Cafe on Cue

Ryan Spaccavento has one mission in life: To save people from drinking bad coffee at events.

In 2013 Ryan quit his corporate job to start Coffee On Cue with the sole purpose of bringing specialty coffee, like you’d get at the best Melbourne cafes, to corporate events.

To do that he bought a secondhand Toyota Townace van and a secondhand coffee cart and hired out a storage unit near Tullamarine Airport.

A few years later, he took high protection road cases, traditionally used by bands to transport musical instruments and audio equipment, and turned them into portable coffee carts.

“Each coffee case fits through a standard door, uses regular power and is simple to set up,” explains Ryan.

In fact, watching Ryan unpack a Coffee on Cue case, with a full-size La Marzocco machine inside, is like witnessing a hatstand emerge from Mary Poppins’ carpetbag.

The coffee cases and stands can even be branded, and Coffee On Cue has been present at events from thirty to 30,000 people.

So what makes coffee so important at events? Ryan started his hospitality journey owning a pizza shop in Marrickville, Sydney but became passionate about coffee so turned his attention to learning everything he could about the beans and the brew.

“When you offer people an amazing cup of coffee at an event, everything changes,” smiles Ryan. “People start connecting with one other and hang out, chatting, at the coffee cart. Coffee is a conduit to conversations so great coffee makes for a memorable event experience.”

 

“When you offer people an amazing cup of coffee at an event, everything changes,” smiles Ryan. “People start connecting with one other and hang out, chatting, at the coffee cart. Coffee is a conduit to conversations so great coffee makes for a memorable event experience.”

All of Coffee On Cue’s coffee is sourced directly from farmers.

“I firmly believe that it is important to guarantee each farmer’s livelihood by paying higher than the C price,” explains Ryan. “The C price is the commodity trading price of Arabica on the Intercontinental Exchange, regardless of the coffee’s origin or whether it’s a specialty coffee. Even Fair Trade coffee retailers may not pay higher than the C price.”

Before lockdown, Coffee On Cue was serving coffee at over 100 events per month. Suddenly, in March 2020, that number dropped to zero and Ryan was left with 750 kilograms of beans in his warehouse.

“Like everyone else in hospitality, we pivoted,” says Ryan. “We started supporting online corporate events by sending attendees a filter coffee pack and then running coffee making sessions through Zoom. I was teaching people in Singapore and New York how to make a flat white like a Melbourne barista, right here in Yarraville!”

Coffee On Cue also started offering coffee subscriptions to households and virtual masterclasses for subscribers. It’s been so successful that Ryan is working on launching a direct-to-consumer brand.

So thanks to Coffee On Cue, you never have to drink bad coffee again. As Ryan’s Tshirt says:

“Never Fear. Coffee is Here.”

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