As awareness of sustainable, low-waste and ethical business practices continues to grow, owner and master roaster David Kennedy of Bun Coffee talks about how he has addressed these issues during his thirteen-year coffee journey in Byron Bay.

‘Specialising in organic, fair-trade and Rainforest Alliance coffees was always a given for us and something we have chosen to do without much fanfare,’ says David. ‘We don’t charge our customers more for it; it’s just standard practice for us. I’ve always thought that if you have the chance to source quality beans with these options then “why wouldn’t you?” We can all do our bit to ultimately contribute to better working conditions for the 25 million small-holder coffee plantation farmers.

‘It’s essentially about creating stable prices, decent working conditions, empowerment of farmers and workers, better environmental practices and regeneration of resources to help make the coffee industry we love so much more sustainable and viable in the long term.

Single origin

‘I was offering single origins in 1989 but in those days there was very little understanding and uptake. Now it’s being driven by the demand of consumers for high-quality coffees to be enjoyed in their purest form. By producing our single origins it’s also an opportunity to tell the origin story of the countries and the specific regions and farms and further supporting the farmers and their communities for better working conditions.

‘For instance, our Project 121 Single Origin is a collaboration between us, importer, and grower to develop lasting, secure partnerships with farmers at origin. Bun Coffee is the only Australian supplier of this coffee.

Takeaway cups

‘We have only ever used BioPak packaging for our takeaway cups, chosen because of they are fully compostable with a plant lining (instead of plastic). We are lucky to live in Byron Shire where the council does recycle single-use takeaway cups and green-waste compost bins are available in public places and homes. Unfortunately the provision and collection of green bins is not available for businesses yet so we hire one specifically for the Roastery and pay for its collection.

‘We sell our coffee sacks at the Roastery and all proceeds go to Byron Youth Service locally. We’ve also seen some fantastic upcycling projects from our coffee sacks, from cushion covers, home furnishings, and aprons to pet bedding and garden mulch. All our coffee grounds go to a local nursery.’

Within the industry we can all help to honour the women and men who grow and harvest the coffee we love, says David, and take positive steps in our own coffee-related businesses. After all, ‘Why wouldn’t you?’

This article appeared in Echo Publications on 10 October 2018.