BEHIND THE SCENES
He may not have arrived at Victoria Dock on a ship like Italian immigrants from the 50s and 60s, but when Santo Buccheri arrived in Australia in 2006 at the age of 24, he had the same burning desire to seize the opportunities that Australia offered and to satisfy his entrepreneurial aspirations. With his drive and ambition, it’s no surprise that he almost immediately set up his own business roasting coffee. In the beginning, the coffee roasting and packaging process was physically demanding and the business housed in humble premises in outer Melbourne. But that didn’t concern Santo, because he was – as he is still – obsessed with producing the highest quality coffee time after time and staying ahead of the market.
After many trials and much research, he settled on the “slow roasting” method, a technique that has been used for centuries to achieve exactly what Santo wanted – consistently high quality roasted coffee beans. But the roasting process is can never produce high quality if the raw green beans are not “just right”. So, in tandem, he continued learnt about the different types of green beans, their geographical locations, the altitude at which they are grown, harvesting techniques etc and the impact that these have on the roasted end product.
But these factors do not remain constant and it requires a strong commitment to stay up with the latest developments in green coffee production. The constant thirst for knowledge to create better products is what drives Santo and result in his delicious Map Coffee products. Whilst an agricultural commodity, coffee goes through so many important steps between harvest and ending up in a cup that it’s essential the finest experts and gold standard processes are involved along the whole journey. It’s all for one great purpose – for you, your family, friends, work colleagues and visitors all to drink great coffee.
Unlike today’s sophisticated café scene and Melbourne’s place as one of the coffee “capitals” of the world, even just 10 years ago, consumers required “education” as to what “real” coffee was. So after an exhausting week producing his superior coffee, Santo would spend his weekends doing in-store promotions where coffee drinkers could taste the fruits of his labour. Over the years, this lead to rapid growth that required him to make a truly life-changing experienced decision: “Do I continue as I am, sit back and reap the profits or do I invest millions of dollars into state-of- the-art production and warehousing facilities and possibly lose it all?”
Staying still has never be his forte, so anyone that knows Santo would not be surprised that he “put his money where his mouth is” and invested in a plant and warehouse that would increase capacity significantly but without any compromise in quality or loss of operational flexibility. To reflect the increasing reach into the café market, the warehouse is located in one of inner Melbourne’s trendiest café areas – Brunswick.
When asked what have been the key contributors to his success, Santo believes that his Italian origins provide distinct advantages:
1. Having spent his formative years in Siracusa, Italy, with its long tradition of the highest quality, slow roasted coffee
2. Strong family values and support of independent, local businesses with an obsession for quality, service and ‘value for money’. For example, how many business owners would answer a technical service call from a panicked café operator early on a Sunday morning like Santo does?
3. The innovative, dynamic and flexible nature of Italian businesses that exhibit an almost youthful exuberance.