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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Cup From Above Supporting ‘Boost For Benny’

Cup From Above is helping raise money for the ‘Boost For Benny’ foundation.  Some CFA regulars, Fiona and Jarrod Lloyd, are the parents to Benny, an amazing boy who has had a rough start to life.  Benny was born with hydrocephalus, a cyst on his brain, as well as cerebral palsy and autism.  Benny has been in and out of surgery many times and has to be fed through a tube every night.  Fiona and Jarrod spend the time and money to get him to therapy, developing the skills he hasn’t yet had the ability to develop.

The Lloyd Family

The Lloyd Family. Fiona, Jimmy, Benny & Jarrod.

They receive some financial support from the government but it does not cover many of the expenses Benny needs.  Our goal is to raise as much money as possible to help the Lloyd family get Benny on his feet and racing forward in life, helping pay for therapy and look at getting him into an AEIOU school, a school which specialises in teaching children who have autism.

You are able to support Benny by making a donation at, or you can ‘like’ their FaceBook page at  This family is nothing short of an inspiration and I can’t wait to see Benny grow up and reach the skies!

If you have any questions or ideas regarding fundraising it is possible to reach Fiona or Jarrod at


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Tracy Davis MP commends CFA in Queenland Parliament

We were very honoured to be mentioned in Queensland Parliament recently by Tracy Davis MP.  Tracy Davis is the State Minister for Communities, Child Safety & Disability Services, member for Aspley and, most importantly, regular coffee drinker at Cup From Above.
Here is an excerpt of her speech in parliament on 18th April 2013.
Hon. TE DAVIS (Aspley—LNP) (Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services) (3.24 pm): Today it gives me great pleasure to rise to commend the work of a terrific small business in my electorate. Located in the heart of Aspley on Gympie Road, at the 340 bus stop, is the Cup From Above Cafe. Cup From Above is where art, music and good coffee are found, but Cup From Above is much more than that. It is where the cafe employees, locals and volunteers come together to support the less advantaged and each other.
In the past week, Cup From Above has made national headlines, including articles in the Australian and the Courier-Mail, in regards to its most recent initiative, suspended coffees. The practice of suspended coffees originated in Italy more than decade ago. It encourages strangers to buy coffee for the homeless and disadvantaged. Suspended coffees provide support to those who need a sanctuary to relax and somewhere to be welcomed with open arms and a warm beverage. Adam is trialling suspended coffees this month, exchanging heart shaped tokens for coffees paid forward, which are then displayed on a rack in the cafe. So far, the suspended coffees have been distributed to disadvantaged residents in the Aspley Acres Caravan Park.
Since its opening in June last year, Cup From Above has built a great reputation for its passion for community. Adam, who also works as a disability support worker on the Sunshine Coast, is passionate about his work in the disability community and his passion is clearly reflected in his cafe. Artworks donated by local artists line the wall. Proceeds from the sale of art go towards purchasing instruments for the students at Aspley Special School. Cup From Above also runs live-music sessions where all of the musicians play for charity and, of course, there is always a donations jar. Cup From Above may be small but, as the adage goes, good things come in small packages.
I was thrilled when Adam accepted my invitation to be one of the three Aspley electorate representatives to travel to Mackay to discuss and contribute ideas in the development of the Queensland Plan. It is wonderful to see this level of community spirit and support thriving in my electorate, where a community can bond together to promote equality and improve the lifestyles of those less fortunate or in need of support.
Excerpt taken from the Hansard website here
Tracy Davis champions many community focussed organisations and people in the disability community.  We are very grateful to have a local Member so dedicated to our community.   You can find out more about Tracy on her website here or follow her on her facebook page
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‘Solved In Silence’ by Glen Sheppard

Glen Sheppard was born with Down Syndrome, Autism & without the ability to speak.  Glen has learnt to communicate via Facilitated Communication and is at the University of the Sunshine Coast studying Creative Writing.  Glen has written 2 books and has just completed his third book ‘Solved in Silence’.

We’re helping sell Glen Sheppard’s new book ‘Solved In Silence’.  You can purchase it from Glen’s website at or you can buy it right here at Cup From Above.  The book is selling for $18.  Here’s a map showing you where to find us…

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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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