Discovering The Best Life Experiences Came From A Café Nearby

by Kate Stewart

MY DAILY RITUAL

My morning coffee hit has been a daily ritual for as long as I can remember. It has always been right around the corner at a Café nearby. I guess it started way back in high school. It is something that I will do for the rest of my life, I love it so much! Some days it’s a piccolo latte, some days a double shot, some days a smoothie. Every now and again it’s all three. If someone told me back in high school that I would design a sustainable drink tray made from 100% recycled plastic, perfect for the daily coffee run, I’m not sure I would have believed them. It's funny how life works. Little did I know how much my coffee habit would be such a game changer for me and potentially the world. 

If someone had told my 15 year old self that I would develop a reusable drink tray that would be Australian made and owned, a truly sustainable business, I would have been so thrilled.

How good would it be to have had a crystal ball back then?

 

Stay tray Sustainable Reusable Drink Tray

 

I vividly remember the first time I ever tried coffee. I was in Year 9, it was after school and I was at a friends house. We were raiding the fridge when my friend said to me, “Hey, you should try these chocolate covered nuts”. Amazing I thought, I love chocolate! When I bit down, I instantly knew the joke was on me. My friend, at that point, was rolling around on the floor crying with laughter. You see I had bit into what I thought was a handful of chocolate covered nuts. I was expecting to taste an amazing chocolate layer followed by a series of delicious crunchy nuts. What I really got was a bitter, full flavoured, coffee hit as I munched down on a handful of coffee beans. We still talk about it to this day. Apparently, it is still one of the funniest things she has ever seen!

It took a couple of years to try coffee again after that first traumatic experience. It has played such a significant role in my life. I am so glad I gave it another go.

If a historian ever investigated my life, I think they would be able to establish a direct correlation between coffee and the most significant relationships and events in my life.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN 

Back in high school, a couple years after my traumatic experience with coffee, I would sneak out of school when I had a free period and walk down the street to a cafe nearby.

High School Coffee Runs

I distinctly remember the first few times I went by myself. After a few weeks, it turned into six of us sneaking out to a Café nearby most days. After we were busted by the Principal a few weeks later, heading out on her own afternoon coffee hit, we changed to meeting at a café nearby every morning.

We used to talk about everything! It was so fun, being carefree and meeting my best friends every morning. I really believe that it was these catch-ups, our morning coffee hit, that brought us so close together! These six women are still my closest girlfriends to this very day. We still speak every day, just not in person over our morning coffee!

Uni Days

Post finishing high school I was accepted into University in a regional Victorian town. It really did feel like I was starting all over. None of my close girlfriends were going to the same University. I was so nervous. I was moving out of home at the age of 17.

Moving to a country town where I didn’t know a soul. It really was the University café where I met some really nice people who became my friends. The café and let’s not forget the local Uni Bar, the cornerstone of all good Universities. Spent some time there too.

At the café we would meet and chat, we would do our assignments and study for exams. On weekends I would travel home, catch up with my old school girlfriends at a café nearby and work on a Sunday. I also recall doing my weekly food shopping from my Mums pantry! Pretty cheeky right? I never had any money back then. Between rent, coffee and Uni night at the local pub it never lasted!

Mother's Group

Fast forward to when I had my first child, a beautiful baby boy. It was the local café in Melbourne where I met with other first-time mothers. My mothers club was such a large part of my life back then. Such a great support network for women all in a similar position. We would meet most days at a Café nearby, right round the corner from my house. We would get a good morning coffee hit.

I really needed a good morning coffee hit back then. It was like a slap to the face after a never-ending night of crying and wet nappies! We would talk about our babies, how we were surviving on very little sleep and wondering how something so small and cute could make such an enormous mess.

We would also meet in the local park so our kids could play. I even remember driving around the local area, together with one of my mother’s club friends, trying desperately to get our babies to sleep in the backseat.

Stay tray Drink Tray

Office Coffee Runs

When I returned to work after my first child it was cafés in Melbourne CBD, round the corner from the office, where work friends and I would get together every day for our morning coffee hit. We would get into the office around 8:00 am, by 9:00 am sharp we were heading out the door to hit the Café nearby. We would have team meetings there; I even remember taking clients there a few times. As a matter of fact, a few years later not one, but two of the team had their 30th birthdays at cafés in Melbourne CBD. Talk about being attached!

A few years later in 2017, I returned to work a second time after being on maternity leave with my darling daughter. My daughter who I still can’t believe has this week started in her first year of school.

Where has all the time gone? It's gone so fast.

THE BIRTH OF STAY TRAY 

It was around this time in late 2017, where the idea of Stay tray was created. And again, there is a very strong connection to coffee and a humble coffee shop near me. I was on my way one of my favourite cafés in Melbourne CBD to get my morning coffee hit with a friend. We had our six reusable cups full of hot, delicious coffee. Worried about how we were going to get them safely back to the office, the barista said, ‘Would you like a drink tray?’. There we were, using our reusable coffee cups but carrying them in a disposable drink tray. That was my ah ha moment, and Stay tray was born.

Coffee has been a constant in my life for so long. I have made lifelong friends over it. It has helped me get through so many late-night cramming sessions for exams. It has helped me begin and build a professional corporate career. It has been with me through the birth of two children. It has been there through all the highs and lows of my life. Now it provides me with the opportunity to develop a truly sustainable business.

Who loves a morning coffee hit?

 

Stay tray Sustainable Coffee and Drink Tray