Meet the Roaster: Kōkako X Everybird

Sam McTavish has been working in hospitality for close to 20 years. Though having always had an interest in coffee, it was while living in Melbourne that he really discovered specialty coffee, and upon returning to New Zealand had a goal to work for a coffee roasting company. When the opportunity arose to work as a roastery assistant at Kōkako, Sam jumped at the chance. From there, he was able to learn a lot from the team, develop his roasting skills and progress from roastery assistant to head roaster.

For Sam, working with the roastery team is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job, along with tasting coffees and refining roasting profiles. 

“Developing roast profiles for new coffees and hearing from someone who's really enjoyed the coffee we have produced is very rewarding.”

The blend Sam is most proud of right now is the Everyday Blend, an outright crowd-pleaser created for Kōkako’s new supermarket brand, Everybird. The roast has a bold, chocolatey profile, which the team had fun developing. Everybird was launched with the goal of making Fairtrade, organic speciality coffee accessible to more people around New Zealand. The flavour profiles created for the new brand appeal to a broad group of people, an essential quality in a supermarket-stocked product.

“Seeing it in supermarkets and getting good feedback from those who have tried it has been awesome.”

Making a roast great comes in the ability to let the natural characteristics of a given origin shine through, achieving a balanced, delicious cup of coffee. Sam’s favourite origin is Ethiopia, where really unique flavour profiles are found across the different regions. He finds the best tool in coffee roasting is your palate. Developing this means tasting lots of different coffees, tasting the same coffee in lots of different ways and engaging with other coffee professionals to help grow your coffee knowledge. 

“It helps to not be too fixated on what you think coffee "should be" and be open to different ideas and concepts.”

At Kōkako, sustainability is taken pretty seriously, and the company is proud of its certifications. Kōkako offset their unavoidable carbon emissions through the Fair Climate Fund and all coffee across Kōkako and Everybird is certified Fairtrade and organic. Kōkako product packaging is compostable. In honesty, Kōkako do a sustainability report every two years where they share the ways they really try to do what’s better for people and the planet. 

Kōkako has just reached its 20th anniversary, and though Covid-19 got in the way of a big party, the team are proud of the achievement and enjoyed reminiscing on their time. Some pretty cool merchandise was also created - “I’m a sucker for merch!”.

In exciting plans for the future, Kōkako will continue to expand its Everybird brand into stores across New Zealand. The two Everybird blends currently available are the Everyday Blend and Half-Caf - bold and tasty, with half the caffeine. As the brand builds traction, the team are looking at developing more blends to expand the range. 

Kōkako itself has some “awesome” limited release singles coming out in 2022.

Details of the sustainability report and information about Kōkako coffee can be found at