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A little more about Allies founder Hans Pronk

Hans Pronk Head Roaster Allies Coffee

You may have read a bit about us in the about page. Here's a little more...

From 14years old, Hans had a taste of coffee in New Zealand with his first job volunteering in a church café behind a La Marzocco Linea Classic. Thrown into the deep end with a little bit of training from one of Auckland's best coffee roasters at the time a new passion was born.

Regularly making flat whites or the sugar driven mocha, as were popular at the time, be it in a latte bowl or otherwise... Hans then put his hand to his first paid employment at a café in Silverdale, whole not behind the machine at the time, this was a great place to further customers interaction and hone barista skills. Onwards from here was an Italian inspired café in Albany then a new venture in Massey University before really getting stuck into full time barista work at one of Albany's biggest coffee roasters.

Hans in the early years

Queue Merito Espresso, the brainchild of a business degree at Massey. With a focus on providing quality coffee beans and unbeatable service, an online store was opened and he hit the pavement letting people know more about good coffee in New Zealand. Starting out roasting on a friend's (Ben) Diedrich coffee roaster in Auckland CBD early in the morning while listening to buskers playing Jazz, Hans got a hang of how to do this coffee thing, and others started supporting him in it.

Entering the Barista champs opened a new world of coffee to Hans, highlighting the expertise across the country, and a glimpse at what the world stage would look like. Competing for three years and then judging for several thereafter was a great experience in the coffee industry in New Zealand.

Shortly thereafter, ME Coffee Boutique opened in partnership with Jordan, this was a place to highlight Merito's coffee offering and give a physical space for people to try the coffee. A great experience with a good crowd of people and also allowed for some close interaction with NZ Herald as a common columnist and a convenient story piece (being right next door)...

A few years later a Coffee General was born, opening 4 stores across Auckland to profile the best NZ coffee roasters had to offer. These days, Coffee General Birkenhead is seen as the flagship store of what was once Merito, now Allies Coffee.

Merito became Allies as to better resemble our position on being United By Coffee. Giving back to farmers globally and our local communities has become a staple of who we are.