2020… what a year!

We are exiting out of 2020 with a small sigh of relief, and an abundance of gratitude for the hard work and support of our friends, customers and suppliers. Looking back over a year characterised by its ups and downs, our resounding sentiment is one of togetherness. Together we have navigated great challenges, celebrated exciting achievements, weathered plenty of change and proven time and time again that we have each other’s support through good and hard times. For this, we are wholeheartedly thankful.

We started 2020 by launching a fundraising campaign to support the children of coffee farming families in Rwanda’s Southern Province. The Umuvumu Project was embraced by our customers and with their generous donations we were able to collectively raise $10,000! This money will go towards building a new outdoor play area for the Umuvumu Kindergarten, which services the region surrounding Buf Coffee’s washing station, Nyarusiza. We’re excited to see the build commence early next year!

In late February we moved to our new home in Brunswick East. The change of location gave us a fresh perspective and allowed us a lot more space to strengthen and progress our operations. While circumstances prevented us from receiving visitors for much of the year, we are so excited to show off the new space and start hosting customers again in 2021 (not to mention start visiting them again, too!).

The whole world changed suddenly and drastically in early March and we, along with the entire coffee industry, were unsure of the future of our business and those of our customers and suppliers. Despite this uncertainty, we muddled through by prioritising communication and transparency in all of our relationships. Ultimately, it was the strength and flexibility of these relationships that has seen us through the hardest times of the pandemic, and we are committed to continuing and strengthening our partnerships, both here at home and at origin.

Our preconceptions about the world were challenged in June, when the Black Lives Matter protests here and in the USA forced us to acknowledge and question our inherent privilege – particularly in where we sit in the coffee supply chain. This was the start of many conversations about how to pursue anti-racism as a business and as individuals, and scrutiny of our practices both here and in the coffee producing countries we source from. This is an ongoing process of learning and change and one that we are committed to long term.

In August we said farewell to our long time team member and beloved friend, Mel, as she stepped out of MCM to pursue new adventures. While this was a bittersweet moment, it did give us the opportunity to welcome Beau Nimnual to the team. We are delighted to have her on board to oversee our domestic and international logistics and operations and cannot wait to get on the road in 2021 to introduce her to our roasting community. Welcome Beau!

Just this month we completed another huge move by transferring all of our stock to a new warehouse! Our new warehousing relationship will help us to provide even better service and support to our customers and are looking forward to seeing these goals realised in 2021.

Throughout 2020 we have continued to pursue a more transparent and sustainable future for specialty coffee by financially contributing to the Specialty Transaction Coffee Guide and World Coffee Researcch. We are also proud to be data donors to the 2020 Transaction Guide, which will be released in early 2021 and collates contract information from importers, exporters, producers and roasters to create a meaningful tool for price discovery and negotiation for specialty coffee transactions. We’re committed to supporting these important collective initiatives, which protect the future of specialty coffee production and farming communities, and encourage our wider coffee community to do the same in the upcoming year!

We couldn’t have done all of this without the support, trust and friendship of our coffee community – including our incredible customers, our treasured supply partners and the dedicated producers at origin and our hardworking team here in Melbourne. It is these relationships that bring us the most joy and give true meaning to what we do. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Here’s to a very happy holiday season and a “normal” New Year!

With love,

Fleur, Aislinn, Beau & Toshi.