Project summary

Kua Coffee is a start-up whose mission for zero-waste and the principles of a circular economy are helping to create a positive impact for coffee farmers in northern Uganda and Sydney coffee enthusiasts.

In 2017, a group of students travelled to Uganda to work with local agriculture students as part of an exchange between UNSW Engineering and Uganda’s Gulu University. As they were visiting local farms, two UNSW Engineering students, Darcy Small and Brody Smith met a local coffee farmer who shared his knowledge of local agricultural practices and the challenges of growing coffee in Mount Elgon.  

When the two students arrived back to UNSW, they looked at the possibility of partnering with local Ugandan farmers to create an ethical business that could satisfy Australia’s love of coffee while driving development projects in Uganda.  

With the help of UNSW Engineering in 2018, the pair travelled back to Uganda to make their idea become a reality. Soon after they rounded up a team of other UNSW students to build a world-positive start-up together.   

Over the past few years the team has created a social enterprise model with its’ farmer partners in Uganda. All profits from the coffee sales in Australia are reinvested in community and environmental projects such as the Love Mercy Foundation: Cents for Seeds micro-loan project that provides loans to 20,000 women across Uganda.

Project outcomes

Every cup of coffee equals impact!

Kua is now a registered charity, distributing coffee to workplaces in Sydney, Australia, and committing 100% of the profits towards environmental initiatives in Uganda where the coffee is farmed.  

In 2020, the profits are being reinvested in the Trees for Global Benefit program where they purchase carbon credits from the coffee farmers who plant native trees for an alternative stream of income, land stabilisation and ecosystem regeneration.  

Working with Australian workplaces to distribute Kua coffee, the team also recycles the spent coffee grounds by delivering it to local nurseries and community gardens for composting. So far, they have helped to save on average 7.3 kilograms of used grounds per year from landfill and therefore powering the circular economy!


Mount Elgon, Uganda

Population of 135,000

25 hour journey from UNSW, Sydney

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United Nations Development Goals

SDG 1: No Poverty
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 13: Climate Action
SDG 15: Life on Land