Andrew Meo founder of Rocket Espresso Interview
A conversation between Martin and Andrew on riding, coffee, entrepreneurship and living in Italy.
On the top of the Isadore / Rocket Espresso collaboration we are very pleased to share with you rather interesting story of Andrew Meo, the founder of Rocket Espresso.
Life before Rocket
MV: Where are you from?
AM: Wellington, New Zealand. I was riding competitively myself in New Zealand, even doing a couple of World Championships back in the day. Now my son is kind of following the suit riding in the U23 category. I still ride my bike most days, sometimes and take part in some of the local amateur races.
MV: What about coffee business? Were you involved in that as well, before starting Rocket Espresso?
AM: Yes, if I’m not mistaken, I have been involved in the coffee industry for 25 years. I owned a café bistro and specialty roastery back in Wellington for more than ten years before starting Rocket Espresso. But that’s whole different chapter.
MV: Right, so then tell me how did it all happen?
AM: The turning point came after a family holiday to Italy where we started to explore the idea of relocating there and starting a new life. I found out that one of our business partners supplying us with machines and coffee grinding equipment got into financial trouble. I knew the product very well and just had absolute trust in it. I wanted to explore what would it take to buy part of this business.
Of course then the hard decisions came and we took the chance to sell our businesses and house and took the leap.
Rocket Espresso co.
MV: How long did it take to actually get going with Rocket Espresso and what did that take?
AM: It took a good two years until we could say we had something going. I had to turn a great product, with a strong Italian heritage, built by hand the Italian way - into something more international. The machines had to become more appealing in terms of design. As a company we had to build a strong contemporary brand with a global feel.
The breakthrough is kind of connected to the time when we started to be more associated with cycling as a brand. In 2009 we made 100 machines marking the 100th year anniversary since the first edition of the race. From there on, it snowballed. We slowly gained a following from World Tour riders contacting us directly. Around 70 World Tour riders have purchased our machines to date Riders like Greg van Avermaet or Romain Bardet chose Rocket Espresso machines as a gift for their team mates when they wanted to commemorate great victories or results, it’s something we feel very proud about.
The future of Rocket Espresso
MV: Are there any further plans for developing the association with cycling?
AM: We are official partner to team Bora and Bahrain-Merida. Obviously we would like to continue our support of these two fantastic teams.
I believe in youth development and young guys trying to make their dream of becoming professional cyclist reality. That’s why we support an U23 team here in Italy and the Dave Rayner fund in the UK.
Whilst cycling is only a very small part of our market, because I am passionate about the sport, it has been a natural progression and a pleasure a to bring an espresso machine brand into the cycling community and the see the enjoyment that it gives many riders.