3 Elements Coffee: Supporting Veterans, One Cup at a Time  

The Australian roasting company helps to create opportunities for veteran communities. 

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Photos courtesy of 3 Elements Coffee 

Brisbane, Australia-based 3 Elements Coffee, founded by Navy veteran Terry McNally in 2016, has a mission to support the transition of ex-military personnel into the commercial workspace. To help achieve their goal and raise awareness of related issues, Terry picked coffee as their product of choice, using funds generated to assist in the transition process. We reached out to Terry to find out how 3 Elements Coffee began, what the company has achieved so far, and much more.

Choosing Coffee to Support Veterans 

Knowing that many veterans face difficulties when trying to adjust to civilian life after service, 3 Elements works to ensure they are supported through this transition. One of their main goals is to raise funds for two charities: PTSD Resurrected and Australian Veterans’ Children Assistance Trust. These organizations provide veterans with job training, interview skills, and education scholarships for their children.  

A veteran in a wheelchair, missing one leg,  holds up two bags of coffee near the 3 Elements coffee kiosk at the Invictus Games in Australia. Someone at the kiosk in the background gives a peace sign.
3 Elements Coffee was served during the Invictus Games, an international multi-sport event for wounded, injured, and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans. 

Terry, a Navy veteran himself, cares deeply about the post-service transition for veterans. “Often HR companies don’t understand what skill-sets military personnel have and how they translate to commercial speech. This is the same for the veteran during transition; they don’t know how to communicate what they have done to an HR company. (They may find) it hard to get employment and need a transition course to help them integrate into the commercial community.” By providing courses, coaching, and funds for veteran charities, 3 Elements Coffee hopes to make a positive change in the lives of those who have served their country.  

Terry picked coffee as the company’s product of choice because he believes it is a great way to bring people together. “Coffee is a great way to connect people and start conversations; it’s something we all can relate to,” he says. ”For us, it’s also about the taste and sourcing of premium beans from around the world, while ensuring that producers are being paid correctly to support their own families.” 

A gray-haired man in a suit, wearing glasses, shakes hands with a man in uniform. Onlookers smile near an Invictus Games banner.
The 3 Elements team attends various community events, where they serve up delicious coffees and educate people about their mission and how to support veterans. 

How 3 Elements Gives Back to Veteran Communities 

The company does several things to support veterans, such as developing custom roasts for charity organizations by mixing blends that they promote on their respective websites. In addition, a percentage of sales are given back to the charity. The charity can also purchase coffee at a reduced wholesale rate, with 100% of profits going back to them. 3 Elements also donates half-year and full-year supplies of coffee as prizes in auctions.

Coffee Carts

3 Elements will also loan out their coffee carts to veterans looking to start their own businesses. Terry explains that they don’t charge for the loan of the machine and the cart; these tools help veterans to see whether a coffee business is for them. “If it is for them, we then loan the cart ’til they save up enough money to buy/build their own cart so they become self-sufficient, allowing us to then re-loan out the cart to another veteran,“ he says. “If it’s not for them, it still gives the veteran opportunities to talk about themselves to the customer whilst serving coffee. … (They can) show potential business owners/companies who they are and talk about what they did in the military in the hope that person gives them a formal interview/job.” 

Many veterans have found success in 3 Elements Coffee’s transition programs, and Terry is proud of what the company has achieved. He hopes to see more veterans given the opportunity to pick up new skills and find meaningful employment after service in the military. “My advice to them is to think about their passion and how they can turn it into a business. Stick to what they know. Research what they want to do and if there is a market for it. Be prepared to work long hours to start with and go to as many network nights as they can,” he says. 

The line of Jack Reacher collab products. Two bags of coffee, one called Worth Dying For and the other One Shot, an all black travel mug with the words Down Under, a similar water bottle, and logo tote bags.
The collaboration with Lee Child is an example of the company’s commitment to creating meaningful partnerships with shared values. 

Jack Reacher Collab

3 Elements Coffee has also teamed up with Lee Child, the award-winning author of the highly successful Jack Reacher books, to create a special range of limited-edition blends for fans in Australia and New Zealand. The company plans to expand by offering even more veterans the opportunity to own their own coffee carts. Furthermore, they will be actively promoting their businesses in the community as a way of helping other communities, clubs, and organizations raise funds for their own initiatives that benefit the community through the love of great coffee.  

All these activities are aimed at continuing to give back to society while simultaneously growing the reach of the company’s business. If you wish to find out more or get involved with 3 Elements’ initiatives, check out their website

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine, and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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