ON and off the cricket field, former Test player Ed Cowan is chasing smooth shots.
And in a bid to share with a wider audience the ones he serves up out of the limelight, the Sydney Sixers and NSW opener has just expanded his Tripod Coffee business into Singapore. The company has come a long way since Cowan and his former teammate Steve Cazzulino came up with the idea in the sheds one rainy day while enjoying a brew.
“We’re still growing and still kicking — as a young small business that’s two things you’re pretty happy to be able to say,” Cowan told The Deal.
The pair — who used to open the batting for Tasmania — recently launched a recyclable coffee capsule, an Australian first. It's been well received in the fast evolving market, which didn't exist before 2000.
“It’s grown in terms of overall consumption but also by the number of players in the market — it’s more competitive,” Cowan says. “We’re seeing two factors at play. One, price is being driven down, which we knew was coming. But two, there’s also a bigger focus on greener products, and we're at the forefront of that.”
Cowan sees Singapore as a springboard for Tripod. The company has established a warehouse there and plans to service Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam and the rest of Southeast Asia from the city.
“Singapore is easy Asia, in a sense,” Cowan says. “We feel as though there’s a huge market up there.”
In Australia, Harris Farm has just picked up Tripod Coffee as a retail client but Cowan says it’s been generally tough getting his product on to shelves. “Retailers are a bloody hard nut to crack,” he says. In fact the whole project has been a “bloody hard slog” for the pair, he admits, but “a great challenge”.
“My cricket’s probably improved the harder I’ve worked with the coffee — I used to go home and brood about a dismissal, now there’s always something to distract me.”