Coffee was not part of Anton Cavalli’s original career plan, but then again not much of Anton’s life story was anticipated. Having gone through multiple brain operations, a successful transition and a cancer diagnosis, it’s safe to say he has conquered more than most of us would face in our lifetimes.
Anton turned to coffee to earn a living and support his family. This month, he celebrates the launch of his coffee business, Cosa Nostra Coffee. Driven by determination, passion and great gratitude, this is Anton’s story.
“I was born female into a predominantly Italian family and very religious. I identified as male from a young age, but was made to repress these feelings,” Anton says.
Life was difficult with this alone – but at the age of 14, he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. “After 13 brain operations, I had to do rehabilitation to learn how to walk and coordinate my limbs again.”
It was music that not only helped his recovery, but it also introduced him to someone that would change his life.
“I took up drums. Music is a fantastic healer, and I became addicted to this.
“When I was around 25 years old, I met an amazing singer by the name of Abby Skye. It was at the Festival of Sails in Geelong. We became good friends and she invited me to Queensland to songwrite with her.”
After having spent most of his life as a sick patient with an overprotective family “wrapping me in cotton wool, so to speak”, Anton was excited but terrified at the thought of moving to another state.
“A good friend of mine and the man I bought my first car from happened to be a movie producer with credits in Mad Max (now that’s a whole other story!). He paid for my flight to Queensland and set things up, so I’d have the confidence to go.”
Anton went and fell in love with not only the Sunshine State weather, but his newly discovered independence as well.
“I decided to stay in Queensland, and that was over 10 years ago now.”
Due to Anton’s acquired brain injury, he survived on a disability pension. “It was limiting, but afforded me a lot of time which I mostly spent resting, networking and learning about the local music scene, mostly from behind a laptop screen.”
Anton went on to build an entertainment business, PowerMouth Entertainment. He also launched Mouthzoff Mag, a digital music magazine, and interviewed a lot of famous people.
But amidst his passion for music, Anton felt the weight of transgender issues continuing to wear him down until he found himself mentally at breaking point.
“I sat on the end of my bed crying and told my cat I was not putting myself through this anymore.”
The story of Anton’s transition is another chapter in his life story, but the transition was successful. “It cost me dearly, financially, most of my family and friends…a huge loss. But I gained so much more.”
After spending almost a year going through the Centrelink system without success, Anton got a part-job as a barista at a local cafe. It was around this time that he met Phillip Di Bella at a local business event.
“I heard Phillip give a motivational business speech that really rang true for me. I chatted to him afterwards, and he invited me to keep in touch.”
This brings us to the next stage of Anton’s life, where he met his fiancee.
“My little cat got sick and needed repeated visits at the local vet. That’s where I met Bec, the beautiful veterinary nurse that I am now engaged to. Our love story is full of more uncanny and fantastic happenings.”
Then came a shock diagnosis that turned Anton and Bec’s world upside down.
“I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer throughout my bones. After a few days of getting over the shock, I decided to begin fighting. With Bec by my side, showing me so much love, I am slowly but surely conquering this too.”
Anton decided to reach out to Phillip to get his thoughts on running a little coffee cart.
“I told Phillip I am determined to earn a living and support my new bride-to-be. She has three kids on the spectrum, to make life more interesting. I told Phil I was thinking about teaching my 17-year-old stepson to operate the business with me too. I was so excited about this plan, but Phillip in his wisdom thought of the realities, my limitations and the bigger picture.”
Phillip suggested that Anton look into ecommerce and dropshipping.
“The next time we spoke, I asked him, how do I begin? Where do I start? Phillip introduced me to his fantastic, new state-of-the-art facility, The Coffee Commune. His general manager and leading industry guru, Christian Bianco, took me under his wing. From there, I was supported and empowered all the way. I worked hard and fast, piecing my new coffee business and brand together.”
And according to Phillip, Anton has grasped the opportunity.
“I reached out to him and suggested that he start his own coffee brand so that he can work on something and also build his own company. He is kicking butt in terms of promoting and marketing his business, Cosa Nostra Coffee.”
How you can support Anton
The launch party of Cosa Nostra Coffee is happening on Saturday 17 April at 10am at the Suttons Beach Pavilion in Redcliffe.
“All are welcome to the launch party. It’s also where I proposed to Bec last October. The owner Olie has become a good friend of mine, and has agreed to serve Cosa Nostra’s debut blend ‘Smooth Operator’.”
There will be sample packs of Anton’s coffee available for purchase on the day, as well as 500g and 1KG bags of his three debut blends, organic beans and a speciality Decaf he has aptly named “In Denial”.
“I realise I am greener to the industry than most of the beans they’re importing in!” says Anton.
“But if there is one thing I hope others can learn from this, it’s to never underestimate your ability. With the opportunity, support, knowledge from seasoned industry professionals and endless resources I’ve received from The Coffee Commune, I am giving 100% to this next life adventure.”
There is much to tell in Anton’s story, and we look forward to reading his book one day.
If you would like to know more about how The Coffee Commune can help you accelerate your potential, get in touch with us.
Want to create your own signature roast? We’re giving one cafe owner the chance to design an exclusive coffee blend for use in their cafes.
Are you a member of the coffee industry in Brisbane? Share your experience and you’ll go in the draw to win a Coffee Enthusiast membership at The Coffee Commune.
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