Many people ask about our logo; the BioBean Angel was painted by Jess Ipkendanz in 2003 – long before the movie Avatar.
How We Began
BioBean Coffee had its origins back in 2001 when the Australian airline Ansett collapsed. Michael and Mary Ipkendanz were planning a trip to Queensland at the time, but the demise of Ansett forced them to rethink their plans. Instead of heading interstate they decided to head to the Pilbara in the north of WA for a few weeks camping out.
Stopping at a gorge in the Kennedy Ranges Mike went off to explore, Mary (who is a paraplegic) was holding the fort in the car, when she found herself craving a cup of coffee. After getting around to be boot of the car, she then tried to dig out the kettle and equipment from under all the camping gear when she noticed the presence of a highly suspicious man.
Although she feared the worst, it turned out that that Rainer Sakic was simply another coffee fanatic out for a decent cup of coffee too. They both sat down for coffee. Not long after Mike turned up and they opened a bottle of red. Rainer then spent the rest of the holiday traveling with them.
Rainer, a sales representative for GEPA Coffee in Germany, was on holiday in Australia. When they got back to Perth, Ben, Mike and Mary’s son, got to know Rainer as well. Together they discussed the possibility of setting up a coffee roasting company but put it on hold for several years as Ben was on the verge of completing an Honour’s year in the department of Biochemistry at UWA and felt he would be continuing on to work in that field.
Ben graduated from University with an Honour’s degree in 2003 and got a job as a research assistant with a Perth Biotech company. After five months of working with the company he became disillusioned with the fact that he was simply helping to make someone else wealthy and had problems with the ethical stance of the company.
He than made the choice to quit the company and start up BioBean Coffee, a business that would make use of his scientific background; and best of all would be an ethical.
Mike, Mary and Ben formed the company and shared the idea that it must to be founded on ethical guidelines with a focus on producing a quality product at a reasonable price with excellent service.
Once the company was formed and the roasting equipment was installed, Rainer Sakic came out to Australia with a roaster called Rainer Braun. Rainer Braun was a roaster with his own company in Germany, with more than 20 years of experience in roasting coffee. With their help Ben was able to learn how to roast coffee and BioBean Coffee officially started business on 1st July 2005.
Fairtrade Certification was immediate. Organic Certification was approved in January 2006.
The Early Days
The first roaster was purchased online from Turkey. When it arrived we took the horse float down to Fremantle and managed to fit it in and unloaded it using logs to roll it along the ground and into the newly converted shed. We handled our own customs clearance which was an experience in itself (and incidentally led to a friendship with a French sailor).
Ben and Mike carried out all the conversions to buildings necessary to accommodate the roaster and store coffee.
Some years later we added another roaster; we bought this one from a New Zealand roasting company that we met at a trade show.
We now have three roasters and adequate storage for our annual green bean requirements.
We roast Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a postal service on these days. Thursdays and Fridays are set aside for local deliveries and coffee machine repairs, training etc.
When the wind is in the right direction you will find Ben kite surfing and Mary and Mike sailing their trimaran.