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Our Story

Our Story - The Beginnings

Established in 1993, Rebecca & John Zentveld moved from Melbourne back to John’s family farm to set up Zentveld’s coffee roastery. In their few years in Melbourne, they developed an appreciation of good coffee, paying attention to roast profiles and cup offerings from Melbourne’s renowned coffee roasting and cafe scene. Of course everything roasted, served and tasted in Melbourne was of foreign bean origin, but Rebecca wanted to set benchmarks for her roasting and desired cup profiles for the newly available Australian estate coffees. Meanwhile, John as a programmer and systems administrator ‘got a real job’ at local Southern Cross University; whilst Rebecca bought a 10kg roaster and set about learning to roast the local beans. Before the internet, without guidance or available roasting courses, it was hands on practice, learning by doing and tasting. It was a pretty unusual career change at age 23 and quite entrepreneurial to leave the city to start roasting pure Australian grown coffee, on the ‘in laws’ farm with only 5 other local growers established. 

It helped that John’s parent’s John Snr. & June Zentveld have a beautiful property in the hills behind Byron Bay, and were local coffee entrepreneurs who pretty much established the NSW coffee growing industry just a few years before. J&JZ Senior worked closely with the Department of Agriculture agronomists (David Peasley in particular) to trial the new varieties, figure out how to grow and to determine the coffee quality right from seed through growing, harvesting and processing to green bean. But that’s really glossing over the details. There was a lot of unknowns with new equipment to be sought and much risk taking in order to start a new agribusiness and encourage other growers to join in; so as to develop a sustainable, viable local coffee growing industry. One that would have to compete against much cheaper-produced, imported coffees of the developing world. So the coffee needed to be really good to gain decent value for their efforts. Given that our cool climate terroire provides the right conditions to grow beautiful coffee in a particularly sustainable and ethical manner (yes it’s a trope, but true) – Rebecca set about learning to unlock the flavour potential of our local coffees, with the nuances of farm processing factors taken into consideration for blend development.

We’ve produced a few well favoured roast profiles and blends to some renown since those early days. Roasters, growers, agronomists, soilcare and wildlife scientists, pro coffee tasters, Australian and international coffee companies all continue to be welcomed to our farm and roastery. We love sharing and learning from them as well as developing our range and on farm practices with our team of coffee aficionados here at Zentvelds Coffee. We always seek to be open to new ideas and feedback. We want to be really good at what we do, and remain at the forefront of the Australian coffee industry – to be truly the Australian coffee specialists from crop to cup – focused on good taste first.

Meet the Team

JOHN L. ZENTVELD

MANAGING DIRECTOR AND
IT SPECIALIST

Tech & Managing Director, roastery & farm. Still keeps his hand in specialist programming and systems management on the side. In house creator of stickers and artwork and back of house web programming.
John is chief technical support to cafes; fixing espresso machines, farm and other gadgetry in his spare time. Tinkering in his workshop welding and fixing stuff gives him much pleasure.
On weekends, if not at coffee events ( if allowed) or on road trips visiting cafes with Bec, can be found in his workshop, doing stuff. Busy and most usefully skilled he is!
The last few years John has taken over the management of the family farm, and is continuing our sustainable biological practices with further investment in organic inputs, ground covers, mulching and composting as well as updating processing systems from the the farm through to the roastery. And he learnt to drive the harvester. Handy chap he is!

REBECCA ZENTVELD

COFFEE ROASTMISTRESS AND
CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Coffee quality and customer care are Bec’s number one. Loves roasting, tasting and being out and about with customers.
Works on creative stuff with Chris and Samantha to bounce round ideas.
Works on roasting blends with Andi, orders and customer queries and writes scribble notes to many a customer. Now more than ever,  Bec’s out there directing the regenerative farming activity! 
Loves looking after the chooks, veggies and real farm time. Trees are flowering? Bees are busy pollinating? Ground covers growing? Compost generating? Happy days.
Hosts tours and volunteers actively with local coffee org. Australian Subtropical Coffee Association (ASTCA) and planning local foodie events and meetings :  with Northern Rivers Food (NRF).
Promoter of growing local food. Current mantra: We need more growers!  Current bugbear : seeing our ‘best food bowl land’ grow houses, instead of food.
Selects fun, mostly arts and environmental events to attend or sponsor with our coffee service.

SAMANTHA MAHONEY

DAILY OPERATIONS MANGER

HEAD OF CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer support all day every day. Manages the daily orders, and customer requests.
For 11 years now, part of the Zentveld ‘family’, knows the business in and out and still loves pleasing customers every day and gets their coffee orders out quick smart.
Loves customers who love our coffee! Knows the ins and outs of making fab coffee, so can talk through issues with baristas or the home coffee maker. Self taught at pretty fancy free pour latte art, too. Most of our customers know Samantha by phone, and are greeted most warmly on the phone or at the front counter of our roastery. Samantha will help you select the right coffee just for you.

KELLY BUTTENSHAW

ACCOUNTS MANGER

RECONCILIATION QUEEN

What this talented woman fits into a day ever amazes us. Kelly is onto it. Thorough and particular, she’s keeping our accounts up to date, every week, phew.
Does the eating peas that others (the Directors) don’t want to do. You know, the cold peas you leave on the side of the plate, not those nice raw snow peas. Manages to balance accounts whilst playing 80’s pop and humming along. Funny, chatty and warmhearted, a pleasure to have with us, not just a clever one with numbers.

DONNA JENNER

‘DONNA DESPATCH’

ROASTERY OPERATIONS CHIEF

What to roast? What teas do we need? What packaging do we need? Just ask Donna.
With a long history in local food businesses and 11 years with us, Donna knows the daily rhythm, gets the orders out the door and directs the Directors to order up and keep on top of all stock levels. Packs the daily orders Monday – Wednesday, predicts what we’ll need to roast and keeps the flow of fresh coffee, teas and chocolate out from the roastery to you. ‘Donna Despatch’ indeed!
Donna will look after you at our retail counter and get that grind right to suit your machine.

chris-mellross-zentvelds-meet-the-team.png

CHRIS MELLROSS

FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER

CHIEF BARISTA

The Front Man. Man of the House. Next Wave Coffee Dude.  Seriously nice, chilled quiet guy, ready to look after the visitors to our Coffee House, help you select the right bean and grind your coffee to order.

He’s raised the bar on our coffee brew service, brought in some new tools and enjoys a coffee yarn – so happy to share our coffee stories and tips with you in person or through socials.

Unflappable, warm. Or is that cool, with all that art. 

NIGEL CHISNALL

NO.1 FARM, CHAP.

We welcome Nigel with his background in farming, engineering, plumbing, as well as arborist and horticultural experience; phew! Mostly though, it’s his genuine interest in wanting to do good by our soil health, land, trees, wildlife and waterways with his useful skills that please us! Comes from ‘good dairy stock’ of the NZ Sth Isle, with a sweet turn of phrase. A keen taster, with a good nose; Nigel can already pick the nuances of sweet ripe fruit vs the winey, spicey notes of our  sundried, tree ripened naturals. Truly a crop to cup Keeper!

PETER MCCOY

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

 OMAROO COFFEE EXPORTER

“Have I told you how much I love coming here?” Is Peter’s almost daily repose.
 
When he first befriended us Peter was just happy to seek farm time. Then we gave him a desk with ‘that view’ over the plantation. Sigh. Happy man. He strolls in after a morning surf, offers a round of morning hugs, and makes a damn fine cup of coffee. When daily business time is over he might mow the grass – super fun! Hang out in the workshop and bring in some fine wood working gear to build us tables, even better! Then he became our bee man – bringing in bee boxes and the full gear and skills to look after our Flow Hive bees too. Yay for farm biodiversity! Peter keeps himself welcome round here with his offerings of usefulness, and he makes us laugh with his self depreciation and wit. So good for team spirit! A nice sounding board for business talk with John too. So we love you being with us, Peter and are happy you take some of our finest beans back to Portland!
Michael Ingram - valued member of Zentvelds coffee farm : regen ag Farm Dude

MICAHEL INGRAM

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

 OMAROO COFFEE EXPORTER

“Have I told you how much I love coming here?” Is Peter’s almost daily repose.
 
When he first befriended us Peter was just happy to seek farm time. Then we gave him a desk with ‘that view’ over the plantation. Sigh. Happy man. He strolls in after a morning surf, offers a round of morning hugs, and makes a damn fine cup of coffee. When daily business time is over he might mow the grass – super fun! Hang out in the workshop and bring in some fine wood working gear to build us tables, even better! Then he became our bee man – bringing in bee boxes and the full gear and skills to look after our Flow Hive bees too. Yay for farm biodiversity! Peter keeps himself welcome round here with his offerings of usefulness, and he makes us laugh with his self depreciation and wit. So good for team spirit! A nice sounding board for business talk with John too. So we love you being with us, Peter and are happy you take some of our finest beans back to Portland!

Zentveld's Shop

Visit Zentveld's

  193 Broken Head Rd, Newrybar NSW 2479 

  CALL: 02 6687 2045

  PARKING: Parking available with disabled access.

  OPENMonday to Friday – 8am to 4pm

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