As the lines increasingly blur between fashion and lifestyle, the humble cup of coffee has become as essential to the daily life of the fashionista as it has to the barista.
With Australia one of the most coffee obsessed nations in the world, the arrival of the speciality coffee movement has had an impact beyond the local cafe scene, moving into the country's broader contemporary culture across design, architecture and lifestyle trends.
While other fashion retailers have dabbled in the coffee space, the Cotton On Group is the first to wholly embrace not just the speciality coffee trend but the ethos behind the movement. Its coffee project, Mannya Trading Co., has been developed to provide savvy coffee lovers with a premium range that is not only high quality but also sustainably produced.
Available online and in select Cotton On and Typo stores Australia wide, the Mannya Trading Co. range includes Arabica coffee sourced from Uganda using direct trade principles.
Embracing the true 'Crop To Cup' philosophy, Mannya Trading Co. works in partnership with farmers at every stage of the process, providing confidence that the coffee has been sourced ethically and sustainably.
From establishing its own coffee plantation, to empowering farmers with the education and equipment they need to produce the best crops, the project aims support the long term financial independence of farmers.
With all gross profits from sales invested back into the project, the sale of just one bag of coffee is enough to feed a Ugandan family for a week. It means customers have the opportunity to make a real difference, while enjoying their favourite brew.
Project Manager, Ross Burrage, says supporting the sustainability of Ugandan communities is what underpinned the release of the range.
"Mannya Trading Co. was born out of the Cotton On Foundation's sustainability pillar which focuses on investing in projects and activities that provide communities with the skills and knowledge to help build a brighter future."
My Burrage says there has been a strong emphasis on delivering a premium coffee product to customers, a result of the oldest and most traditional methods being using throughout the entire growing and harvesting process.
"Everything is done by hand with the beans handpicked by the farmers, hand-dried and hand-roasted by the finest craftsmen and women. It means each cup of Mannya Trading Co. coffee has had a massive amount of time and care put into it and this shows in the flavour of the end product."
Nathan Johnston, founder of Geelong speciality coffee wholesaler, Coffee Cartel, has played a big part in the development of the range. He says Uganda is emerging as a leading region in speciality coffee production.
"Over the years, I've seen so much progression in growing and producing specialty coffee in Uganda - they're becoming one of the most advanced and transparent countries on the planet," he says.
"By tapping into the Bukonzo Joint-Co Operative we are able to access single origin beans from countless coffee micro-stations. This year we're offering five different varieties, each with their own distinct flavour and taste profile and this is increasingly what coffee drinkers are seeking out."
As the festive season approaches, it is the combination of a premium product and a good cause that Mannya Trading Co. hopes will appeal to gift givers. With enough beans harvested and packed for 160,000 cups, the coffee brand is set to spoil coffee lovers this Christmas.