Australian specialty coffee community stands united

australian specialty coffee

The Australian Specialty Coffee Association recognises the strength and unity of the coffee industry in the face of COVID-19.

Like the people COVID-19 has infected, the virus is making the daily life of many cafés and industry members a challenge, and there are some hit worse than others.

March through May, many cafés closed up shop. Some saw takeaway and delivery as the lifelines they needed, while others waited until restrictions lifted to try and return to the swing of things. But there are those that won’t be coming back. Our thoughts are with the owners, baristas, and workers of those cafés and businesses who are suffering.

Kieran Westlake is the President of the Australian Specialty Coffee Association.

The Australian Specialty Coffee Association is doing its best to support and provide necessary information to its members and the wider industry.

The government has also tried to step up to the plate. Stimulus packages, JobKeeper payments, and a code of conduct and moratorium on evictions for commercial leases means many small businesses that were uncertain of the future will live to see another day.

The coffee industry is resilient, and it will pull through this pandemic. Many have revamped their menus to better suit takeaway and put more thought into their social media to remain connected to customers.

The way people have adapted during these lockdowns and restrictions is nothing short of amazing.

Thank you to the café owners for being so reactive to the environment and doing what they can to stay afloat, keep staff employed, and caffeine cravings at bay. Some even paid out of their own pockets or made sacrifices to keep their staff in work, regardless if JobKeeper would reimburse them or not.

Businesses with larger teams have rostered staff into groups to prevent the virus potentially spreading across the workforce. Everything from temperature checks to social distancing measurements were put in place to protect the wellbeing of workers and customers.

Thank you to the baristas and workers who put themselves at risk so our cafés can stay open and customers can keep getting their coffee. It may not feel like it sometimes, but that daily interaction and small dose of routine is essential to helping many people get through the day.

Thank you to the suppliers who keep distributing products like bread, milk, dairy alternatives, eggs, and fruit and veg. We know you too are feeling your customers’ pain. Cafés selling these items direct to consumers have not only found a new source of revenue for themselves but these partners too.

Thank you to the businesses looking at new ways of generating revenue, the manufacturers which are now producing face masks and health and safety items, the coffee traders maintaining connections with farmers, the trainers and educators moving online, and the financial experts offering free advice on social media.

Thank you to the roasters doing what they can to help cafés stay afloat. Numerous roasters launched discounts and assistance packages to help their customers when they need it most. Others found creative ways to lend a hand.

Single O and Marvell Street in New South Wales shared the love from their online sales with the cafés that brought those customers to its coffee. More like Ona Coffee and Locale Espresso encouraged people to buy take-home coffee from their local rather than an online shop.

But money and coffee are not the only ways roasters supported their cafés. Grinders Coffee Roasters offered its customers struggling through the pandemic with access to an over-the-phone counselling service.

I wish I could shout out every business playing its part, but I simply don’t have the words, or the knowledge of everything everyone is doing to support the industry.

I and the ASCA Board are proud of the way the industry has banded together to help each other during this time of crisis, and hope that the situation improves for everyone soon.

This article appears in the June 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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