Beverage Category Lead, Central Operations and Coffee Expertise
"Using sustainable resources, and creating coffee pouches that are recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable are crucial for the future of the industry."
Q&A with Ishan Natalie
What’s your experience/role in the coffee sector?
I’ve worked in the coffee industry for two decades now, having fallen in love with specialty coffee and the barista craft while studying for a degree in accounting. I’ve spent 16 years with one of South Africa’s largest coffee brands, heading up the Coffee Academy, and overseeing beverage and barista training and standards.
I have taken part in barista competitions around the world, winning three National Barista Championships, two All African Championships, and South Africa’s first Aeropress Championship. I’ve also competed in three World Barista Championships.
For the past five years, I’ve played a key role in establishing Starbucks in the South African coffee market. My current position is Beverage Category Lead, Central Operations and Coffee Expertise.
Why did you decide to work with MTPak Coffee?
I am passionate about sustainability, and love aesthetically pleasing coffee packaging that’s both functional and supports initiatives. MTPak Coffee is doing fantastic work along these lines. They’re innovative and collaborative, offering quality packaging solutions for specialty coffee roasters.
What do you think the modern coffee sector needs to focus on?
Customer experiences and quality are the key focus areas in my opinion. Being able to offer products that suit the personal and social needs of customers is essential. People purchase by sight and make informed decisions based on what’s important to them. For that reason, the coffee sector needs to diversify and become more all-inclusive.
Tell us more about how you view coffee packaging, and what you think the sector should be focusing on going forward.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to the coffee sector, and part of tackling it is making packaging more environmentally friendly. Using sustainable resources, and creating coffee pouches that are recyclable, compostable, and biodegradable are crucial for the future of the industry.