For the Love of Coffee
From its Woodend base, Three Llamas Gourmet Coffee provides top quality, gourmet coffee sourced from a little corner of Northern Peru. A close relationship with their growers and a passion for quality ensure the end product is the best it can be.
“We’re a boutique coffee producer and we’re all about a real love of coffee,” says Richard Jackman who, along with wife Cecilia, founded the business.
After 12 years working in Auckland as horticultural scientists, the couple were ready for a new adventure. So they sold up and moved to Cecilia’s native Peru along with their three young children. One day they saw an advertisement for a coffee cupping course. They signed up ‘purely out of curiosity’ says Richard and were soon discovering the myriad flavours of coffee, evaluating beans, learning how to grade specialty coffee and developing a real passion for it. They also met a specialty coffee grower through the course. More courses followed and they immersed themselves in the world of Peruvian specialty coffee. From there the business was born.
They started roasting and selling their specialty coffee in the capital city Lima, successfully developing a loyal following, but with their young family growing, New Zealand beckoned.
“We didn’t want to go back to Auckland,” says Richard, “that frustrating commute and the house prices – it was very difficult to see any value in living in Auckland”. So they returned to Richard’s hometown of Christchurch with a plan to import coffee from their Peruvian growers and roast it themselves.
Suitable premises were hard to come by in Christchurch. They were either quake-damaged or prohibitively expensive. So in 2014, when they came across their current premises in Woodend they decided to make the move.
“It’s a little bit more personal out here, it’s a small community and that along with the lifestyle were real positives that swayed our decision”.
The business now employs seven staff and whilst the coffee shop is open seven days a week, they also supply cafes and businesses directly. Cecilia continues to visit Peru every year, keeping the loyal relationships going with growers and others in the supply chain, and they have recently started stocking organic panela (natural whole cane sugar) and organic maca from Northern Peru.
Their coffee is all ethically sourced and they ensure growers are paid a living wage. All their coffee is specialty grade, and truly single origin blends with a focus on quality, flavour and aroma. They also produce a full range of specialty organic coffee and sell coffee brewing equipment for home use.
“Kiwis are loving our coffee and we want to grow,” says Richard, “but we will always stay committed to quality and those personal relationships with our suppliers and our customers. We want to work for the coffee growers and with people who love coffee, like we do”.
Three Llamas Gourmet Coffee is located at 65A Main North Road, Woodend. Visit www.threellamascoffee.com for more information.