Coronavirus Outbreak Response

Temporary until further notice.
Latest update 30th March 2020 14.00h.

Please send any comments, questions or updates at

If you need coffee beans or brewing gear sent home to you or a friend/family member within Australia, know that our warehouse is still fully operating. Head to the coffee retail shop, brew gear showroom or Brew Crew subscription page.

Dear friends,

The coronavirus crisis is not something new anymore. Everyone is aware in some way that it is shaking our economy, in particular for the hospitality industry and other professional areas that cannot work from home.

The latest government decisions allow us to trade as take-away and retail stores, but the reality is that the foot traffic has dropped down as most people work from their own places or avoid going out if not for essential shopping. This has forced us to close our Surry Hills bar and the new Old Gold, just opened six weeks ago.

We continue to trade on our Pro Shop, where we still roast beans that go to wholesale customers and individuals (but we have decided to close on Sundays). On top of that, we are preparing to turn our shop into a basic corner store and we have launched our Sample Staples pantry essentials online stores. We plan to use this as a way to keep serving the community and trade in a way that allows us to give some work to our staff - most of them now out of work.

With everything changing so fast, we can only take things day by day and be ready for the next set of regulations. Even though it is painful to see our businesses shut, we can only hope that this is the best way we can reach a sense of normality as soon as possible.

Our original action plan was positively welcomed by industry mates and customers; we were some of the first to take a radical stance and advocate for behaviour change in our media. It was a bit scary - we thought we’d be taken as fools. But after that, there has been a massive movement of sharing and connection. Thanks everyone, it’s been great to work together and feel the warmth.


  • Stay home as much as possible. Come to our Pro Shop or anywhere else to get your essentials.
  • If you are feeling sick or have been in contact with someone that you know is infected, don’t come in. Send someone or shop online.
  • Please wash your hands as recommended before visiting or use the sanitizer.
  • No hand-shakes, hugs, high-five or fist bumps to our staff. Thanks.
  • Respect the social distancing rules: +1.5 metres from our staff or other customers.
  • Only serving in take away wares and only accepting contactless payments. Thank you.
  • Please wait outside or in the outdoor corridors once you place your order.
  • Intensifying cleaning procedures. Making them more extensive and more often.
  • Removing all our available seating.
  • Keeping up to date with the latest recommendations and adopting changes as required.
  • Working on facilitating online shopping and take-away services.


Why are you [Sample Coffee] doing this?

We are doing this to minimise, in any way we can, the risk of potential virus transmission. We are taking any sensible measure to slow down, if not avoid, the sharing of particles to and between staff and customers.

But the virus is “just like a cold”. Why all this alarm?

Stopping the spread of the virus is very unlikely, but we will do anything we can to slow it down. This is important to avoid the saturation of the hospital emergency and ICU units; if they get overloaded, the mortality rate goes up due to the lack of proper healthcare resources. Also, general illnesses and accidents will keep happening as usual, and these won’t be able to be attended properly if hospitals are inundated with Covid-19 emergencies.

A bad scenario for us would be to get our staff infected and put into quarantine for 14 days or more. Because everyone works closely together, an infection would mean putting everyone that has been around them in quarantine as well. This would mean the closure of our business, because who would make the food, coffee and roasting? We need half of our staff to keep this running, at least at a minimum.

For example, we only have two roasters. From today, they are avoiding contact with each other to make sure we have one person fit to keep roasting coffee.

Also, if things get out of control, the government may install really tough measures of lockdown like in Italy, Spain US or France. This involves the closures of businesses like ours. This puts in danger our financial future, including our ability to maintain jobs and service to the community.

So it’s not about how the virus affects our own individual health, which is a low risk for young people. It’s about how it will impact our community and economy if we keep spreading to each other.

Why don’t we just let everyone catch it?

Depending on your sources up to 15% of people require hospitalisation and 5% require intensive care. Slowing/stopping transmission is vital to ensure our health system can cope. (Quoted from John Mills Himself Strategy.)

Are there any hospitality guidelines that advise on what procedure/measures to take?

Not that we know of. We are just taking the measures we feel are the most sensible and safe, that are being generally taken across the industry. They are not static; we will adopt different or stricter protocols if the situation requires so, or if we find a clearer, official and evidence-based information about best practice procedures.

How not accepting cash and reusable cups can be safer against transmission?

These two measures mean that we cut a line on transmission from customers to baristas or brewers, and then to other customers. Our coffee-making staff will never touch anything coming from a third party - just their own equipment and the disposable wares (that have been untouched and stored as they come from the packaging warehouse).

Therefore, when they wash their hands often (strict protocol) and are not sick (we will not let them come to work if sick), there is no risk of external agents (i.e. virus droplets) arriving at the coffee-making equipment and then the disposable cups that get handed to the customers.

But I clean my keepcup thoroughly…

It’s not about how clean your keepcup is. When you touch your cup with your hands at home, placing it in your bag and then handing it to us, it means that you could potentially be transferring the virus to our staff. And from our staff to the rest of our customers all day long…

Or think it inversely: our barista could be giving you your clean cup with other person’s droplets on your cup’s surface. And then… anywhere to your face.

What about the BYO cup 50 cent discount?

We will be pausing this for now, we hope you understand and support us on this one.

The true cost of our coffees are the full price, and we’ve been offering this generous discount for now over two years, as a radical incentive to reduce single-use cup waste and facilitate behaviour change. We will bring it back as soon as things come back to normality, which could be in a few weeks if we all act now.

As a matter of a fact, in the last 12 months we didn’t make an extra $20,000 due to our decision of discounting 50c, in lieu of putting a tax on top of the original cup cost. Just imagine what 20k means for a small business. Please think about this if you want to complain about this temporary measure.

What about the environmental impact? We thought you were all about it…

And we are. These decisions have not been taken lightly. But the magnitude and seriousness of the situation require putting community health and safety first. These protocols are only temporary, and we will be back to advocating for waste minimisation as soon as things are safe and stable.

Can we dine in?


I always paid cash to avoid surcharges. How about that?

If you insert your card an select “Savings”, there will be NO SURCHARGE.

Insert + savings = +0% surcharge
Debit = +0.8%
Credit = + 1.5%

Remember, always wash your hands if you decide to use the insert+PIN version.

How long will this last?

As long as it is in the public interest.


  • If you are feeling unwell, please contact Reuben or John and don’t come in.
  • If you have been in contact with someone that is currently being tested or has tested positive, notify immediately and please don’t come in.
  • Place antibacterial gel (as soon as we get hold of it) next to POS for free customer self-serving. Make sure there is enough and an extra one in storage.
  • Only serve as take-away.
  • Politely inform customers that they need to space around and wait outside/
  • Wash hands often and after touching any external object like food packaging, door handle, light switch…
  • Water glasses to be placed facing down.
  • No water vessels/bottles to be made available. Serve only individual full water glasses.
  • Wipe tables and seats with a cleaning product often.
  • Wipe pastry display and POS area as often as possible.
  • Disposable cup lids: always keep a sacrificial one on top; take as required from the bottom.
  • Thoroughly clean after each shift (using product) each of the next items: all bar surfaces, tables, seats, taps, door handles, coffee machine equipment.
  • Don’t be afraid to call on a mate that is not following any of these important guidelines, and also don’t take it personally if somebody calls on you. This is about protecting all of us.
  • Open and as above.
  • Temporary closed.
  • Temporary closed.
  • Clean keyboards (roaster and computer) and mouse with an appropriate product after every roast day.
  • Clean boxing-tape device after every packing day.
  • All samples and production cuppings to be set up so each staff member has their own individual equipment, brews and spoon-dipping water container; (in other words, there is no shared equipment or liquids). Alternatively, follow SCA Modified protocol as per link below.
  • No cupping guests for now.
  • After each use of the delivery vehicle, clean and disinfect wheel and other parts touched by driver.

We thank you for your understanding and sorry if this causes any inconvenience to you. We hope you understand that all we are doing is to keep our community and economy safe and healthy.

Thanks for supporting us all through these times. We look forward to coming back to normal business as soon as possible.

Much love from all the Sample crew.


Article: Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo.

Environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for COVID-19 by Australian Government Department of Health.

Tips for small businesses to prepare for Covid-19 by CPA Australia.

WHO pamphlet describing best practice for hand-washing.

SCA Modified Cupping Protocol Sheet (ready to print) by SCA in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus Specialty Coffee Support Group on Facebook.