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Bringing Great Coffee to the Shore!

Sheona Kearney is the owner of Tiger Coffee, a North Shore based business that has recently moved to a larger new location to accommodate the expanding enterprise. Tiger Coffee sells, loans, and services coffee machines to Kiwi businesses. Sheona will also feature prominently at the NZ Barista Awards this month.  Sheona lives in Hauraki with her family, after immigrating to Auckland from the UK. This month, she lets Channel Mag in on why coffee is her passion.

Courtney Bennett: What do you do for a job?
Sheona Kearney: 
I am the Managing Director at Tiger Coffee.  We are equipment specialists for the Thermoplan Super Automatic Espresso machines and the Dalla Corte Traditional Espresso machines. We are a small team, so we all muck in with everything! Sales and after sales support are key to the success of our business.

CB: What do you love most about your job?
The challenge, the people we meet and the diversity of the business.

CB: You’re one of the sponsors of the NZ Barista Smackdown Competition next month, tell us about what you’ll be doing there.
It’s at the Fine Food Show in June - with the Dalla Corte EVO2 machine.   We are sponsoring the competition.  We are asking baristas in NZ to come forward and show their skills in a fast-paced coffee competition. The winner gets a $1000 cash prize – well worth entering – so if anyone wants to enter, go to the Restaurant Association Website and get your entry form.

CB: Have you always had a career in the coffee industry?
Pretty much, I came to NZ initially in 1999 and it’s here I began my coffee journey. I went back to the UK for 10 years and worked in the coffee industry and then came back to NZ to open Tiger Coffee in 2010 – coffee and coffee equipment are my passions.

CB:  What makes you passionate about coffee?
Coffee is awesome! There is so much to learn about coffee and the equipment to use to achieve the best results. To grab a coffee with friends is great and there’s loads of yummy places for coffee in NZ. We’re pretty spoilt I think.

CB: You’ve recently moved to a bigger site, why did you decide to make the move?
The business has grown, and although Barry’s Point Road was a great launch pad for the new business, the space just wasn’t big enough for us all after nearly four years. We now have space, and plenty of it – so I don’t think we will be moving out of here for a while! We still have a small espresso bar selling great coffee and brilliant pre-made sandwiches, a conference room for hire (free for Channel Magazine readers!), a workshop, and a showroom. I even have an office with windows and there’s plenty of parking! So it’s just the next stage for the growing business.

CB: What do you love about the North Shore (and Hauraki)?
Everything bar the traffic! I feel like I’m on holiday every day. In the UK we lived in the Midlands and we went to France for our holidays for the sun, sea and relaxation. Here it’s 10 minutes walk from our house. People born in the North Shore are very lucky to call this home, it’s beautiful.

CB: What do you do in your spare time?
Haha! Spare time?! When I do have spare time it’s spent with my adorable children, Taine and Freya - having coffee, watching their sports, walking dogs, catching up with friends and trying to see as much of this beautiful country as possible. I love travel, here and abroad. I also love to cook and am known to be keen on the odd tipple of Kiwi wines!

CB: How do you drink your coffee?
Double shot, trim cappuccino in the smallest cup possible, so you can really taste the coffee.

CB: If I wasn't working in my job, I would like to work…
In hospitality, that’s my passion. It’s where I started my career, so probably back in to the kitchen – it’s fun and very social!

by Courtney Bennett