Leaf Bean Machine is a coffee and tea supplier for popular cafes across Perth.
They’ve been in operation for 10 years now and have formed quite the name for themselves. They’re the first choice for many café owners because of their high quality, exceptional customer service, immense experience, and overwhelming passion for the industry. We meet with several of Leaf Bean Machine’s cafés to uncover what it’s really like to work with the Perth coffee roastery and tea supplier.
First on the agenda – Ada and Giorgio from Parlapa, Fremantle.
Owners Giorgio and Ada have been operating the Italian café and restaurant since 2013. Previously, they had been running a café in Italy. They moved to Australia in September 2013 and started up Parlapa in the record time of 3 months. The Italian couple have been working with Leaf Bean Machine’s Fleur and Brad since the beginning.
How did Brad and Fleur help in Parlapa’s start-up?
“Fleur invited us to the Karvan coffee tasting room where they dedicated a whole morning to educating us on the products. They were very relaxed, warm and there was no pushiness whatsoever. We knew we would choose them as our suppliers.”
“We only had a few months to open and we couldn’t have done it without them. As we’re from Italy and are used to Italian coffee, we felt quite overwhelmed with the Australian market. There was so much to learn. But the Leaf Bean Machine team made it easy. Every time I had a question I called or wrote to them and they were very prompt in answering all queries. They explained to us the difference between Italian coffee and the Perth specialty coffee market, the difference in taste and acidity, and which Karvan coffee would cater towards our target market. We soaked up all information, read all of the blogs and attended their training classes. You can tell how passionate the whole team is by how much they love talking about coffee and answering any and all questions you have.”
What’s it like working with the Karvan coffee product?
“In simple words – the product is just great. Initially, we picked Karvan coffee because of quality. We continue to stay with Karvan coffee because of consistency. We chose Karvan Blend 4 because for us, our market enjoys the bolder flavour with hints of cacao. Our customers love it, as espresso, as a long black or served in a cappuccino – most of our customers are regulars because once they have 1 coffee they need to come back for another.”
How does Leaf Bean Machine’s values align with your own?
“Definitely customer service. When we welcome people into our café we see them as guests to our home, as an extension to our family. We don’t see them as customers but as our friends. Leaf Bean Machine wholeheartedly adopts this ethos. When you walk into Leaf Bean Machine you’re greeted with such warm and friendly faces. We’ve talked with all team members and these qualities are true throughout the whole business.”
“From the coffee roasters, to the delivery driver, to the front desk – such lovely, amazing people. But it’s no surprise, if you’re business owners like Brad and Fleur then you will have wonderful people come to work for you, and stick with you, even through those tough times.”
Would you recommend Leaf Bean Machine?
“Absolutely I would, and I have! For all reasons as well. For the product, for the people, for the family you become a part of. They do an amazing job with everything. You really feel they have a genuine passion for what they are doing. I send our customers to their website for their incredible resources and education, and I recommend other café owners to their roastery in Bibra Lake to meet the incredible team. With Leaf Bean Machine it’s personable, smooth and easy, we felt so lucky to have found them, and feel lucky to still be working with them.”
Next up – Head Barista Minh from North Street Store, Little Loaf, Big Loaf and the upcoming North Fremantle General Store.
What had you heard about Karvan coffee prior to working with NSS?
“I’ve pretty much worked with Karvan coffee my whole career. I used to work as a barista at To The Woods in Bassendean in my early 20s… so 8 years ago now! Initally, To The Woods were with a different coffee roaster but when Lachie the sales rep for Karvan [and now, funnily enough, the current owner of North Street Store] gave us a visit we couldn’t resist.”
“We made the switch to Karvan and we were very happy we did.”
“When I came up to Perth, Lachie and I got back in touch and I started working for him at North Street Store as the Head Barista of all of the stores. From the get-go I’ve worked with Karvan coffee and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Over the last 8 years I’ve seen Karvan develop. Their coffee has always been really good but over the last couple of years especially, they’ve taken their roasting up to another notch. Super tasty and consistent.”
What are the Karvan coffee roasters like?
“Oh the coffee roasters are so good! I mean the whole team there is down to earth but the head roaster Marte in particular is such a character. Marte is always super bubbly and happy all the time, she always brings such a nice energy forward. She’s super intelligent and knows what she’s doing but isn’t arrogant about it. The roasters are very chill and are always happy to teach you anything and everything about coffee. They’re really great.”
What is the Karvan team like?
“Everyone’s great. You walk in and you instantly feel warm. All of the personalities there are so happy and outgoing, it creates a really nice inviting space. Like, you never leave without everyone saying goodbye, and small things like that go a long way. Such a great team.”
What Blend do you use at North Street Store?
“We use Seasonal Blend 1. I like using this Blend especially because the beans change quarterly. It keeps the coffee interesting and it tastes delicious served black or with milk. Generally, we do all of our black coffee with Karvan’s Single Origins. But sometimes I just want a black coffee with our house blend, and that just goes to show how good the Blend is. You get a lot of juicy fruit notes, delicious.”
As a Barista, what’s it like working with Karvan?
“Karvan has helped me learn the majority of what I know about coffee. I’ve done their training sessions, when they come out for a service they teach me about the coffee machine and when I go in for cupping they teach me about the beans. They’ve taught me so much and I appreciate that a lot.”
“When it comes to a new Seasonal Blend or, they have some interesting coffees coming through I always get contacted and I head down for a cupping and try the coffee out. I’m heavily involved in the process and that’s exactly what I like. As North Street Store is growing with the new Big Loaf and North Fremantle General Store opening up, I’m even more excited to get more involved.”
“I really appreciate the fact that they let me oversee all runnings of the business, it’s very transparent. Brad welcomes me behind the scenes when they’re repairing machines, I see all of the beans being roasted, if I’ve got a question about something, they’ll give me an honest and informative answer. It’s been really great to be alongside them.”
How has Karvan helped North Street Store?
“Coffee is always tasting good. It’s always a high-quality product whether it be the coffee, the tea or the Single Origin Chocolate.”
“The team works very closely with us and they’ve always catered to what we need as a business. Especially in the early days they were very accommodating, we could bounce ideas off of each other and we really grew together. I’m currently working with Marte on sourcing some Vietnamese coffee beans to make our own take on a Vietnamese coffee. I’m hoping to make my own condensed milk and combine that with a special Vietnamese coffee profile.”
“Karvan are always so open to help. Through our opening, through COVID-19 and throughout our whole relationship, they are always so supportive and excited for us. If we ever need a help out, they’ll be there. Even when we first opened, we were in need of a barista so the barista trainer Summah from LBM came down and poured shots.”
What do the customers say about the coffee?
“All of the customers love it. It goes to show with the growth we’ve had in the past 2 years, our coffee volumes have shot up and the response from customers has been highly positive. The customers love the flavour and how consistent it is.”
What are the owners Fleur and Brad like?
“They’re amazing. They’re always so welcoming, I feel like I’m a family member when I visit. Such a warming feel when you speak to them. It’s really like they’re my second family, which is pretty nice.”
“Brad and Fleur have a great combination of fun and professionalism. Brad is quite boisterous whilst Fleur is very knowledgeable when it comes to both tea and coffee. And, it’s quite amazing that they’re married and they run a business together, it’s what many dream of but are scared to do.”
There are many Perth coffee roasteries, why choose Karvan coffee?
“Thinking about this, I keep on coming back to that warm family feel. I’ve been to cuppings at other roasteries, but I’ve never gotten that same feeling of belonging like how Karvan has given. They’re also just so consistent in all areas, I’ve never had any issues with receiving coffee and if there was ever an issue, someone would come and rectify the issue straight away.”
What are your 3 main reasons for choosing Karvan?
- Consistency, in all aspects too from the product to the customer service.
- Reliability, you call and there’s always someone on the line.
- The care and love the whole team put into the business.
Last but not least – we meet with Kylie and Anthony from Coogee Continental Deli, Coogee.
The locals know Coogee Continental Deli as an establishment. When Kylie and Anthony took over 5 years ago, there was a lot of pressure to please the current market as well as appeal to the current times. It’s fair to say, they’ve exceeded expectations. It has grown into a must-visit location, renowned for their superb coffee, quality European inspired products, exceptional food and friendly customer service.
How did you pick which Perth coffee roastery to work with?
“When we bought the Deli, 6 months into the ownership we started looking for a new coffee provider. We researched coffee suppliers and visited 5 different roasteries. All roasteries were really good, we were very impressed. We had heard from a friend about Leaf Bean Machine who do Karvan coffee and our friend said we had to visit them, ‘they’re amazing, the people are beautiful, and you should do business with them.’ So, we were in the neighbourhood and without even calling, we popped in.”
“With Leaf Bean Machine it was different. We first met one of the owners Fleur and she was just so welcoming. She was able to sit down with us for an hour and we all had a chat over a coffee. It just felt right. Fleur was the first person at this time who really believed in us, in our vision. Other people weren’t so supportive, telling us our vision couldn’t be achieved, we’ll never get over 20kgs of coffee per week, we were thinking too big. Fleur was the opposite, telling us how amazing our plan was, that this is what the community needed, and she knew we would get there. Our values and their values aligned. They believed in us, helped us get started and made sure that we got off on the right foot.”
“I thought – oh my god. This is perfect. Great people. Great location. Great support. Great coffee. And, hats off to her, we just walked through the door without warning… and now we’re family!”
How has the Perth roastery supported you?
“Any café owner or worker knows that when you have a problem in a café you need to fix it in that moment. A huge perk is having our Karvan coffee beans and our machine from the one place. Having two high quality products from the one location offers a huge amount of relief and consistency in the product.”
“At Leaf Bean Machine, they always answer the phone and give you the solution straight away. They’re extremely responsive. There was one time where we needed another coffee grinder pronto. We called the tech team and within the hour there was a new grinder, dialled in and ready to go. It was amazing.”
How did LBM help during COVID-19?
“We talked a lot with Fleur and Brad during COVID-19 business owners to business owners. It helped a lot both for the café and for us emotionally to have people we could talk to.”
“Sometimes being a small business owner, it can be a lonely place as you need to stay brave for your team. In all honesty, for some of this period, we didn’t have it together because it was such a crazy time. But knowing that we could talk to Fleur and Brad in an honest and genuine way took a huge weight off of our shoulders.”
“Coogee Continental Deli was blessed to be busy during this time, and Leaf Bean Machine never missed a beat, there were no hiccups and there was constant support. Coffee was the only thing that was consistent in our lives.”
“People like Brad and Fleur are committed and they won’t give up. They kept on going not just for themselves and their business, but for all of us and all of their customers. And, that’s really phenomenal, knowing you’ve got people behind the company like that.”
How is Leaf Bean Machine unique?
“The coffee is wicked, unreal. Paired with the level of customer care, you can’t get any better.”
“We didn’t feel like customers with the Leaf Bean Machine team, we honestly felt welcomed into a family. We spoke to a lot of coffee roasters starting up our cafe and the majority of conversations were centred on sales, profits and money. With other suppliers, it felt very transactional and sales-y. Fleur and Brad were genuinely interested in us being successful in our dreams. They said, ‘we’re going to help you learn, we’re going to help you grow, we’ll help you achieve those goals.’ And, they still check in every month asking us how we’re going, how they can help.”
Would you recommend Leaf Bean Machine?
“We couldn’t recommend them highly enough.”
“It takes a whole team to make sure a café succeeds and that our business runs properly. Owning a café is hard. It’s a bit of a work-horse and as business owners you work 7 days a week. You need a strong team to get through. Leaf Bean Machine have been with us every step of the way. “If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have the wicked coffee that our customers keep on coming back for.”