, and Zentveld's have been providing Vanilla Pod with their high-quality product ever since, which the Vanilla Pod baristas turn into beautiful coffees on a daily basis.
Started in 1993, Rebecca and John Zentveld sought to continue in the family name by establishing a business that focused on producing quality Australian coffee from the Zentveld family farm.
With backgrounds in Science and IT and economics, it was a partnership that allowed Rebecca and John to utilise their skills in moving their new brand forward; John looking afternoon operations while Rebecca honed her roasting skills and the various Zentveld roasts.
The farm's location in the Byron Bay Hinterland lends to a slower ripening season and beans that are characteristically sweet. The resulting roasts and blends have proven a success, receiving over 22 awards from The Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.
Zentveld's is now stocked in select outlets across Australia, and the business has grown to include distinct Australian and International roasts. They continue to be the largest purchaser of Australian coffee, supported by their dedicated local growers.
Despite the growth the Zentvelds have not lost sight of the family nature of the business and their local community; supporting numerous charities and local community events. It's a similarity that Zentveld and Burns observe between their businesses.
“We make local events taste better” is a mantra that really describes both Zentvelds and Vanilla Pod in our offerings and dealings within our local communities," Zentveld says.
"They are also a small local family business who have created a trusted boutique brand focussed on strong business ethics, high-quality ingredients/methods and the local community....just like Vanilla Pod," Burns adds.
Like Vanilla Pod, a lot has changed in 11 years, and it's tough for Zentveld to succinctly list the most significant changes. Most recently the couple has taken over the management of the coffee plantation and the move has brought them "back to earth" with their focus now on working to extend the farm's "biological practices" and revitalise some of the coffee trees which are beginning to show their age to ensure continued success of the Zentveld's brand.
Reflecting on the 11 years partnership with Vanilla Pod, Zentveld believes it is the shared values between the businesses that have made for the perfect partnership.
"I can honestly say that I feel their openness, genuine friendliness, and dedication to sourcing good local ingredients and willingness to partner with small producers of a similar dedication sets them apart from a typical food business."
Drop into Vanilla Pod Cake & Deli Cafe to experience a cup of Zentveld's Coffee or visit their Newrybar Plantation for the full Zentveld's "crop to cup" experience.
Rebecca and John will be joining us on Saturday 16th July to celebrate 11 years of Vanilla Pod Cake & Deli Cafe in Ascot. We'd love you and your families to join us to experience our unique family business.