Meet the Roaster – Havana Coffee Works

Joseph Stoddart is the Master Roaster at Havana Coffee Works. 

Stoddart got a start in his coffee career when, aged 19, he needed to pay a power bill. A two-day job trial saw that he was up to the job as barista at Redeye café in Whanganui. The café was pouring single-origin Cuban coffee, directly imported from Cuba by founder of Havana Coffee Works, Geoff Marsland. 

Coming full circle, in 2010, Marsland tried his luck in hiring Stoddart, who was working in a small Newtown, Wellington cafe and had no roasting experience. 

Since then, Stoddart has been lucky enough to travel internationally to more than a dozen countries, deepening his knowledge and understanding of what coffee growers need. 

“I have only ever travelled internationally for coffee.”

His most excellent highlight has been sourcing coffee directly from origin and helping to change the lives of the farmers who produce the great product. 

“Being able to garner farmers’ trust and help tangibly change their future for the better is an intensely rewarding and continuously unfolding reality in my day-to-day. Some of them are like brothers and sisters to me.”

With coffee, Stoddart finds he is always learning and deepening his knowledge. With 23 years in the industry, much has changed and stayed the same. The coffee industry’s new focus on sustainability is keeping coffee-sourcing honest. At Havana, sustainability is more than just ecological; it must be future-based. Havana focuses on sustainable trade and fair recompensation for the coffee farmer with an outlook of long-term financial future. 

“We must eliminate slavery in any supply chain. Purchase from people who are caring about our ecological environment around the world. We must also take care of our people at home and make sure we have a workplace where people can be themselves and share their feelings and love coming to work.”

Maintaining deep diversity of origins and choosing to purchase from sources that care deeply about their environment is critical to shaping a sustainable future with impending climate change. 

Havana also focuses on lessening their carbon footprint, using future technology. A truly sustainable machine by Loring reduces a potential 80 percent more emissions than old conventional coffee roasting ovens. 

“I hope this technology becomes the benchmark.”

Stoddart’s favourite origin and blend is forever changing. Currently, his favourite blend is “Reunion”, refined and designed by Havana Wellington roaster, Lily Christian. His favourite origin is Uganda, where Stoddart would love to travel to. 

“Uganda has an exciting diversity of flavours - caramel, red grapes, dry nectarine, and red berries - some of these coffees even have Turkish delight, raspberry, and peach.”

Stoddart views coffee as science based in art. Data analysis, replication and being responsive to changes in natural products are constant. At Havana, the team must always be ready for new ideas and be willing to change. 

“The customers decide what they want. And we all must keep listening.”

Looking ahead to an exciting future, Havana have recently launched a state-of-the-art second site in Auckland. The site will be able to host exciting, immersive educational experiences. 

“As roasters, we try to let the coffee tell its truth.”