Our Story & Values

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A lifelong love of coffee 

My lifelong love of coffee was kickstarted at the age of seven, when I mastered the Italian stove-top coffee maker my mother had brought home. She’d said I was allowed to drink coffee when I could make it myself.

In 2003 I headed overseas and had a ball, drinking coffee all over southern Europe. The feeling among the NZ “coffeerati” was that in NZ we were among the best in the world, which indeed we were. However, it soon became obvious to me that there was still a great deal of room for improvement. Europe had some small coffee roasters that were producing wonderful character coffees that I thought would really go off In New Zealand. 

So when I returned to Nelson I did much research and a great deal of experimentation to boot. The result was some fine blends and intriguing single origins. These were tested on friends and family, who came back with many accolades and thus, in 2006, Kush coffee was born. 
Andy by the coffee roaster

Our Values

We source the world’s best coffee beans. Not only are they best in flavour but also best in terms of the environment and Social Justice. 

All our coffee is organic, Fairtrade or Direct Trade, Shade-grown and handpicked. And it’s sold in recyclable home-compostable packaging.


All our coffee is Fairtrade

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Fairtrade is an arrangement to help farmers in developing countries achieve equitable and sustainable trade relationships. Fair prices are paid to the growers, and co-operatives provide improved working conditions for workers and reach higher environmental standards. 

Kush Coffee is the only Certified Fairtrade roaster in Nelson
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The fairtrade movement

Thousands of farmers, workers and their families have been greatly helped by the Fairtrade movement over the decades since the movement was founded. In addition to the farmers and workers receiving more money for their crops and labour, there are countless examples of children being educated, new schools and housing being built, new labour-saving equipment bought and so on.

Also, because the Fairtrade organisation insists on organic conversion the workers are not being exposed to chemical sprays. One of the big advantages of Fairtrade beans is that the quality of the crop also improves hugely due to the farmers being educated about organic farming methods.

It’s important to note that ‘Fairtrade’- spelt as one word - is genuine certified Fairtrade. The word is trademarked and can only be used by certified users. ‘Fair-trade’ with a hyphen or fair trade can be anything at all.
Ethiopian coffee beans in a basket


All our coffee is shade-grown. Shade-grown coffee requires very little or no chemical spraying because it’s growing in a balanced eco-system. In addition, the forest-like nature of shade coffee farms provides habitat for high numbers of animals, birds, bats, reptiles, insects and plants. But sun-grown coffee provides little habitat and is among the most highly sprayed and chemically treated crops in the world.

Of all agricultural land uses, shade-grown coffee provides the most diversity of animals, plants and insects. Also, shade-grown coffee sequesters carbon whereas sun-grown coffee releases it.

All our coffee is shade-grown – with a quirky caveat! Ethiopia is the only coffee-growing country that doesn’t prune its coffee plants. Instead, the coffee plants are left to grow to their full height - about 10 metres, the size of a small tree. So in the case of our beans from Ethiopia, the coffee plants both receive shade from bigger trees and in their turn, also create shade for plants to flourish beneath. Again, this creates a balanced and healthy eco-system.

What about Rainforest Alliance?

It’s a good start but it’s not as comprehensive as Fairtrade in terms of looking after the growers, the workers and the environment. 

Sustainable packaging

Our packaging is home compostable or fully recyclable, many coffee brands sell in packaging that looks recyclable but isn’t because of the plastic lining)


All our coffee beans are organic

Organic farming avoids the use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and irradiation. It’s an approach that works towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. It relies on animal and plant manures, hand weeding and biological pest control. 

Non-organic coffee is the most sprayed edible crop in the world. Most coffee is grown in developing countries, which have a highly unregulated chemical spray industry. The sprays have a detrimental effect on the health of the workers., on the soil and on the waterways they contaminate due to run-off.


All our coffee beans are handpicked

Handpicking creates jobs for local people in the developing countries where coffee predominantly grows. (It also results in beans with a superior flavour – it allows for only the ripe red berries to be picked. The flavour of beans from ripe berries is markedly better than from the beans of unripe berries). 

Coffee blends

Single origin coffee


8 Vickerman St, Port Nelson If you want to talk coffee or have any problems call us on: 022 500 1184