The Great Coffee Cup Debate

The Great Coffee Cup Debate

The war on waste has recently highlighted the issues of the disposable coffee cup and the great coffee cup debate is something we should all participate in.


As a human occupant of this amazing planet as well as a mother, business person, environment and animal lover the topic of waste, recycling and sustainability is a keen interest and concern of mine.

A responsible attitude toward waste is essential and in this ever increasing “throw away” society – finding solutions are difficult.

The “Great Coffee Cup” debate may seem a simple one on the surface but there are many issues to consider.

It may seem easy to simply say – “don’t use disposable take away cups” or “reward reusable coffee cup owners with a discount”.  Both of these ideas have merit but let me throw up some things to consider.

A coffee shop relies on its reputation of good coffee.

·      The coffee grind and machine are set up to push the correct volume of water through the coffee biscuit at the correct pressure to produce the perfect amount of espresso for the cup volume used at the particular coffee shop.

·      The proportion of coffee yield to milk/water is a vital part of the success of a cup of coffee.

·      The space under the portafiller of coffee machine is fixed so only certain height cups can fit under to receive the coffee shot.

Use of a in-house reusable porcelain cup requires staff to deliver the coffee to the customer, staff to collect and return to the kitchen, staff to wash and return the cup to the barista, energy to heat the water to wash the cup and run the sanitising dishwasher, detergent to ensure a clean and healthy cup, energy to heat the cup and run the coffee machine. On top of these costs are the added overheads of insurance, wages, Workcover and general cafe running costs.

You would think a takeaway cup, whether disposable or reusable should negate many of these processes and costs.

A disposable cup and lid costs approximately 25c extra to an in-house cup just as packaging. It does not however require further input after the coffee is made.

Disposable packaging does have a waste problem though. Many cups do not break down and cause large volumes of land fill. There is energy required to produce the paper cup, trees are impacted in the need to produce the paper for the cup and the plastic lid and lining of the cup uses fossil fuels in its production. The sheer number of disposable cups used every day make this a significant issue.

Reusable Take away cups

·      are often made from plastic or have plastic lids or heat bands. Fossil fuels are used in their production.

·      vary considerably in volume and are most likely not the same volume as your local coffee shop is set up for thereby affecting the taste of the end product

·      variance in the end coffee quality not only affects the customer experience but also can affect the coffee shop reputation as a perceived poorer product is produced

·      vary considerably in physical height and may not fit under the portafiller of the machine

·      are often handed over to the barista dirty and then require staff time and effort to clean

·      cups are cold which in turn affects the temperature and quality of the end product.

As a business owner some things to consider are:

·      Do we increase the price of a take away coffee so that we can then discount an “own cup” coffee?

·      Will in house customers demand a discount off a standard price if they provide their own cup?

·      How do you manage hygiene of customer owned cups and possible liability?

·      Where lies the fine line between profitability, environmental consciousness, customer demands, quality assurance and good service?

·      Profit margins in the hospitality industry are pretty slim. Offering discounts for ‘own cup” use may wipe out any profit on that particular cup of coffee.

It is a complex dilemma for which I am not able to offer a solution, just some points for all to consider.

For the moment, here at the Riverdeck, we use disposable take away cups from an environmental responsible company ( whose cups are carbon neutral, produced from plantation timbers, are biodegradable and commercially compostable.biopak-art-series-double-wall-cups

We don’t have a surcharge for take away cups or offer a discount for “own cups”.

We are looking into the provision of discounted refills on our own reusable cups, which could be purchased by customers, thereby maintaining quality of our coffee end product. This requires a significant capital investment with no guarantee enough customers will take up the offer for us to recoup our costs.

The Biopack Difference

Benefits of Biocups

Whatever decisions we make as businesses or individuals please just consider the many different aspects of the issue and respect each other’s right to make those decisions.

Enjoy your coffee and espresso yourself!



Riverdeck Cafe Celebrates Alpine Valley Wines

Riverdeck Cafe’s Growing Alpine Valley Wine List

There are so many reasons to visit Bright and the Alpine Valley. One of best is the fabulous wine now being produced in this area. The Riverdeck Cafe is very excited for our guests to experience some of the many delights of this growing industry.

What makes the Alpine Valley Wines so special?alpine-valley-wines

The four river basins created by created by the Ovens, Buffalo, Buckland and Kiewa rivers allow relatively warm valley floors. Yet the region has the distinction of being one of Australia’s most elevated wine-producing districts with vineyards of highly fertile soils at altitudes up to 600m. The north and northwestward movement of cool to cold air from the Victorian Alps through Valleys is a distinctive climatic feature of the Alpine Valleys wine region.

The unique sub-alpine conditions encourage a long, moderate growing period contributing to the distinctive qualities of the grapes and wines produced here.

The Varietals

The Alpine Valley has some innovative producers who are at the cutting edge of the varietal revolution taking place in the Australian wine industry. Elegant wines produced from high-quality grapes of intense fruit flavour and refreshing, natural acidity.

With careful site selection within the many microclimates, the Alpine Valley grape growers have successfully cultivated 33 different grape varieties. Ranging from traditional chardonnay and shiraz through to emerging varietals, such as Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Vermentino, Savagnin, Teroldego and Marzemino. These food friendly varieties are well suited to our Australian lifestyle and complement well the abundant local produce of our region.

The Riverdeck Wine List

Putting together and now expanding the Riverdeck’s Wine List has been a tough task! With so many fantastic wines to choose from, how do we?

In August 2015 we created a regional list from many of the more well known winemakers. This selection has served us well and won’t be disappearing from our menu.

However, when looking to expand we wanted to showcase the amazing job our local winemakers were doing. From Summer 2016 we have added a few more favourites and some less well known varieties from local producers including Ringer Reef, Billy Button, Gapsted and Feathertop wineries.

In addition to these wines joining our regular list we will be highlighting some of the more unique varietals through our “Wine of the Moment” promotions.

You can check up our full wine and drinks menu by  clicking here or better still come down and unwind with a glass of something special and some great food on our deck overlooking the river and park.

Riverdeck Late Menu

Hungry Menu

Wine & Drinks List Summer 2016


Traditional High Tea in Bright

High Tea setting

The Riverdeck Cafe is delighted to serve a traditional High Tea in Bright on the 3rd Sunday of the month*

Steeped in social history this lovely afternoon tradition is a great way to catch up with friends whilst enjoying scrumptious scones, sweets, tasty savouries, ribbon sandwiches and bottomless tea or coffee.

The History of High Tea

The British tradition of High Tea may have originated from the working man’s fare or as a social activity of the “higher” classes.

Said to have begun in the mid 1700’s as an afternoon meal for the exhausted working man upon his return home. The meal consisted of cakes, scones, cheese and tea served either standing up or seated on stools at a “high” dining table.

The creation of afternoon tea however, is often credited to the 7th Duchess of Bedford who complained of a “sinking feeling” around 4pm when waiting for the gentlemen to return from their luncheon parties. Topics of the day were often discussed at great length. With dinner not being served until 8pm Lady Bedford had her servants sneak her a pot of tea and some breadstuffs during the afternoon.

Lady Bedford soon invited friends to join her for this afternoon meal where ladies discussed ‘tea business’.  This gave women a social outlet to discuss topics which were deemed unsuitable for women to discuss in mixed company.

The practice of inviting friends to come for tea in the afternoon was quickly adopted by other upper class hostesses. The menu centered around small cakes, bread and butter, assorted sweets, and, of course, tea.

It was around this time that John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich had the idea of placing meat and other fillings between the slices of bread and thus the High Tea sandwich was created.

High Tea soon became known as an important event on the social calendars of the “leisure classes” and provided a practical purpose allowing Ladies and Gentlemen the opportunity of a substantial meal before attending the theatre or card nights.

So invite some friends and enjoy the delectable delights of an age old tradition.

High Tea at the Riverdeck:

Traditional High Tea at the Riverdeck includes a range of delicious sweets, scones with jam and cream, tasty savouries, and ribbon sandwiches plus bottomless T2 teas or Lavazza coffee.  $30 per person. Add to the celebrations with a glass of bubbles or wine from our local wineries.

3rd Sunday of each month from 2.30pm. Next High Tea in Bright Sunday 20th November.

Bookings essential. Email us or phone 5755 2199

Gluten free options available

*not available December and January



Putting the FUN in Fundraising

Putting the FUN in Fundraising

Riverdeck Cafe is perfect for enjoying this great event.

The Labour Day long weekend (March 12-14th) brings the most amazing event to beautiful Bright.

Founded in 2013 the Brighter Days Festival is a weekend on Music, Motorbikes, Cars and fun all designed to raise funds for two children’s charities:

Riverdeck cafe a great destination
Riverdeck cafe overlooking the sound shell

1. The Cooper Trewin Memorial SUDC Research Fund

At the age of 16 months Cooper Trewin tragically passed away during his sleep for no apparent reason. In his memory a research fund was established to find the cause of this disease. Combined efforts have resulted in an International SUDC research project between the Boston Children’s Hospital and the Florey Institute in Melbourne. Find out more at

2. Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)

EB is a rare skin disease where the sufferers are missing the ‘glue’ that holds the skin to the rest of the body, making the skin as fragile as a butterfly wing. The only treatment is daily wound care, bandaging and managing the daily blistering and bathing of the wounds.

More information can be found at

What’s Happening

Activities for the Brighter Days Festival start Friday 11th March with the Cottonball Run from Whittlesea to Bright.

The fun starts Saturday morning in Bright with the Make It /Bake it/Grow it Market just below the Riverdeck Café in Howitt Park.

Check out the Custom bikes at Harley Central in Howitt Park throughout the weekend.

Entertainment kicks off in the Sound shell around 10am and continues all-day and late into the evening when headliners Ross Wilson &Daryl Braithwaite perform.

The Riverdeck Cafe in Bright is open for breakky and lunch with the kitchen serving a special Brighter Days dinner menu from 5 – 8pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Our deck, right above Howitt Park, is the perfect place for a meal, coffee or a cold drink. Enjoy all the entertainment all weekend. We are fully licensed with a great range of regional wines by the glass too.

Sunday- Why not start the day with a fabulous breakfast at the Riverdeck café in preparation for the day’s activities. The entertainment starts at the sound shell with some great country music from12pm. Rock your afternoon and evening away with the Screamin’ Eagles and get your Mamma Mia on with Bjorn Again.

The Riverdeck café will be a great place to eat, drink and enjoy all the entertainment throughout the festival.

For the full low-down on the Brighter Days festival visit the website

Reserve your table at the Riverdeck for Saturday and Sunday night by ringing 57552199 or email us

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