Roasters Interview: Get To Know A.R.C Inc.

The Coffee Commune

Meet Arlee, Rocco and Cristiano, three 12-year-olds who have set out to prove age is no barrier in the world of business.

What started out as a school holiday activity has developed into a vision to fuel their future. Now Arlee, Rocco and Cristiano have created and launched their first coffee blend at The Coffee Commune.

“A.R.C is our first names abbreviated,” says Arlee. “Our business is A.R.C. Inc and we supply coffee blends. Our first ever blend is called A.R.C. Reserve and it’s very delicious.”

From holidays to the hustle

The idea for the coffee business began when the three young friends visited The Coffee Commune over the school holidays.

“We came here to relax and have lunch, and Phil came up with the idea of starting our own business,” says Cristiano. “It was just going to be a school holiday project, but it eventually expanded through a meeting between the three of us.”

Now the boys are already light years ahead of some industry professionals, having roasted, packaged and sold dozens of bags within their first week.

“We each have a role to play,” says Arlee. “We could not start production without Rocco. He designed the logo and the coffee label.”

Rocco the creative genius of the three, had a clear vision for what he wanted the logo to look like. “The logo has a viking helmet that represents our school, Churchie,” he says. “It was really fun trying to create the logo, and printing it on our labels and flyers.”

Logo of ARC Reserve

Arlee heads up production and operations. “We mixed our beans in a big tub and then roasted them. There was a lot of work that went into that. The making of the beans, the bagging, measuring out the kilograms.”

Together the boys learned about all types of green beans and what they taste like, and decided to create their blend from three of the world’s best coffee origins – Rocco chose Australia, Arlee chose Brazil and Cristiano chose Costa Rica. The result? A strong, well-balanced flavour profile with distinct mocha and caramel highlights.

“It was a great process and we found out how to make coffee. We then packed it, sealed it and put stickers on it, and now people can buy it,” says Arlee.

That’s where Cristiano comes in, overseeing sales.

“People can buy our coffee in the cafe or they can buy it online at The Coffee Commune website. I’m taking 14 bags of coffee down to Newcastle with my family. I’m looking at selling it to my grandparents’ apartment, and I’m planning to sell it all within the first week or so. I’m going to go knocking on doors.”

Small people, big goals

But the ambition doesn’t stop there – the boys are even thinking about diving into the wholesale market.

“We’ll also be targeting Megafresh, and other cafes, fruits and delis,” says Cristiano.

According to Arlee, there’s nothing like the feeling of selling your first batch of coffee. “We spent a good five minutes celebrating that!”

Besides the joy of sales, there will be plenty of life skills and learning opportunities to pick up along the way.

“It’s going to be really exciting learning how to sell. I’m excited to learn how to design things, how things suit different styles and different customers,” says Rocco.

“We’ve learned a heap about coffee and I think it’s going to be pretty revolutionary in the future, how coffee and business ideas have helped us. Later in life I want to have the skills to start my own business, how to run a business and how to manage my money,” says Cristiano.

And in case you were wondering, the boys have tried the blend – and given it a big thumbs up.

“The first cup of coffee I had was amazing,” says Rocco. “It was the first time I ever had iced coffee. I was really surprised at how good it was!”

The most important lesson of all

“We’ve also learned while researching that there is a very good cause to donate our profits to – the Starlight Foundation, a children’s charity,” says Arlee.

Indeed Indeed, 5% of all net proceeds from every bag of A.R.C. Reserve sales will be donated to the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

“There are some kids not as fortunate as us. We chose to support Starlight Foundation because it helps kids live in the moment and actually enjoy life and not worry about the future.”

Rocco adds: “I feel like it’s very important to pay it forward to other people.”

“We’re proud that here at The Coffee Commune we’re able to help somebody go from playing on their iPads to developing their own brand and company,” says Phillip Di Bella, founder of The Coffee Commune. “These three young minds came up with an incredible initiative to give back to their community. They’ve done a logo, a pamphlet and organised their own sales.

“We hope that this collaboration will inspire other young entrepreneurs to have a go.”

How you can support A.R.C. Inc.

Not only can you fuel the future of the next generation, you can also contribute to the wellbeing of sick children by supporting this initiative through your purchase. A.R.C Reserve is now available in 1KG bags for $40 at The Coffee Commune cafe or buy online here.

“By purchasing our coffee, you are investing in our business,” says Cristiano. “This support will allow us to grow and learn many important life skills as well as the day-to-day running of a business.”

“All kids have big dreams,” says Arlee. “I want to be a forensic scientist and Rocco wants to become a world-famous rock climber. The money we earn will help our dreams come true.”

Listen to our podcast episode with A.R.C. Inc or follow the boys’ journey on Instagram.

The Coffee Commune