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New roastery business in Hawke's Bay

Media Release


Building on business and barista skills gained at EIT, Ethan Phillips is developing his recently established coffee roastery in Napier.

“Every aspect of my learning has been a stepping stone along the way,” says the 22-year-old, who gained a Certificate in Café and Bar Operations, a certificate in business administration and two in computing as well as a Diploma in Applied Business from EIT.

“Some cross crediting was involved,” he explains of this array of qualifications. “A lot could have been learnt on the job but at the same time it takes longer to learn on the job.

“My background learning is proving really helpful – I wouldn’t go back and change anything.”

Ethan has always seen himself going into business. His first job in the hospitality industry was with Flight roastery, which launched in the Onekawa industrial area and has since relocated to Wellington.

“I was introduced to the business on a Café and Bar Operations industry visit and was transfixed by the smell of roasting coffee wafting through the store.”

By the end of that week, Flight had signed him up for his 40 hours work experience, a requirement for the study programme. He joined the staff soon after.

For the last five years, he has worked at Milk & Honey, for most of that time as the Ahuriri café’s head barista and more recently as its general manager.

His cv includes a Greenmeadows Rotary Club’s top café and bar operations student award and a 10-week stint tutoring hospitality students at the Hawke’s Bay Schools’ Trades Academy at EIT.

He’s brimming over with ideas for his new business, which he’s launched with a business partner in Wellington.

“Between us, we have 25 years in hospitality. We have huge ambitions – we’re planning to get into tea, beer and potentially to set up in Canada and England.”

Ethan’s role is to run the roastery and café floor.

“It’s not set up as a café as such,” he says of space marked off at the rear of Big Save’s furniture store in Pandora Road.

“It’s purely production in an interactive environment. I have people just about every day watching what’s going on. We will be installing interior glass walls where there’s now a hazard line and provide a bar for viewers.”

There are plans to run Hawke’s Bay’s first barista champs and latté champs, to showcase hydroponic coffee plants and to offer evening training sessions.

Ethan expects the business’s primary sales will be to cafés, restaurants and bars – “our wholesale accounts, which are our bread and butter”.

“I dreamt about establishing this business four years ago,” he says. “Here is where it’s happening – it’s actually a reality now.”

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