Established as Coffs Harbour’s first coffee roaster in 2019, Stoka Coffee Company came about as an idea to bring specialty coffee to the region with the influence of metropolitan coffee houses. The Australian 2011 National Latte Art champ and current Operations Manager, Kirby Burton grew up in Coffs Harbour before making her way along the East Coast to some of the most popular coffee scenes and establishments in Australia. For a life that has revolved within the industry, Burton talks with us on how Stoka Coffee Company is continuously pushing the boundaries of palpable flavour profiles in the range of coffees the company has to offer, and how her eclectic team of hospitality gurus and coffee enthusiasts run day-to-day activities.
1. How does a normal day at the office start at the roastery?
The team at Stoka start early. Around 6am - which they say is the best part of the day. After starting off with obligatory coffee, the team then weigh-in green bean, roasts, blends, packs and undertakes a cupping (lingo for tasting) for any new variety of seasonal offers. In between they are checking in on their wholesale clients, sending online orders and troubleshooting any technical issues for their clients.
2. Who looks after floor operations and roasting?
While I oversee green bean ordering, wholesale customer enquiries and orders. Karlee is the Stoka in-house Head Roaster. She’s an attention to detail girl…fastidious about workspace areas and takes great pride in her roasting. Easy to say – she’s very meticulous when it comes to coffee roasting management.
3. So I’m guessing there’s always a good chance to sample a brew in between jobs?
Haha. At a minimum, I drink three coffees a day. I’m forever changing between small and long blacks and double flat whites. I’m also known to sneak a shot of espresso and constantly taste our coffee as the day goes on. We have several team members that make up our delivery and packing team, they’re always pumping the music and getting stock out to cafes. They check-in with café staff and see if there is anything we can do to help get the most out of our coffee. This may come in the form of training baristas, servicing equipment or giving recommendations.
4. What’s the most exciting part of working at Stoka Coffee Company?
Operating in an ever-changing café industry keeps Stoka constantly evolving and innovating new ways to impress consumers. We’re also constantly getting new and exciting coffees from different regions. Our personal favorites are the Honduras and Ethiopian combo in our Seasonal Blend which has tasting notes of butterscotch, stone-fruit and caramel with a smooth medium-body finish. But to be honest, it all comes from the team. The old saying ‘it’s teamwork that makes the dream work’ applies to every facet of our company. From logistics, operations, all the way to service and technical support, our team create a seamless working environment that collaboratively bands together for optimal café operations. Seeing it all play out is ultra-gratifying.