Drawing parallels between the lifestyles of Sydneysiders and beachside Californian locals, the guys behind Cali Press Josh Johnston and Scott Glasson have delivered a thriving brand that brings delicious food and a healthy lifestyle together.
With six stores open in Bondi, Bronte, Coogee, Double Bay, Randwick and Surry Hills, Cali Press ensures the folk of Sydney are getting their fill of raw, organic cold pressed juice and wholesome snacks in a brave new world of nourishing takeaway – leaps and bounds from the beachside burger or pie. We chat to Scott and Josh about how they got Cali Press off the ground and what they love about Sydney’s beaches…
Q&A with Josh & Scott
Tell us a little about your respective backgrounds.
Scott: We have very complimentary skill sets with Josh coming from a creative background and I’m a chartered accountant, having worked for several global firms throughout my career.
Where did the idea for Cali Press originate? Did it ever just seem like a pipedream?
Josh: There are five founding partners in total and it all started from a chat that a few of us had in the surf one afternoon about a perceived gap in the café market. We had all experienced a lack of quality, healthy, fast food and drink options on our morning commute to our various work places. Plus, a couple of us had recently returned from a trip through California and had witnessed the transformation cold pressed juice was making in the juice bar scene over there and hey presto… Cali Press was born.
What are the qualities of the Californian lifestyle that make the concept so appealing to Sydneysiders?
Scott: LA in particular has a massive health scene, with endless options for great organic food and drinks. I think anyone who has been there could draw comparisons with the Sydney climate and lifestyle. Also, in the last decade or so it’s become much easier for Aussies to gain work visa’s and base themselves there, so you can really see the cross pollination in the café and health scene on both sides of the Pacific.
Now with five health cafes across the Eastern Suburbs, how quickly did Cali Press evolve into a full-time commitment?
Josh: Upon retuning from one of our original trips to California we were so energised about the concept for Cali Press that things just escalated really quickly. Both Scott and I decided to take the plunge, quit our jobs and become full-time juicers.
How has running the business encouraged you to think more broadly about wholefoods and organic nutrition for your own diets? Are you vegan mylk converts?
Josh: From the get go we have been pretty health conscious and it’s definitely a passion of ours. From a coffee perspective I’m an almond mylk guy and Scott likes to white knuckle it with long blacks. When creating the business we wanted to ensure it was a representation of us, which translated to our offering being balanced and accessible for everyone.
Do you think you are equally as health-conscious now as you were prior to launching Cali Press?
Scott: Definitely more these days. Running Cali Press simply means we have a host of great options at our finger tips each day, and when you start incorporating a healthier diet it has a snowball effect in that you want more of what makes you feel great.
The food offering at Cali Press is a godsend for those with a manic lifestyle and want to maintain a clean and balanced diet. How do you go about creating new and interesting recipes for the Cali Press menus?
Josh: It’s definitely a trial and error process but a lot comes down to how much we listen to our customers. The whole team makes a real effort get to know our regulars, what they like and don’t like, what they’d like to see more or less of. From there, we put our heads together and try to create menus that are delicious, innovative, nutritious and original, but also serve our main goal, which is to bring healthier options to the Sydney food scene.
How does Cali Press do its bit for the environment?
Scott: On a retail level, almost all our packaging is bio plastic and recycled paper, which we also recycle in-store. Plus we sterilise and reuse a lot of our glass juice bottles via a great bottle return policy, for every bottle returned to a Cali café we’ll give you 50 cents credit towards your next purchase. In addition to this, at our production facility we send the juice bi-product (pulp) to a farm where it is used as food for livestock.
Cold pressed juices have certainly made their mark on the Sydney landscape, and the health conscious have more choice than ever before about where they can go for their juice/smoothie/superfood bowl/açai fix. What do you think makes Cali Press stand out on the health food scene?
Josh: We will never cut corners when it comes to our ingredients and always seek out the best suppliers. We use organic produce and superfoods in our juices, smoothies and bowls. By doing this we’re ensuring that our product range is loaded with live nutrients and enzymes. We partner with Sambazon who supply us with organic, fair trade açai which is always blended with organic coconut water and never pasteurised high-sugar apple juice that a lot of our competitors use.
What do you love about Bondi and the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney? Do you have plans to expand in other areas of Sydney?
Scott: We just love Sydney’s beachside culture and the active, healthy vibes you’ll find down by any of the beaches… we really couldn’t think of a more prefect place to set up camp! But after the cafés were so well received by the sea, we figured it’d be worth trying to cater for the more cosmopolitan areas too, hence Double Bay and then Surry Hills. We definitely have plans to continue to expand Cali, but for now we’re focusing on growing our current five cafés to their full potential.
5 Quick Questions
What is your go to cold-pressed juice from Cali Press?
Right now it’s the Popeye, which is our most savoury green vegetable juice.
If you weren’t in Sydney right now where would you be?
If not Bondi, then it would have to be one of the other B’s like Byron or Bali.
Double-Riz-Three-Quarter-Almond-Latté of course.
Where is your favourite place for a drink in Sydney?
North Bondi Fish – awesome view of Bondi, even better Aperol Spritz.
If you could only eat one type of fruit for the rest of your life what would it be?
It would have to be banana, because it’s such an awesome base for smoothies.