September 2018 - Important freight updates. Secret Label and certification programs
Date Posted:4 September 2018
“A woman’s mind is cleaner than a man’s: She changes it more often.” — Oliver Herford
It's spring and that means the harsh extremities of winter's biting force are starting to temper. As hard as it is to cope in the freezing weather at 6am in the morning, it's actually far better for coffee roasters being cold than hot. We don't have to run around like a crazy men switching on coolers to keep everything stable. Alas, it won't be long before I'm complaining about the heat !
Last month's secret label went nuts. So many customers returned for seconds and thirds, it was pleasing to see such a lovely coffee so well received and enjoyed.
This month we have an African powerhouse as our September secret label. I'm not keen on giving out clues, so the only info is that it's an African, it's high grade and it's an expensive lot offered at big discount to the market.
Cleanskin pops it's head up for another round. At just $17/kg it's by far the best value fresh roasted coffee in Australia - get in early as there is a limit.
There's a big bundle of Shipping/Freight changes this month and we encourage you to read through - Sendle is back, AusPost introduce a fuel levy and we provide some explanation and helpful tips on how to get the best outcome from Authority To Leave and collection cards.
Our feature article this month unpacks certification programs within the coffee industry and argues whether it's really making a difference.
September Secret Label
August's secret label proved a big hit with our customers and it was delightful to receive so many excellent feedback messages.
The fact we had more than a ton of that delicious coffee meant we could run the campaign for longer and it was surprising to see customers return for seconds and thirds in the weeks that followed initial release.
We loved the concept of a secret as it proved customers can purchase without bias and I should say a big thank you for placing your trust in our hands.
For September's secret label we have written a blank cheque for a delightful treat - one of the top lots from a well-respected African origin.
OK, so I've let the "region" slip right there (but not the origin) and another clue is it's definitely an expensive lot - but so is everything high grade from Africa, commanding big $$.
Seriously though, I doubt coffee of this calibre would sell under $50/kilo retail and to be honest rarely are you going to see this type of coffee being sold through retail channels.
Africa is the home of power-house coffees. They punch well above their weight and the good examples exhibit incredible complexity in the cup.
This current season lot is scoring a solid 86 points. Keep in mind less than 1% of coffees worldwide score over 85 points and relatively few cafe coffees score over 82 points with most barely able to reach 80 on a good day !.
This is specialty coffee at it's most deliciously special. Rich, lush, rounded, balanced and so very moorish.
Life is too short, treat yourself to something indulgent at just $28/kg it's a steal.
Buy as much as you want but as always with coffees, we don't know how long it will last. At this price, it's a steal.
Only available in 1kg bags, sorry, no 500g packs and no ground packs.
Grab it here - September Secret Label
Cleanskin is a program offering fresh roasted coffee at crazy prices.
This month we have put together a Cleanskin blend of beans from Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia priced............ at......wait for it..........$17/kg.
If we're not mistaken, Cleanskin is perhaps the best value fresh roasted coffee beans in Australia (fresh roasted means coffee roasted within 4 - 32hrs of dispatch)
This combo gives up a rich, creamy body with notes of caramel, milk chocolate, currants and dried fruits. Delicious as a milk-based espresso.
No limits, just 600 of these 1kg bags available and it will be roasted daily during the campaign.
Only in whole beans and once it's sold, that stealthy Cleanskin will be hidden until it's next appearance.
Please note - No 500g packs and no ground packs.
Grab it here - Cleanskin
Important Freight and Shipping updates
We are about to enter the peak freight season that runs from mid-September through to end of December.
With the exception of the limited resources in January and Easter, the peak freight season becomes the absolute worst time of the year for all freight across Australia - it's not us, but the combined effects from traditional merchants in their cycle of stocking up inventory for the festive season.
After 10 years of seeing gridlock from the volume of parcels in the network jumping by up to 50% (especially late Nov through mid Dec), we must look at ways to help our customers avoid an already congested system. We want to reduce the frustration of customers waiting for their parcels to arrive.
This month we have a lot of updates to share along with explanation and tips to help your parcel transit run smoothly, so please take a moment to read what's changing.
- Sendle is back and it's much better.
- AusPost are raising prices with their new fuel levy.
- After many customer mistakes in the checkout, we provide some explanation and helpful instructions on how to help ensure your parcel is left at your premises without signature.
- Waiting for a collection card to be left in your letterbox can be unreliable.
Sendle - it's back - no, it's not Ground Hog day
We have always tried to offer plenty of choices for our customers and this also extends to shipping service providers.
It's been 7 months since we switched off Sendle due to issues with collections and support.
In that time, Sendle has been listening to it's merchants and introduced additional features to facilitate an improved service experience. Guaranteed collections promises to resolve the primary problem with prompt and regular pickup from our facility.
We have recently enabled Sendle to provide our customers with a fair choice or alternative to AusPost and it comes at a critical time to help avoid the peak freight season.
Read more about how to get the best out of Sendle here.
AusPost pricing increase - a new 2.4% fuel levy
As predicted last year, AusPost have introduced a new, additional charge to their freight rates called a fuel levy, from 1 September 2018.
Fuel levies have been an annoying blight in the transport and courier industry for decades. Once implemented, they are impossible to remove or eliminate, regardless of the price of fuel in Australia.
This is an extra cost to on top of their existing rates, raising the cost of their service by a stated 2.4% but we don't have enough detail at this time to know the full impact across the components making up the charge and therefore our shipping rates have not changed at this time, but they may change soon once we have more data.
Authority To Leave - are you doing it right ?
We have been copping a lot of flack from customers taking the stick to us - accusing us of changing their orders to prevent parcels from being left at the receiver's premises if nobody was in attendance at the time of delivery.
First things first - we don't touch customer order data unless instructed to by the customer separately via email authorisation and confirmation. We utilize a fully integrated logistics system - whatever the customer defines on the order in checkout automatically carries through to dispatch - no data is touched or handled by humans.
Secondly, it's important to point out the process actually works. We are not interfering with or over-riding preferences - customers do in fact have parcels left at their premises and more than 60% of our customers use this option for their parcel deliveries.
When you progress in the checkout, all orders have the "Authority To Leave Parcel if Receiver Not Available" = NO" as the initial (default) preference.
It's very simple to change this to YES in the checkout and it's important to understand that if you do not change this value, the parcel will not be left unattended. No instructions will over-ride this setting, please do not rely upon written instructions, in many cases they are ignored.
Read more about how to use Authority To Leave here.
Historically, there has been a practice of leaving a collection card at the premises when an attempt to deliver was unsuccessful.
Traditional couriers rely upon this feature to notify a parcel is available and whilst it was also (and should still be) the practice of AusPost, we see a particular trend for AusPost not leaving collection cards.
Parcels will not be stored by freight providers for long - so you must keep checking tracking details. Parcels not collected within a certain timeframe will be returned to us. We get charged an extra $11 on top of the original freight charge but more importantly, the return to sender loop runs at a ridiculously slow pace.....sometimes it takes 3+ weeks.
Large retailers are treating consumers as fools with meaningless sourcing programs.
I've been disappointed for years how some (not all) coffee industry programs treat elements of the supply chain and more importantly, the end consumer, as complete fools.
Today, we have various competing regimes for FAIRTRADE, Organic and the recently merged toothless tigers known as UTZ/Rainforest Alliance.
In addition to those formal programs, there are many rampant marketing trumpets blown by coffee companies claiming special, exclusive arrangements under the umbrella of Direct Trade relationships. In truth, these hollow claims are often nothing more than an excuse for an all expenses paid junket to foreign soils for topping up the vault of carefully staged coffee-farm selfies.
We take a look at two different certification programs - first the commercial aspects of the FAIRTRADE system are dissected and then we take apart how some of the largest coffee retailers are treating consumers as fools with meaningless certification programs (not FAIRTRADE) claiming sustainable sourcing practices that continue to perpetuate poverty in coffee farming communities.
Read more here.