Colombo coffee & tea: A portrait of a collaborative company culture

We chat to Geoff Noble, the new co-owner of a 100-year-old coffee business that’s all about people.

In this episode of Working better, together. we chat to Geoff Noble, one of the Noble Brothers, who bought over the legendary Durban-based café & coffee reseller, Colombo Coffee & Tea.

“Colombo has become synonymous with coffee in Durban.”

Geoff talks about how and why he got into the Coffee industry (considering his education and background in Corporate Finance), the challenges and rewards of “creating different income streams” whilst running a consultancy business on the side, as well as how they went about creating and maintaining a collaborative company culture with his new “inherited team.”

He also shares some key learnings on working with people in an industry that is highly competitive, fast-paced and as much driven by people as it is by the product itself.

“We hire for personality, the rest we can teach.”

Timestamp notes:

2.53 — Geoff tells us about the coffee he prefers. ☕

4.02 — The history of Colombo Coffee & Tea.

5.44 — Some key learnings in taking over and managing the company and staff.

6.44 — The undervalued importance of online ratings and reviews.

8.16 — SME vs Corporate.

12.52 — Geoff expands on a business decision they made that has had a lasting positive impact on how Colombo works.

13.33 — Using incentives to recognise and reward team.

15.30 — Nothing beats experience.

17.26 — Some advice on writing a book.

20.27 — Tips for people who are looking at hiring in this type of sector.

21.26 — Geoff tells us about his day-to-day and his recommended read.

23.06 — End off and how to get in touch.

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