What’s in a name? A whole lot, it turns out. This is particularly the case at Commonfolk Coffee, where the overarching vision is to bring the community together in one place as ‘common folk’. We spoke to Head Roaster Tom Terlaak about why community is at the forefront of everything they do at the café on Progress Street, Mornington.
“Trying to find the balance of excellent, high quality coffee, explaining why it costs what it does, and why it takes time, is a challenge for us,” he says. “We don’t keep consumers in the dark like some cafes do. We want them to know everything that happens in the coffee process.”
He continues, “Everyone knows everyone here. The culture we create is one where we always want to give back to the community. We love engaging with community.”
Not only is Commonfolk set on being community-focused on the Mornington Peninsula, it’s also passionate about seeing coffee communities around the world, such as Zukuka Bora in Uganda, get the most out of their coffee farms, and not be taken advantage of.
The Cup That Counts is an initiative started by Commonfolk day their doors first opened. Its mission is to help fund the production of coffee on farms in Uganda, while simultaneously training unemployed youth on the ninch to become baristas and start their working careers.
Tom says,“The Cup That Counts initiative is a funnel we push into the community – it’s a charity and a gift. We give the money to Zukuka, then buy the coffee back. We’re investing in the Ugandan market so we can see them succeed without us one day.”
“Twenty cents of every cup has gone to The Cup That Counts since we’ve opened our doors, so everyone who’s ever bought a coffee at Commonfolk has contributed to it. Tangibly you’ve helped the Zuku Bora and funnel back into the Peninsula we have running, over $100,000 in fact.”
The Commonfolk magic all starts with preparing and roasting coffee beans to achieve nothing but the best for customers and wholesale clients. The Joper roaster ticks over every sixteen minutes, enabling the team to roast up to twenty two batches a day – all in the name of keeping their many clients stocked up each week.
“We can roast a small batch in the roaster here as a simple profile,” Tom explains. “It takes lots of tasting, tweaking, and trial and error. We roast everything individually then blend after to create our many different batches, and everything is roasted each week nice and fresh.”
The Commonfolk team prides itself on testing and trialing new coffees for customers. However, Tom and his crew continue to provide classic favourites, such as their Godfather blend and rare double Ethiopian blend.
“Our Godfather is a traditional blend with choc nut caramel flavours – it’s known as our people-pleaser!” he shares. “It’s really just a modern version of tradition Italian coffee. Customers like to have something different all the time and new blends also educate the customers and get them more interested in coffee.”
Not only does Commonfolk provide the residents of the ninch with a place to come and enjoy good quality coffee – it brings a real, tangible sense of community that will only make you want to come back again, and again, and again.