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Changing the World, One Bean at a Time

By Nicola Smith on December 8, 2020 in News

Ticking all the boxes. Photo: Keiran Stone

While many of us were slothing on the couch care of Job Keeper, Coogee Local Nathan Stone spent the COVID-19 lockdown walking on a human-sized hamster wheel to raise awareness about sustainable coffee.
The coffee lover spent 22 days walking, working and sleeping on the homemade wheel, live streaming it across the internet.
“I originally only planned to spend three or four days on the wheel,” Mr Stone told The Beast, “but I’d always said, ‘I’m going to keep going until people care about sustainable coffee or until my body breaks down’.”
Mr Stone’s friends and family delivered supplies and meals to him daily as he walked on the wheel that was housed in a coffee roastery near Maroubra Beach.
As he walked, the wheel ground coffee beans in a small hand grinder that was attached to its base.
The hamster wheel marathon was part of an Indiegogo campaign to fund Mr Stone’s startup coffee company – Community Bean.
Throughout the 22 days on the hamster wheel, Mr Stone raised enough money through pre-selling coffee to launch his business with all the sustainable elements he had hoped to implement.
“This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had putting together a business,” Mr Stone explained. “There’s charity involvement, sustainability and coffee, so it ticks all the boxes for me.”
The concept behind Community Bean is sourcing ethical coffee beans that are roasted and sold locally, with $2 from every kilo sold donated to local charities.
The three blends currently on offer reflect the charities that are supported, the ‘Fair and full-bodied blend’ supports the health charity Fair Game, ‘Banks blend’ supports Food Bank Australia, and ‘Nemo’s nectar’ supports Take 3 for the Sea.
Having helped build the Sydney branch of Fair Game, Mr Stone was passionate about creating a company that gave back to the community and felt that his ambition meant sustainability had to be a part of the business model from the beginning.
“It didn’t make sense for it to be community-oriented but not sustainable, because that would be hurting a community somewhere else,” Mr Stone told The Beast.
The beans are either Rainforest Alliance Certified or sourced directly from a sustainable farm.
“We source one variety of our coffee from a lovely guy called Carlos at San Ragael farm in Columbia, and we can make sure that they’re investing in sustainable farming practices and paying their people correctly,” Mr Stone explained.
Community Bean also packs their coffee in home compostable packaging and uses carbon neutral courier service Sendle.
Mr Stone doesn’t want to stop at just selling coffee beans though. His vision for the future is a self-contained social enterprise café where locals can buy coffee in reusable containers and drop off grounds for composting. Profits from the café, rather than going to charities, would go to fund local community groups and after school care programs in the area.
With a vision like this, maybe sustainable coffee really can change the world.