The Zipella Story

April 3, 2020BrewHub


The Zipella Story

Steve Ella receiving a National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol First Peoples Award.

A Yuin man from the south coast of New South Wales, Steve Ella has a long and distinguished career in Aboriginal Health, particularly in drug and alcohol counselling. He holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy and a Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Health Promotion from the University of Sydney. Deeply passionate about the health and well-being of Aboriginal Australians, Steve’s contribution has been recognised with the National Drug and Alcohol First Peoples Award in 2012.

As a counsellor Steve has worked very closely with KARI Aboriginal Services, an organisation established in 1999 to support Aboriginal children in foster care in New South Wales. KARI is now the largest Aboriginal foster care provider in Australia – and ensures fostered Indigenous children remain connected to their identity – supported in an environment that champions their Indigenous culture and heritage.

What some people may not know about Steve is that he also loves coffee!

Steve observed as a strong coffee culture began to emerge in New South Wales and how much Australian’s care about the quality and taste of their coffee. He decided to set up Zipella, proudly an Indigenous coffee company in Australia – developing his own blends and taking them to Seven Miles, a boutique coffee roaster.

Honouring an Indigenous heritage

Zipella’s coffee blends are named for places of cultural significance from Steve’s childhood, honouring his family’s Indigenous heritage. He grew up on the La Perouse peninsula on the northern end of Botany Bay, spending weekends at Yarra Bay beach and diving for seafood to feed the family around Little Bay beach. In the summer he would visit his cousins at Wreck Bay which overlooks Summercloud Bay in the Jervis Bay Region.

Looking into Little Bay

In 2013 Steve was looking for the right corporate partner to help Zipella reach a wider coffee drinking market and Seven Miles introduced him to BrewHub.

BrewHub is a great match for Zipella

BrewHub knows the coffee business inside and out and is highly effective at engaging with corporate coffee drinkers whilst supporting the Zipella business model.

– Steve Ella, CEO Zipella

Almost seven years later many of BrewHub’s clients across Australia are enjoying Zipella’s coffee. The Little Bay blend – a full flavour coffee, earthy and chocolaty with a mild blackcurrant like acidity – is proudly BrewHub’s fastest growing blend.

Promoting opportunities for Indigenous employment

Steve Ella’s ongoing contribution to Aboriginal health and well-being is brightly reflected in Zipella’s corporate values where a commitment to providing opportunities for Aboriginal employment remains front and centre. Zipella received Supply Nation status in 2014 and gives preference to suppliers who support other Indigenous businesses. It encourages its corporate partner’s like BrewHub, to develop effective strategies to achieve successful Indigenous employment.

BrewHub is currently working to develop its Reconciliation Action Plan to establish our commitment to and meaningful actions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.

Coffee with impact

Casey Ralph, CEO KARI and Steve Ella, CEO Zipella

Casey Ralph, CEO KARI and Steve Ella, CEO Zipella

Twenty years on and now with a dedicated staff of 140, KARI continues to provide unwavering access to culturally specific foster care and a broad range of other services including out of home care, family support and early intervention. In 2017 the KARI Foundation was established to showcase, build and sustain Aboriginal achievement and to develop essential partnerships between government and corporate Australia.

Upon establishing Zipella, Steve pledged a proportion of sales revenue to support KARI’s initiatives and he actively encourages his business partners to do the same. We have responded at BrewHub by entering into our own community partnership with KARI which pledges on-going financial support for their programs throughout the year.

At BrewHub, our clients often tell us they want to have a positive impact upon the lives of others and choosing a social enterprise blend like Zipella resonates with their corporate values – and also with ours. Whenever our clients choose a cup of Zipella coffee, a percentage also goes to the KARI Foundation.

Our corporate clients value very highly the opportunity to spend money on Indigenous programs and they go out of their way to choose the Zipella blend knowing that this will help to sustain KARI’s services.

David Scott, Managing Director BrewHub


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