Rob Mergard’s interest in coffee began when he realised he could make a better coffee at home than he could buy from a Brisbane café.
A Qantas mechanical engineer for 14 years, Rob says he would spend a lot of time at a local café to hone his skills and experiment with coffee machines. It was this interest that sparked Rob’s coffee passion. “I wanted to have my own business and I wanted to be in control of my own destiny,” he says.
With that in mind, Rob set up one of the first legal coffee carts in Brisbane in 1999 and started his own coffee roasting facility in Banyo, complete with an espresso bar and an expobar multi- boiler machine.
The Dancing Bean house blend is a four-bean combination of Arabicas from Colombia, Costa Rica and Guatemala. “This blend has high acidity, a hint of chocolate and deep, rich coffee tones that’s great for black and milk-based coffees,” Rob says. A single origin is also available and rotated each month. A favourite at time of writing was the Guatemalea Huehuetenango.
In addition to the expanding franchise business in Brisbane, the Dancing Bean has expanded to Egypt. Rob was approached by Egyptian businessman Joseph Hannah, and together they established the new franchise in a building in Cairo.
From day one, Rob says the espresso bar is having a great impact on the egyptian coffee market among a wide band of chains, and says customers are experiencing flavours they’ve never experienced from coffee before.
“The new shop has created many opportunities for people and it’s fulfilling to see how one job can impact someone’s life,” Rob says. Many university graduates applied for the roaster’s position at the Cairo location, however, Rob says a man named Syeed, with limited schooling but a clear passion and determination, was the lucky applicant.
Despite the hurdles roasters face in the industry, Rob says he’s satisfied with the business he started from the ground up. “There’s been times I wanted to throw it all in, but I never had a plan B,” he says. “At the end of the day I would rather tackle the challenges and control my own life and be responsible for doing something I love and that’s fulfilling.”
Dancing Bean is constantly looking to expand to potential franchises and wholesale customers. “I am more than happy to mentor people and train them in this industry,” Rob says. “I would like to assist them, then lead them on their own destiny.”