Long Street Coffee is a social enterprise café, the purpose of which is to provide employment and training opportunities in the hospitality industry to young people from refugee backgrounds.
Earlier this year we ran two pop-ups cafes which served as pilot programs. We had pop-ups at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival and the Festival of Live Art. At the festivals, we worked with two young refugees, Esther from Burma, and Dawa from Tibet. For both of our barista trainees, it was their first time working in Australia and they were incredible! Both pop-ups were so successful that we decided to do this on a permanent basis.
After months of searching, we have just recently managed to find a permanent space for our café in Richmond. In early November, we’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign to help us fund the fit out costs. However, in the meantime we have an empty space, and whilst we don’t currently have the funds to move our espresso machine in and start making coffee, we have a plan for how we can begin to offer training to refugee youth.
An important part of our training module will be barista skills training that focuses on alternative brewing techniques: pour over, aeropress, batch brewing filter coffee, etc. For this we don’t need the expensive plumbing or electrical work that our espresso machine requires.
Our plan is to use this time we have in the space now to teach young refugees the fundamentals of filter coffee brewing. This way they will be proficient in a variety of brew methods and have a firm grasp of the basics before they have to tackle the espresso machine, and we will have baristas-in-the-making instead of newbies when we launch! Importantly, training in this way will help to build our trainees’ self-confidence, as they can learn at their own pace in a quiet and relaxed space. We plan on having a “practice” day of trade whereby our trainees can show off their new coffee brewing skills to our friends and early supporters.
Funded by Melbourne (September 2014)