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Kua Coffee

By Allan Pooley

Coffee and Climate Change

Kua Coffee Mobile E-Commerce UI
The new Kua brand
Some of the offices where you can find Kua Coffee, big flex 💪
Kua Coffee Desktop E-Commerce UI
Kua Coffee shop grid
Kua CameraSwap Project - Kua sent five film cameras to coffee farmers on Mount Elgon. At the same time, cameras were sent out to Kua coffee drinkers in Sydney, drinking the coffee that was grown by those same farmers.
Page building in Sanity for the Kua Coffee site
Products pulled through and synced from Shopify using Sanity Connect
CameraSwap - some interesting data modelling in Sanity
Data modelling a CameraSwap photo in Sanity

About the project

I first met Kua in a co-working space called The Commons in Sydney Australia in 2019. They were a group of students that had managed turned their university project into a fully-fledged business.

The idea behind Kua Coffee was to make a climate positive change through the supply and trade of workplace or office coffee in Australia. Kua had an intimate relationship with small-hold growers in Uganda, who they would purchase beans from at ethical prices. The beans would arrive in Sydney, be roasted and prepared by Kua who would then deliver them directly to workplaces and collect the used coffee grounds. The grounds would be repurposed into recycled products and delivered to community gardens. Profits generated by the business would be channelled into back into Uganda, first by micro-financing farmers, and then into building climate resilience in these regions who were perhaps most at risks by the impacts of climate change.

In my mind though, Kua was much more than that, they were a seed of important and exciting ideas around sustainability that was implanted in the workplace culture of big businesses and offices in Australia, and it made them invested and active participants in change.

Back then, in 2019, working with designer Sakura Rimal, we helped them build their first website. It was loud, colourful and quirky.

Two years on and Kua Coffee had evolved. The brand had matured, corresponding to the business and the team. Additionally, they wanted to expand their offering from B2B to B2C, and they came to me looking for a self-managed subscription service. My trade had evolved too, I had new tools and new ways of doing things, so a fresh build made the most sense.

Working with Digby Ayton (Kua’s brand and product designer), we built the second iteration of Kua site with a NextJS frontend, Shopify for e-commerce, extended to support subscriptions using ReCharge, and Sanity tying everything together and allowing the team to customise the site to their needs.

Kua’s site has an emphasis on beautiful simplicity. It corresponds to how they run their business and their products. It’s honest, it's different, it's not wasteful, it's straight forward, and it's clear.

A special addition to the site is the CameraSwap project, where Kua sent five film cameras to coffee farmers on Mount Elgon. And, at the same time, sent cameras to Kua coffee drinkers in Sydney, drinking the coffee that was grown by those same farmers.

We had a part of the site built to share the result of the project, with photos taken in Uganda and Sydney, along with captions recorded in a little notebook sent with the camera.

Sanity was a big help in organising the relationship between cameras, rolls of film, photographers, locations, and photographs.

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