twenty to do's

Twenty ‘To Do’s’ For The Next 20 Years… 

There’s a lot to celebrate this 20th birthday and celebrate we will with Festival Of Twenty.

There’s also lots to ponder…

We couldn’t have guessed that in 2023, coffee producers would largely STILL not be earning a living wage. Or, and this gets trippy, that Mamma Earth would be hotter and more unpredictable, with estimates that up to 50% of quality Arabica regions will be unproductive by 2050.

Roll up the sleeves.

20 things to do next, looking out from our 20th birthday: 
1) Celebrate cafes.

Pillars of society! Cafés have been places for connection, ideas, activism, work and art since their creation in Middle Ages Constantinople. The longer we’re in this, the longer we reckon that cafes make the good world go round.

2) Reward for quality and fly the specialty coffee flag.

We still pay on average a blended rate of 2-2.5 times higher than the C-market.

3) Bang the drum for black coffee.

Black coffee started at 2% of total coffee sales in 2003 and has now reached 28%. It’s mad to see the continual take up of our high-quality single origin features, the very thing we came about to champion and share. We’ve launched Damn Special Stuff for filter and have a stellar espresso line up in the works.

4) Normalise shopping for home coffee from your local café. (aka Supercafe)

We don’t even have to explain it right, it’s such a logical thing to do?  

5) Introducing Circular O – ‘No Rubbish Coffee’

No more ‘she’ll be right’, passing climate and waste issues down the line. We’re taking responsibility for our spent coffee grounds, which emit methane in landfill. Starting in Victoria, partnering with Reground, we’ve made a commitment to divert spent grounds from landfill with each Melbourne café partner we supply. So far, we’ve diverted 6500 kilos of grounds – the weight of 2 Orcas or 3 giraffes – into Victoria’s home and community gardens, as well as Melbourne Zoo. (Hence the animal reference.) No rubbish coffee, in more ways than one.

6) 80 more artists in the next 20 years.

Woohoo, this year marks 25 artists commissioned since 2013 for our Art Bag Project. We’re aiming high - for the 100 artists mark - bringing coffee-fuelled creativity to cafes and homes across Australia and Japan.

7) Yes, Japan.

Off the back of what’s been a successful and wild ride (eg Building our East Tokyo Hamacho café over Zoom during Covid), there’s more Single O Japan goodness to come. Ditch the hotel coffee and soggy cereal you packed and come find us.  

8) Enviro-sourcing for No Death To Coffee.

Shade-grown. Water conservation. Intercropping. Pulp and husk recycling. We’re supporting partners whose farming practices support climate change mitigation, as an integral part of No Death To Coffee. 

9) Missions Against Emissions.

Our carbon footprint sucks. But bit by bit, we’re lowering emissions. And while offsetting is just a band-aid, we have proudly planted – and some with our own hands - enough trees to offset 5754 tonnes of carbon, via Greenfleet Australia

10) Throw more parties.

The years tend to roll into one another but you never forget a good party, right?

11) Keep Getting’ Loopy.

From our chaff and roasting by products to our packaging, we’re working to close the waste loop.

12) Stay friends with serendipity.

Our once dish-hand in Surry Hills – Yu Yamamoto - is pretty much why we now have a business in Japan. We met our Head of Coffee, Wendy De Jong, who has sourced and innovated with Single O for a decade, while holidaying in Seattle. And after a long letter and epic interview, we hired our GM, Mike Brabant, an outsider to coffee and to Australia. Sure, there’s more planning as you grow, but we still love a good chance encounter or opportunity. 

13) Pause. Reflection. Oi Oi Oi.

There is no ‘to-do’ here, other than to marvel at how amazing the Australian coffee industry is, both at home, and running coffee businesses abroad. The future? AI can surely be no match for this lot.

14) Stay left.

Home of the first Juggler Café Mike system by Six Simple Machines. And Batch Brew On Tap, a mash up of craft beer style choice meeting servo style self-pour and self-pay. Innovating in the café space keeps us challenged and out of trouble :)

15) Make cup price rises as needed.

Over 20 years, coffee cup price compound growth rate has stayed under 2.5% (A flat white costing $3.50 in 2005 and $5.00 today.) But geez people focussed on each rise. Now, thankfully, Aussies seem to be readily accepting that higher prices reflect higher quality and true costs. 

16) Kick butt for community.

We accelerated our volunteering the past year, with 575 hours for non-profits including Relove as well as legends Seabin, Greenfleet and OzHarvest. Can we keep it up amongst shifts, roasts, emails, meetings? That’s the plan.

17) Do good in the hood with Cafesmart.

Happy 20th also to Street Smart. This pioneering organisation rallied us on board in their first Sydney year to do our grassroots bit to tackle homelessness. See you in August for Cafesmart, everyone.

18) Above, beyond and sideways with coffee.

To date, some products have included Christmas blend Sugarplum, and Parachutes, world first nylon-free coffee drip bags. Looking forward? From variety exploration to cold brew, we can’t wait to share more coffee creations. 

19) It’s about what you don’t do.

The secret of any effective To Do list, isn’t it?

20) Stick to hospo roots now more than ever.

The values we’ve learnt in the café – have fun, make it happen, show generosity – as navigating principles to do good and retain truth and purpose.