This weekend we go to the ballot boxes to vote on The Voice referendum. This is a turning point for Australian's in reconciling and taking a step forward and away from our dark and shameful colonial past. This is a small, but significant step towards progressing our First Nation's Peoples and showing our support in helping to repair and rebuild the world's oldest living culture.
This month, I wanted to highlight an Indigenously owned business, which transparently, I don't do enough of. So here's to doing a better job of elevating and celebrating Australia's First Nation's Peoples, their stories and the work they're doing in our communities. Not just during moments like these, but always.
Lone Crow, is owned and operated by Reimis Smith, proud Bundjalung and Wiradjuri man and 1st grade professional rugby league player for The Melbourne Storm. Reimis is supported by his family who help to run the business.
A few weeks back I spoke with Shireen Collett-Smith, Lone Crow's Creative Director, and got to hear the Lone Crow Coffee story, and also heard about all of the wonderful things that Lone Crow are doing to help encourage and support Indigenous Aussies to enter into the coffee Industry.
Lone Crow Coffee is the brainchild of Reimis Smith. Here is a little snapshot into how this Rugby League player found himself in the coffee game. Shireen explains,
"Our Director Reimis Smith got into coffee, because he wanted to find another avenue to pursue aside from being a professional athlete. Which, he realises has a very short shelf-life and he has more decades after footy to consider. He is deeply obsessed with good quality coffee, it's what he wakes up for in the morning... This drove him to look into sourcing his own unique blends and Australian beans, grown and roasted on his own Bundjalung land. Reimis is passionate about encouraging other Indigenous people to become business-owners and self sufficient, turning dreams into reality. It's only early days, but this unique and amazing company is really growing momentum."
The Lone Crow Coffee Crew. (Pic supplied).
I asked Shireen what sets Lone Crow apart from other Coffee Businesses, and the answer was simple - their commitment to always be giving back to Community.
"The purpose behind the company, is our main objective is to ALWAYS be giving back to community and other generations, young old and be a positive role model to all."
Recently Lone Crow supplied coffee at a gathering at PCYC, Redfern and spoke during NAIDOC week about the importance of Indigenous Culture and Country. Their presence at these events helps provides visibility and the role modelling that underpins what they're all about. Additionally, Reimis' committment to this cause has been recognised by the NRL who have nomianted him as a finalist for the Wellbeing & Education Award, in the Entreprenuer category.
So what can we expect from Lone Crow's Roasts?
"You can always expect a smooth, rich, nutty, caramel aroma in my coffee, that tastes perfect with or without milk." - Reimis Smith
Lone Crow source beans from Africa, South & Central America, Indonesia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, South East Asia. This month some subscribers will also be trying their most recent roast, the Ukuni blend - a portion of the proceeds from this blend will go back to the Ukuni Women's Association in PNG.
"The Ukuni women grow their Arabica Coffee beans naturally, free from chemicals and pesticides, at higher than 1600m above sea level. These farming methods – combined with the Western Highland’s ideal temperatures and rich volcanic soils - create some of the world’s best conditions for growing coffee. These beans, blended with Australian and Indonesian beans create notes of Easy Drinking Chocolate and Fruit & Nuts. Roasted on Bundjalung land, Australia, in partnership with Zentveld."
So, what advice can you give to our home baristas to help get the most ouf of their brew?
"First thing is to get high quality specialty beans that are freshly roasted and consume them one - three weeks after roasting. This is when they are in their prime. Take your time, get the grind right for your particular bean. For a perfect Cappuccino, tap out the excess air and pour slowly." - Reimis
Sustainability is a focus for Brew Sip Happy, so I asked Shireen to share some information on some of Lone Crow's sustainability and social impact efforts.
"We are a profit for purpose company. At the heart of "Profit for Purpose" lies the belief that a business can be a force for positive change... We are looking into several ways to lessen our impact on the environment, including repurposing coffee grinds, bio cups, fully compostable bags."
And finally, what's the best coffee you've ever had?
"The best cup is every LoneCrow Coffee I have, but other than that it was made by Jay at Maloneys Grocer in Coogee because it was perfectly balanced in every way!"
Thank you to the team at Lone Crow Coffee for supporitng this small business and so generously accepting to be our feature roaster this month, and for letting me share your story.
At such a vulnerable time for the Indigenous Community, we appreciate your openness and positivity.
You can find out more about Lone Crow Coffee on their website, here.