Words by Beth Gleeson
We have just reached our first month of cafe trade in our new favourite city: Brisbane, QLD! South Brisbane is quite honestly one of the coolest places on the planet. Vibey, central to all the fun things, and the people are just really, really good. We thought it necessary to explain ourselves, as one of the first questions these Brisbanians ask us is "Why are you guys here?"
So, here's a (small) part of our story, from my (limited and biased) perspective. But hey, if you're tapping out of the story at this point, (it's okay) all you need to know is that we love coffee, and people. A lot.
One of the first times I ever hung out with Christopher Gleeson, (spoiler alert: he's now my husband) I dropped into the factory bay at Tuggerah, which doubled as his dwelling. (Side note: ‘roastery’ is 100% not an actual word, but has become part of our daily language as coffee people.) It was 2009. He made me a cappuccino. I wasn’t a coffee drinker, I didn’t appreciate that he had hand roasted the beans that day, and that this was a GOOD coffee. I also definitely didn’t appreciate that this was the first of many thousands of coffees that Chris would make me.
Over the next few months, I realised that I wanted to be around this guy.
I realised that I wanted to drink coffee, a lot.
What I witnessed during this time, as Ben and Chris launched Glee Coffee Roasters, was two brothers who believed in coffee, more than anyone I had ever seen. They believe in coffee like I believe in music. It’s a powerful thing. It’s a worldwide connection, crossing all language barriers. We can all appreciate its glory! As we like to say, “Coffee: Humanity depends on it!” These boys believed in coffee enough to quit their jobs, to work for free, spruiking the product by day, sleeping on futons by night. No one does this stuff without sheer, honest belief in something.
In joining the Gleeson family, one of the unique things I’ve observed (and perhaps been grafted into) is this ‘pioneer spirit.’ I’m yet to figure if this is an inbuilt trait, or a mechanism which is learnt over time. Either way, I get this familiar feeling any time we do crazy new things.. My subconscious self recalls the adrenaline, as well as the exhaustion of a new project. It might be a new cafe, or meeting a new customer, or building a whole new roasting premises.
The new thing can be like a constant chase, and sometimes the end game is as elusive as a reptilian shape-shifter. The goal posts can change as quickly as you can say ‘conspiracy theorist’. Any small business owner will know both the intense joy and (frankly) the sheer agony of a new project. There’s huge energy, outlay and output as a team heaves together to pull something off that hasn’t been done before.
Business owners have to adapt to the changing times like a creature of the earth, there’s greater pace and accessibility now than ever before. The risk, the rush, the deadlines and designs.. Suppliers and staff, people and products. The creative mind swims with opportunity, while the executors knuckle down to get it done.
Amongst it all, one thing is certain: belief is something that can’t be manufactured. Even if a product is as excellent as they come, it has to have some belief attached to it, and it starts internally. A great product with some guts behind it is a powerful thing. Sometimes it's gutsy to simply have a go!
This sense of belief in a quality product is deep in Brisbane’s culture and we are so excited to join an already vibrant coffee scene. Our friends at Wolff, Coffee Supreme and Blackboard Coffee have been at this for a long time and we know Fonzie Abbott, Parallel and Black Sheep Coffee are bringing their fresh vibes to the industry too. Bring on all the coffee!
So, anyway.. Hey Brisbane. We like you already.
Back to the question.. "Why are you guys here?"
We're here because we really love specialty coffee, and we'd love to drink some with you sometime.
Here’s to the new thing; the slightly scary, the wild, the downright odd.
Here’s to the pioneers. May they wear weird hats like the colonial discoverers and not be ashamed.
May they drink happy thoughts and blaze trails simultaneously.
Want to check out our Brisbane store? Find us here!
Beth works in our marketing team and is a full time coffee drinker. Alongside her husband Chris, Beth is a part owner of Glee Coffee Roasters. They love people and coffee and their super cute kids.