Meet the indigenous-owned coffee brand making its mark in Australia

By MiNDFOOD

Dhuwa coffee
DHUWA, pronounced 'Dee-Wah', means 'to feel alive' in the Bidhjara language. We sit down with Shawn Andrews, a proud Mununjali Palawa man who is fostering connection and celebrating his ancestry through his coffee brand, DHUWA. 

Tell us about your vision behind DHUWA?

As a modern Indigenous-owned, managed, and controlled business, we believe a great cup of coffee connects us as we share stories, build bonds, and nourish relationships. We call it ‘reconciliation in a cup’ as those stories and connections can provide unique opportunities to start conversations with non-Indigenous Australians.

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and requires conversations to be open and honest, and also frequent. A cup of coffee has the ability to provide the foundations for those continuing conversations and the platform for discussions on achieving meaningful change.

What are some important Indigenous values that underpin the business?

DHUWA was founded over a shared passion of rich traditions, great coffee, and a good cause. The heritage of the Indigenous culture appreciates history, and this was a defining factor in partnering with Griffiths Bros Coffee Roasters to bring DHUWA coffee to life. This partnership sees the oldest culture in the world come together with Australia’s oldest coffee roaster, to create an outstanding cup of coffee.

Along with our consumers, we respect the land we come from, and want this reflected in our brand experience. Our supply chain, closed-loop manufacturing and green initiatives are focused on the future environmental and economic health of the coffee industry. By minimising our environmental impact, we maximise our social impact, creating economic sustainability for our coffee growers. Driven by sustainable practices, our bags are labelled in line with Planet Ark Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and the REDcycle Program, whereby our bags can be recycled to produce new products including asphalt, signs and outdoor furniture.

This start-up has also enabled us as Indigenous entrepreneurs to create a modern brand that provides coffee with a conscience to at home baristas and corporate coffee drinkers alike.

What is the significance of the meaning behind ‘DHUWA’?

DHUWA /DEE:WAH/ means to be alive in Bidjara Language. The perfect fit for a coffee brand, it was important that our packaging embodied the true sense of DHUWA. We commissioned artwork by Indigenous artist Jyi Lawton, titled Story of Mundgarra – Rainbow Serpent, which is used across all DHUWA packaging.

A descendent of the Bidjara people in Central Queensland, Jyi was inspired by the vibrant sandstone cliff of Carnarvon Gorge In the central highlands of Queensland. The long, sinuous form throughout the painting represents the rainbow serpent Mundgarra, one of our creation ancestors. Mundgarra created the cliffs, mountains and rivers of Carnarvon Gorge.

We also have a Yugambeh dictionary on the website to further promote discussion around the different Indigenous languages and how we can keep the lexicon alive in our everyday lives.

This is important to us and can also be seen in our marketing, where we celebrate culture by bringing the language of Country into the supermarket. Phrases such as ‘rise and yalnun’ and ‘the early mibunn catches the worm’ can be seen in store, encouraging people to start a conversation.

In terms of the ingredients, production and flavour, what makes DHUWA coffee unique?

We spent a lot of time on roast profile development with our partners Griffiths Brothers Coffee Roasters, who pair 140 years of industry pioneering with a state-of-the-art fully integrated Brambarti roastery.

DHUWA coffees are sourced from Brazil, India, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Colombia, and Ethiopia and used to create blends for more complexity of flavour and aroma. The DHUWA range includes three blends: First Light, Kickstart, and Bigshot. Each with their own roast profile and strength, and unique tasting notes.

There’s just nothing like a beautifully roasted and brewed black coffee to exhibit a roaster’s taste, talent and commitment to the craft.

Tell us about your partnership with Dreaming Futures, what made you choose this charity?

As an entrepreneur and educator, I’m a passionate social advocate, driven by a purpose to give back. My vision to end Indigenous disadvantage led me to found Dreaming Futures, to which DHUWA donates five per cent of every product sold.

Dreaming Futures supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home-care to experience Country, culture and connection. Working together, we are putting a stop to the cycle of transgenerational trauma. Futures resourced by culture and community, relationships that connect and support education outcomes, which normalise workforce participation.

Dreaming Futures pilot programs will be facilitated across Victorian Indigenous communities during 2021-2022 and is driven to grow to become a national program.

What’s your favourite blend and why?

As an early riser my go-to coffee is a Kickstart Latte. With beans sourced from Brazil, Papua New Guinea, India and Indonesia, Kickstart is the mid-strength blend in our range. Tasting notes include caramel, jammy plum and chocolate, which makes it the perfect everyday blend for those who like a great espresso or enjoy milk in their coffee.

The DHUWA range is available at Woolworths. For more information, visit dhuwacoffee.com.au

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

BECOME A MiNDFOOD SUBSCRIBER TODAY

Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe.