Insta-worthy and ecofriendly – Antz Inya Pantz
I’m just going to say it – I love coffee. For me, life doesn’t start each morning without it. It’s 11am, I’m slurping my second latte of the day and it may not be my last – #NoRegrets.
While the amount I drink may be irresponsible, I try to ensure the way I feed my caffeine addiction isn’t. In the hunt to find Perth cafes who are making big eco-friendly decisions, we started south of the river.
Along the bustling Albany Highway in Victoria Park, you’ll find the solar-powered Antz Inya Pantz Coffee Co and Antz HQ. Both cafes have a bright, fun atmosphere – filled with lively chatter, a flurry of customers and energy levels are as electric as the vibrant artworks on the walls.
Seeing so many happy customers getting their buzz on, I couldn’t resist ordering a latte while waiting to meet owner Craig Muzeroll. Taking my first sip, I understand all the hype. The coffee is so smooth, without any hint of bitter aftertaste.
“We give great attention to how we prepare coffee. And preparation of coffee includes water softening equipment that is extraordinary.” Craig tells us.
“We source our own coffee and roast it to our ability and that helps”.
“Most ecologically friendly solutions are economically friendly”
He begins to tell us about the roasting machine – a sophisticated bit of tech created by Diedrich Roasters in the US.
“It was our first environmental move… the way it heats the beans is through an infrared gas burner, which is highly efficient.”
“Our gas bill for 4000kgs [of beans] a month is about $150.”
I’m stunned. I expected to learn how Antz was saving the environment; I had no idea about the cost savings. But Craig’s degree in Environmental Science and decades working in financial services have taught him an important lesson:
“Most ecologically friendly solutions are economically friendly” he grins.
Behind the counter, the Antz Coffee Crafters are pouring milk from a calcium carbonate pouch provided by local dairy farm, Bannister Downs, into reusable takeaway cups and mugs. At Antz HQ, there isn’t a paper cup in sight – a bold move to make the business more environmentally friendly.
“At this location, we are paper-cup free. And we’re probably close to 50,000 paper cups saved since we opened on the 4th May.”
When a customer asks for a takeaway, they’re given the option of buying a reusable “Keep Cup” for their coffee or other reusable cups. When they buy a Keep Cup, they get their first coffee free and are rewarded when they reuse it.
“Every time you come here you get 50 cents off if you bring your Keep Cup back.”
And of course, if someone desperately needs a takeaway cup, their second Antz store down the road hasn’t phased them out yet.
It’s not just paper waste being reduced at Antz. No used coffee grounds go to landfill, they’re all reused in some way.
“The coffee grounds that we create either go into the compost pile in the back or people simply pick them up. We put bags of coffee grounds on the back porch at [Antz Inya Pantz Coffee Co. 965 Albany Highway] and they’re gone the next day. So, people are constantly using those for gardening”.
Members of the public are welcome to take the coffee grounds for all their gardening needs. Antz has even started donating coffee grounds to a commercial composting project, which is using their grounds to create fertiliser.
Craig lets us sample the crowd-pleasing Antz Cold Brew Coffee. Cleverly packaged in beer bottles, it’s a cool and refreshing alternative to a warm coffee on this hot day. Cold brew isn’t weighted down with heavy milk and cream like a traditional iced coffee. It’s water-based, so it’s more tea-like.
While we sip our drinks, Craig tells us about the ethical choices Antz is making beyond environment and sustainability. He buys La Jacoba beans directly from farmers in Columbia. Cutting out middle person costs a bit more, but the benefits for the farming community make it worth every cent for Craig.
“The premium that we pay for that really good coffee is helping those families in those rural areas get educated… they get to have schools and hospitals and all sorts of infrastructure that a lot of rural coffee-growing communities do not have. It’s extraordinary” he smiles.
So what inspires Craig to put people and the planet over profit?
“We’ve been able to come up with a concept; it’s called ‘coffee karma’,”
“Coffee karma is: what you put into your product in terms of love and care and respect – you get out” he says, gesturing towards the crowd of happy customers clinking coffee cups.
“It does cost us initially, but having customers is an investment. Our business is repeat. You make money by having the same customer come back over and over.”
I’d certainly come back over and over if I wasn’t based so far north of the river. Craig offers a glimmer of hope, hinting that there could be a new Antz opening sometime in the future for all my fellow north-Perthians. I’ll be waiting with my Keep Cup in hand!