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The Perfect Blend

The Perfect Blend

Bootlegger Coffee Company @ The Junction

For those of you that have had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious coffee whilst soaking up the ambiance within the confines of our Junction Cafe, you may have already seen the branding signage of our exclusive coffee supplier, The Bootlegger Coffee Company. As part of our vision for The Junction, we aspire to work with organisations who share our view of providing our clientele with the highest level of quality product and service and that view is never more apparent when you come to understand the story and the principles being driven by the team behind the scenes at Bootlegger.

Based in Cape Town but with a distribution footprint that covers the nation and beyond, I caught up with the Bootlegger founding partner and creative director, Pieter Bloem, to get a better understanding of the coffee industry as a whole and what lengths the Bootlegger brand has gone to in its pursuit of providing customers with the perfect cup of Joe. As with all good stories, we start at the beginning.

Pieter told me, ‘I’ve always loved coffee, even when I was working in the movie industry in the early part of my career. But it was actually the restaurant industry where I first started the process of transitioning to the coffee sector. I remember I used to boast to friends and associates about how simple it must be to set up and run a successful restaurant through the implementation of consistently high standards. It was only when I tried to put my money where my mouth was and try and purchase the well-known Cape Town restaurant, Cafe Paradiso (which seems like an eternity ago now!), that I realised that my ambitious claims were perhaps somewhat premature as that deal didn’t go through, realising as I did that my knowledge of the catering industry as whole needed to be increased if I were to be successful. Over the years I have developed that understanding through a few business concerns that came and went, including owning the franchise rights to a Col’cacchio restaurant here in Cape Town. The learning curve was steep but it wasn’t until I started paying more attention to the coffee shop my wife had been successfully running for a number of years did the concept behind Bootlegger start to take hold.

‘It was at a time when I was technically unemployed (although I liked to call it funemployed) following the successful sale of my business concerns. I was paying more than a casual glance to the coffee shop and realised very quickly that, from a business perspective, better margins could be made by focusing our attention on the quality of the coffee that my wife was supplying to her customers. So began the start of another incredible learning curve!’ And what a journey it has been. It started in 2012 when the first action Pieter took was to invest in the best quality roaster available on the market, which happened to be manufactured by the industry-renowned Giesen brand which holds its origins in Holland.

They provide roastery machines of the highest order and it was during the process of buying the equipment that the name Bootlegger came into being.

‘They make these beautiful machines, full of quality and character, and while they were building our unit they called to ask what name we would like to call our coffee production – each roaster is personalised with a plaque featuring the company name on the side. We did not have a name at that point, so myself and my two business partners (brothers and lifelong friends), Antonie and De Waal Basson sat around a table and started thrashing out some name ideas. We must have listed 150 to 200 names in that conversation and weren’t really getting anywhere until we started to focus on what our business represented and who we would like to aim at. I think it was De Waal who mentioned that the type of edgy name we should carry should reflect the image of an individual who is fundamentally good but unorthodox’ someone who is willing to bend the rules for the greater benefit of the wider community…much like the bootlegger operating within the prohibition era of the United States in the 1920s. As soon as the word ‘Bootlegger’ left his lips we were all immediately sold on it.’

This all took place way back in 2012, and over the proceeding 10 years, the brand and its appreciation have grown exponentially, far more than even the founders imagined. So what do they put their success in a competitive marketplace down to?

‘First and foremost we believe that the best quality cup of coffee that reaches your table has to include the best of everything, from the moment the best coffee berries are identified and cultivated and then processed using the best equipment to having the best baristas and best espresso machines to deliver to the best product at the end of the line when the customer drinks it. Attention to detail and quality is essential at every stage as it’s believed that it takes approx 4500 hours from harvest to customers cup only for the whole thing to be ruined in 30 seconds by a Barista who doesn’t quite know what they are doing. That’s why we spend time educating and supporting the baristas of all the restaurants and cafes we supply, to make sure the highest standards are always maintained. We also advise the same way to our direct consumer base who purchase our products directly through our website – www.bootlegger.coffee.

‘And it doesn’t stop there. Consistency of this level only works when all facets of the business are created on a sustainable footing. For example, all of our arabica beans, and we only use arabica beans, are sourced from Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Tanzania from farms that have attained ‘The Rainforest Alliance Certificate’ which demands high levels of environmental friendliness on a global scale. That environmental sustainability can also be found through the Bootlegger ethos right the way through to the paper biodegradable cup we serve our coffee in.

‘Today we are all very proud of what the Bootlegger Coffee Company has achieved over the last 10 years, and there are so many exciting new developments still to come – so watch this space. But at the moment our primary focus is to supply and support businesses that hold high values close to their heart, which is how we came into contact with Cameron, Reta, and the rest of the management team at The Junction. From my first meeting with Cameron, I was struck by how focused and driven he was to make the hotel the best it could be and it didn’t take long for us to enter into an agreement to become their exclusive coffee supplier, and it is a relationship that has grown and prospered ever since. It’s an honour for us to be able to supply our coffee supplies to the good folk of Plettenberg Bay through The Junction and we all look forward to building and growing our partnership in the years to come

The Junction is a four-star boutique hotel situated in the heart of the beautiful coastal town of Plettenberg Bay. The design and layout of the venue combined with the warmth of our staff will swiftly have you relaxed upon arrival to enjoy all that Plett has to offer – as well as acting as a first-class base to explore the wonder of the Garden Route and the area’s majestic natural beauty. Our prime position on Main Street places our guests with walking access to the local shops, restaurants, and retailers, as well as a short 5-minute walk to the beach. Walk this way and see us soon!

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Dec 2020 Newsletter

Dear Valued Guest

The team at The Junction Boutique Hotel knows it has been a trying year for all of us. This is why we are inviting you to come stay with us and relax. We would love to host you and make your holiday a very special one!

Plett’s beaches have been closed this December holiday season, but the town is open for so much more.

Plettenberg Bay is the ideal destination for young and old, families and couples, local and international guests. Visitors return to Plett time again to unwind, or to live it up. It is the perfect, all-year round destination with amazing summers to moderate winters. Sunshine can be found in abundance in this natural treasure.

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