Wednesday, 13 September 2017 01:43

Baristas, tech experts come together on coffee industry ‘sustainability’ challenge


Coffee and tech industry leaders will focus their minds on solving challenges in the coffee industry during the first ever Griffiths Bros #hackoffeethon2017 in Melbourne in October.  

Industry “thought leaders” will come together for two days at the Eastern Innovation Business Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Mulgrave on 13 and 14 October in an event described as “a meeting of like-minded peeps who want to explore how technology can have a profound and positive impact on the coffee industry”.

“As well as introducing and connecting participants, #hackoffeethon2017 will put our industry on a pathway to finding solutions to sustainability challenges by developing ideas that participants can explore after the event is over,” the managing director of Griffiths Bros Coffee Roasters, Peter Patisteas, said.  

“We believe better application and a greater willingness to embrace technology across our industry can bring about positive sustainable change in both the short and long-term. Plus, it will be a kick-ass experience for everyone who attends!”

Teams of up to six participants will compete to come up with the most innovative ideas at #hackoffeethon2017, with judges awarding prizes including a year’s supply of free coffee and a barista masterclass, valued at $3000, to the winning team.

Additional prizes include a Kickstarter team bank account up for grabs valued at $1500, alternative brew kits (Chemex, V60 Pourover, Cold Brew) including filter paper, scales and coffee valued at $1300, and a dinner for six people at Kisumé restaurant valued at $1000.

According to the chief executive officer of the Eastern Innovation Business Centre, Danielle Storey, #hackoffeethon2017 would appeal to a range of participants including start-ups from the tech industry, developers, coders, designers and hackathon enthusiasts, baristas, café owners and operators, coffee experts, students and academics.  

“There are thousands of talented thinkers across the Australian start-up scene. We’d like to begin connecting with them and become a supporting presence that goes beyond their next cup of coffee,” Storey said.  “Coffee has fuelled many a brilliant idea but the industry faces challenges and it’s time for some fresh eyes.”

Storey says that, following a theme of sustainability throughout the coffee lifecycle — from plantation to transport to roaster to cafes to the consumer — #hackoffeethon2017 will seek solutions to a range of industry challenges.  

“For example, as consumption rises year on year, farmers in coffee-growing regions around the equator have been hit with the perfect-storm, unseasonably and increasingly warm and dry weather, increased levels of pests and disease and higher prices for fertiliser have hit their crops hard, can a tech-driven solution create a more sustainable coffee ecosystem?

“Is it possible to produce carbon-neutral coffee and what does the solution look like? And how can the industry reduce or eliminate waste by finding alternative, or sustainable uses for coffee by-products.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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