Steve Honey Maunten Blu Arabica

Hello all……….

Welcome to the new Maunten Blu Pure Blu Arabica PNG Coffee platform, I hope you enjoy and like it as much as I do, and wish you all well in your choices for a fine coffee option and obviously do hope!! You decide to purchase from us.

It was pretty dam difficult to find a reasonable picture that potentially captures the essence of who I am so don’t be too critical on the photo lol. I was asked if I wanted to add a blog to the new web site being built and suddenly though hmmmm “what?” and pretty much trashed that idea to the bin. It was a few days later though I was reading a friend’s blog on her business and had a change of heart, I guess and decided to do an interview option and answer some questions as best as I could that might help work out who I am and why I have built this web site.

Over to you interview, from SH Maunten Blu………..

We will be doing an interview with Steve Honey today, who is the Director and CEO of a family company B.A.I.R. Management Solutions Pty Ltd, the owners of Maunten Blu Arabica Coffee Beans.

Who is Steve Honey?

Well, simple question really, I’m married, 47 years of age and have a wife Sheree Honey with our 2 daughters and currently residing in Strahan, located on the rugged West Coast of Tasmania. I like to consider myself an average sort of bloke with usual dreams and aspirations like many to be financially secure in these hard times and somewhat difficult times.

My wife sheree Honey, who I have known for ever growing up in Cairns, decided later on life to get together, and now really keeps me in check just as much as my 2 girls do Taleah and Dakota.

What is Your Affiliation with PNG?

Many years ago, I was born in Lae, Papua New Guinea and moved to Australia around 1975 and became an Australian citizen. My mother (larian Rutland) and my father (Stuart Honey) were based in Lae at the time, even though they were teenagers, and had me at young age, the marriage never lasted long.

I was always tripping in and out of PNG for some reason, either sports through school then holidays on occasion through my teen years, when we could afford it. We were rather poor growing up and I had to grow up quickly to help mum and support my younger sister so a solid platform as to where I did not want to be when I finally grew up and had my own family and has been my driving force from the start. I think it was also the back ground into why I became a chef in the Australian Navy to finally get a good feed.

After my Australian Navy career, I went back to Papua New Guinea to work and move into a civilian style of life which was a very hard learning curve all round, although extremely exhilarating lol. I have been working in and out of PNG for the past 20 years I guess and became home. I love PNG and always feel at home when stepping onto the tarmac in Port Moresby.

I have a strong family history in PNG and my father’s side of the clan is still going strong in PNG business so really a natural step for me and will always be affiliated with the country in some form or another.

When did you realise you had a taste for coffee?

Hahaha …. As soon as I had a cup!! It never stopped from there. I was lucky enough in my PNG working life I was able to trip through PNG to a number of locations working for catering services companies in the early days to client positions in the Oil and gas sectors and had my share of road trips through the interior which is the major high-altitude areas of coffee growing…absolutely everywhere.

I managed to try just about every packaged coffee that PNG had to offer and decided then this is a business I would not mind doing and set up and import export business back then delivering to some café but mainly organic food out lets and a little bit of the mail order throughout Queensland.

It really was a hard lesson at the time and a strong learning curve into the business world which we gave a go with taking over a coffee out let in Maleny, sunshine coast hinterland. We converted it to a PNG themed coffee haus pretty much and had a reasonably good following.

We ended up doing a life change and getting out of it for various reasons, stress and the fact I was then running around Iraq working contracts while my wife looked after the business and our first child. Hard times.

Is Maunten Blu New? Or you have used this name before?

Maunten Blu was the name we gave our first coffee business and it was a real working trial for my wife and I and we finally came up with the name that represented the coffee back then. We specialised mainly with Arabicas limited based in Goroka PNG who had a glossy blue bag with the bird of paradise on it and now long since closed down, its owned by the Simbu government who I was dealing with recently to look at assisting them in getting it operational again and utilise for our own needs as much as our business services we are working with the local growers in getting their business back up and running with an established market base for their beans.

All of our coffee at the time came in ground and beans and I shipped direct to location so wasn’t that hard for me to set up after traveling extensively through those locations, I had made some good connections and the Mountain Blue was just sensational coffee. We were always likened to Gloria Jeans coffee (But a lot better) as we dealt in nothing but premium.

Anyway, that’s how we came up with the name at the time and when we decided to sell off and get out of coffee altogether, we just forgot about it until many years later.

Where does B.A.I.R. Management Solutions Pty Ltd come from?

Over the years working on various projects in PNG and Overseas, I found I was particularly good at buying goods, finding goods and moving goods from location to location. I had hashed out a business idea back then with a close operative of mine (Miss Suzie Harris) have a lot of time for her and just someone you click with when you meet them. We had mapped out a business side down to the last factor but something held me back at the time and I think it was more to do with not wanting to lose any one else’s money into a new idea so I held it off for another 2 years to research more and understand the pitfalls of business.

I eventually moved forward in 2014, something happened at the time that made me decided then I knew how to start up it up and what direction to take which was something I had been doing for years anyway and just clicked………. BAIR Management Solutions was born and Procurements and logistics supply services was the name of the game.

B.A.I.R. stands for Business Administration Infrastructure and Remote Management Solutions and we now have a small experienced team that cover a range of business solutions. Over time I had changed the business and it’s still going through a change and will be specialising in land owner business services. I had found with all the projects I had been on and affiliated with the local bloke seem to miss out on everything or the local clans and mainly due to not really understanding what was happening and what they could do to really make a change to their own lives. I was asked by a local company in Lae the question recently if I would be interested in helping and assisting the local growers for select Maunten Blu coffee beans and if I knew anything about coffee lol…………. well, let me tell you! I certainly do have an idea.

Steve, what brought about the resurrection of Maunten Blu?

Primarily I was asked to go back into coffee as part of a land owner service and would I look at it. After reviewing extensively our options and how to actually make a difference for the growers I decided to resurrect the name Maunten Blu and give it a fresh look so now we have the name Maunten Blu “Pure Blu” arabica coffee which, again symbolises the true nature of PNG arabica coffee. I was unsure actually how this was going to really be able to move forward with the other 10,000 coffees on the market but then realised we do have a specialised niche market for PNG arabica which has a solid name and representation for quality.

I then decided the only way to go was to set up a quality web site platform and at least start something so this is why we have set up a wholesale business platform for PNG arabica coffee with a minimum carton order quantity specialising in roasting when needed for maximum freshness. It would at least give it a start and then the growers had full access to this platform in growing their green bean export markets which we are working on now. This takes a lot of money (we don’t have) so step by step I do a little more to it, work on a contract here and there and get the word out and see if we can grow the business into something.

If your reading this, then I have at least launched the web site wooohooooo!!

Steve, some will say this is just another coffee business out to make some money and disappear…. what say you?

All I can say is I have not poured so much of our own hard earnt money into something to close it down couple of years later, sort of defeats the purpose and the idea of growing a Company not just a business. Once the wholesale business is operational it doesn’t really cost me to much so it has time to grow with a safety factor of supporting itself over time which is the best we can hope for. It’s also a passion of mine that I do like and I don’t have that many hobbies, if any really but I do like coffee, I do like the heritage of the name, and I love the country of origin so a long way to go yet and lot more research into bringing the rest of the business on line.

Apart from the coffee we are using to start up which is some of my favourite High Altitude Maunten Blu Pure, it’s a starter. It’s not a blend, it’s not African, it’s not brazil its Pure PNG Blu. We will grow from that and bring on the retail option next, a little more graphics, a new label design for 3 different options of PNG Maunten Blu………………that’s something significant right there, so yes, we will be around for the longer term opposed to the shorter term. It’s not just about me it’s an open accessible platform the grass roots growers who are the same people that get out each year pick their coffee, bag it up as best they can, store it and wait for some sort of access to sell their beans.

The only way I can access them is for them to access me and the platform of Maunten Blu so reinvestment was always going to be needed to get their beans out of PNG to Australia let alone world-wide but going to take time…. slow and steady wins the race.

You Talk about Quality Steve or you reference quality, so where does this fit into the whole scheme of the business?

Quality is in everything we do from start to finish and to achieve that I had to find the foundation to build on. I found this purely by accident on google searching with random words for coffee and types. I was after a roasting house to bring in green beans and build from there and this is particularly hard to find in truth, as no one wants to touch it.

I knew a number of roasters and let’s be honest, there are that many new businesses on the market now operating out of shed and calling themselves specialists half the time you wouldn’t know what you’re buying in the way of coffee, grades and standards.

I just happen to come across a Melbourne Roaster who obviously has a full business in roasting coffee, a state of the art coffee roaster which is some serious investment and a person who has a strong affiliation with PNG and 20 years of roasting PNG coffee beans.

After a few very open conversations I partnered up with Carlini Roasters in Melbourne and a Huge thank you to the proprietor Jeff Carlin who loaded me up with lots of information and provided us with our own label options and platform for roasting to order, packaging and distribution Australia wide. There staged quality process is second to none really and we will stay with them as long as it works for both of us and we both know of the potential of where this could lead to in name and service so, yes, a natural selection for us that fell into place.

Pretty much a 1 stop shop platform to order from, to pay for and to obtain nothing but fresh roasted coffee beans direct. Won’t get that in a super market.

Final Question Steve and thank you for your open honesty so far. What are we in for now with the Maunten Blu Launch and what’s to come?

I’m starting to sweat with these questions lol.

Ok well if people are reading this then we managed to get to launch stage with (2) coffee bean options being:

  • High Altitude Maunten Blu Pure Blu Single Origin A and B coffee beans.

The main issue is, this is only in wholesale at this time being you have to buy a 12 x 1Kg coffee bean carton to obtain it.

After we launch then I’m working on a couple of changes but the first being listing the single bag purchase option and delivery option and working this issue as I will have to do this outside of the roasting house in Melbourne. This means to be able to do any sort of retail I want to ensure we have a 2-week turnover of fresh roasted beans and this will have to be mail ordered from Tasmania.

We have a lot of interest in this coffee with the PNG community and affiliated clubs in Australia so yes, I’m working the retail option and the requirements in place to be able to achieve it from Tasmania.

As much as I don’t lie blended coffee I am looking at a 3rd label coffee for the site being a blend of PNG Maunten Blu Single Origin as they are small lots so seeing where that goes and how it will work out.

We are currently working with the ORO province to be able to get their beans to market as we have now accessed small holder arabica maunten blu in that location as well as Kokoda maunten blu so time will tell we still have to put it through trials for the growers and currently being sorted.

A long way to go really but certainly keeps me busy and my mind active and really, you have to start somewhere……simple idea, great coffee and an education tool.

Thanks a lot for the interview!

Well it’s been a pleasure chatting to Steve about Maunten Blu and what it means to be PURE BLU lol. Maunten Blu is a sensation tasting coffee. I’m impressed with the platform that has been designed and a lot of work and money has gone into the site being designed by Paykel located in cairns far north Queensland.  I have been privileged to see some of the designs coming out for the new range and happy to confirm its new, fresh and innovative to say the least so we do wish Steve and Sheree all the best in this exciting new business idea.

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