Our First Year in Review


12 months ago today I took on Cup From Above.  I did not know a thing about coffee or running a cafe.  I drank instant coffee!  I reluctantly inherited it through an unfortunate situation.  However on the 18th June 2012 I made a choice to do the best I could with it.  Here’s what happened…

We decided to make the cafe a “social enterprise” model (which means that profit is channeled towards social needs in the community).  We made the cafe a “community cafe” so it exists to unite the community and support those most in need in our community.

We never advertised for baristas.  All the baristas you’ve met at Cup From Above are volunteers.  Some were trained up from scratch.

Team CFA 18th June 2013

Team CFA 18th June 2013

Others were already experienced baristas that just wanted to help out.  Here is a list of all the great people who have helped build Cup From Above from behind the espresso machine:  Chris Weideman, Rachel Crouch, Caleb Bowles, Kirsten Bass, Sarah Green, Russell Miller, Sebastian Dickerson, William Cable, Rachel Hollingworth, Lachlan Ball, Brandon Ladner, Kris Smith, Esther Harding, Delwen Bothma, Joel Morton, John Tennett, Marsha Striker, Nadine Zandbergen, Thara Sijtsma David Aitchison, Gabriel Glen, Billy Woods, Bethany Bruce, Larissa Smith, Rebecca James, Katie Ashworth, Willy Goh, Sarah Pandurovic, Chris Williams, Daniel Stanton, Martha Yanez, Isaac Lane, Hannah Rogers & Corey Brockhurst.  All of these people have given selflessly to build Cup From Above into what is today.

I have to note several other key people who have significantly contributed to the success of Cup From Above that didn’t involve making coffee.  Blaine Swanborough, Rachel Hollingworth, Rosie Abbott, Annaliis Smith-Cottrell, Dyon Swanborough, Paul McColm, Sharon Casey, Russell Jorgensen, Shaun & Elizabeth Murray, Keith Murray, Adam Flatt, Ian & Deanne Charlesworth, Joe & Katie Greenwood, Mark & Miriam Pearce, Fiona Anderson and Krys Bunyan.  Each of these great people have played an integral part of the success of Cup From Above.  Without each of them the cafe would not be here or be missing a vital part of what makes it great.

Tracy Davis with Peter Rowe at Cup From Above

Tracy Davis with Peter Rowe at Peter’s “Art Extravaganza”

From the outset we decided to use the walls of the cafe to showcase art by local artists who are disadvantaged in some way.  The art is for sale but all the profits return back to the artist so they can continue to create more great art.  We encourage them to donate a percentage to a local community charity that we support.

Our first artist was Peter Rowe who had his “Art Extravaganza” on the 9th August 2012.  We were honoured to have Tracy Davis MP, State Minister for Disabilities along to Peter’s show.  Our next artist was Hussain Ibrahimi, a young refugee from Afghanistan and one amazing artist.  Then in October 2012 we had Jo Morris’ exhibition.  Jo was born with a rare disease that has restricted her to a wheelchair but when it comes to art she is anything but restricted!  After Jo was Mobarak Nazari who is also an Afghani refugee.  When Mobarak came in for his exhibition he had never tasted coffee in his life!  We quickly fixed that up.  Our art exhibitions are being organised by Elizabeth Murray who is herself a great artist and who avidly helps the disadvantaged.

From the birth of the cafe we have been running small “community concerts” every Saturday night to raise money for disadvantaged

Aspley State School receives their new instruments

Aspley Special School receives their new instruments

people in our community.   Musicians from Brisbane and around the world have performed for free and encouraged listeners to donate towards one of our charities.  Through these nights we have purchased instruments for the guys at the Aspley Special School, contributed towards therapy fees for Bella Maguire, raised money to fund Aspley High School Chaplain, Josh Woods’ program “Becoming Men” and a bunch of other important local needs in our community.

In October 2012 we held Glen Sheppard’s book launch.  We were honoured to have Yvette D’ath MP, federal representative for Petrie along to celebrate.  The Courier Mail attended and ran a story you can see here.  In April this year we started doing “Suspended Coffees” which was reported by The Australian, The Courier Mail & 4BC radio.  We were contacted by many businesses  around Australia and the world who saw what we were doing and started their own “pay it forward” programs.


Adam & Campbell Newman

Adam & Campbell Newman

Our modest little cafe was commended in Qld Parliament by Tracy Davis MP in April this year.  Earlier this year in February we were commended in Australian parliament by Yvette D’ath MP.

I was honoured to be invited to be a part of the Qld Plan this year and met with the Premier and many other leaders throughout Queensland to help form a plan for the future of this great State.  Cup From Above is helping to facilitate the formation of the Qld Plan in our local area.

All of this in just 1 year!

There’s many other amazing stories of great things that have happened here this year but we just can’t fit them all into 1 blog post.

It has far exceeded all of my expectations.  I never would have thought it was possible to see all of this in one year.  It has been an extremely difficult journey.  But through it I’ve seen this community come together and support one another.  I regularly see total strangers unnecessarily giving to each other.  I’ve seen poor people giving to rich people, muslims shaking hands with christians, disabled people empowering abled people & uneducated people teaching the educated.  Every week I’ve witnessed a miracle here and seeing these miracles have inspired me to keep going.  I want to thank you all for being a part of this.

I am filled with eager anticipation to see what the next year ahead holds!

Thank you,



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Jo Morris’ Art Exhibition

Jo Morris is a true inspiration.  At the age of 5, 1995, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis.  This physical disability caused severe muscle-wasting resulting in Jo being confined to a wheelchair.  With great determination and a passion for art Jo taught herself to paint and has developed herself as an artist.

Jo graduated in 2008 from the Brisbane School of Distance Education.  She successfully completed a Certificate II in Creative Arts and received many awards including several honour awards and also the ‘Endeavour Award’.

Since then she has displayed and sold work through Martin Galleries and other local art shows.

This year Jo won the ‘People’s Choice Award’ at Art From The Margins.  Jo also won a Special Artistic Merit Award through the Everylife Art Contest USA.

Here are some pictures of her art…

Chinese Willow. Framed Acrylic Painting. $150

Chinese Garden. Oil Painting. $112

Pink Lady. Framed Acrylic Painting. $150

Day at the Beach. Oil Painting. $112.


Orca Dawn. Oil Painting. $112.

Mountain Morning. Oil Painting. $125.


Jo & Adam


Jo’s work will be up for the month of November 2012.  10% of all purchases go towards ‘Believe in Bella‘.   If you would like to purchase one of Jo’s paintings or simple speak with her then let us know here.


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Peter Rowe in the Paper

Peter Rowe held his Art Exhibition here at Cup From Above on 9th August 2012.  We were very honoured to have Tracy Davis, the state minister for Disabilities and Communities, along to share a few words.  We also had Anthony Anderton who runs Art From the Margins.  Art From the Margins is an amazing organisation.  You can find more about them here.  And of course we were very grateful to have Jacqueline Husson from the Star Newspaper along to write this article.

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Peter Rowe in the Star Newspaper

Peter Rowe’s article in the Star Newspaper by the wonderful Renee Subacius.

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