Tonga, Vanuatu coffees shine at Chocolate & Coffee Show

Visitors to the show get a taste of Tanna Coffee.
Visitors to the show sample a taste of Tanna Coffee.

THERE were big smiles from representatives of Tonga’s Tupu’anga Coffee and Vanuatu’s Tanna Coffee after the Chocolate and Coffee Show in Auckland on 6-7 October 2018.

With more than 7000 visitors, show organisers said visitor numbers were higher than last year – “Our biggest yet!” screamed their website.

Tonga’s Tupu’anga Coffee and Vanuatu’s Tanna Coffee shared the stand sponsored under the Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand banner.

PTI NZ’s stand was tucked down near the other end of The Cloud located on Auckland’s waterfront. As a natural turn-around point, the public picnic tables provided a welcome rest where visitors could smell the aroma and drink coffee.  In many cases they bought a cup or even a pack of coffee beans.  But for the exhibitors – it was all about raising brand awareness of the coffee companies and the place of origin.

The young team at Tupu’anga Coffee were pleasantly surprised by the number of visitors overall and their feedback. Few were fully aware coffee of Tonga’s burgeoning coffee growing industry. But once they tasted Tupu’anga coffee and had a rundown from either Nivi and Lea, the Saturday team or Deitrah and Eti on Sunday – they not only knew more about the coffee but where to buy more. Tupu’anga Coffee is sold at the Community Café in the Mangere Arts Centre or the Otahuhu Bus Depot’s Fale Kofi or enquiries can be made on line at www.madeintonga.com/tupuanga

They also promoted other products at the stand including Tupu’anga coffee beans, taro and cassava chips and Living Koko – a Samoan cocoa company who are now working with Tupu’anga Coffee.  It was also a special weekend for the company owners Emeline and Alipate Mafile’o, the owners of Tupu’anga Coffee and the social enterprise Affirming Works or AW who run the Community Cafes.  AW celebrated its 17th Anniversary on Friday 5 October with a ‘Buy one get one Free Coffee’ plus a free cupcake promotion.

Vanuatu’s Tanna Coffee had New Zealand distributors Shirley and Michael Webb-Speights out front. Their boater hats and bubbly friendliness also had visitors flocking to them.

Webb-Speight and his wife Shirley are relatively new to the coffee retail business after teaming up with Tanna Coffee owner Terry Addlington. They began trading as Tanna Coffee NZ in February. This was their first Chocolate and Coffee Show. They too were very pleasantly surprised with the increased visitor numbers. For the most part, they were quite run off their toes. Their free sample coffees attracted a lot of interest. Many did not know about Vanuatu’s coffee growing industry.

But the background story of where Tanna Coffee was grown on an island with a ‘live’ volcano, explaining the company logo, entranced many coffee lovers. The couple also promoted chocolate from a Vanuatu based company they are now working with on a new product.

The husband and wife team visited the coffee growing villages in Vanuatu supplying Tanna Coffee last year. They were so smitten with one village they are now helping to provide books and resources.

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