My recent roastery tour to Bettr Barista Coffee Academy turns out to be more than just a preview of a coffee roasting process. The roasting of coffee beans, the science and art of it, is one of the major contributing factors behind specialty coffees. Walking towards the room for the presentation, my eyes were drawn to the the rich yellow wall with the slogan ~ “changing lives through coffee”. It was a rather bold claim until I learnt that Bettr Barista has been scaling great heights in the world of Social Enterprise.
Our roastery tour started with a comprehensive presentation by Jean who is a co-founder. Put aside the statistics for the moment and I focus on how the Academy is able to help people to turn their lives around.
Whilst businesses in Singapore are lamenting about the dearth of workers willing to work, the Academy’s Holistic Training Programme has incorporated a social programme into its vocational training in the specialty coffee industry tailored for disadvantaged women and youths-at-risk. Its social programme focuses on the emotional and mental aspects and helps to build life skills. I believe that this total human approach builds self-esteem, confidence, self-belief and above all give back the sense of pride. It also is proactive in seeking potential students through community groups, family centres and social service organizations.
For example, the academy’s 12-week programme helps the two groups above to become more employable by imparting skills for them to become certified baristas along with life skills and thus can re-enter the workforce.
The Academy sets standards in coffee education – for enthusiasts, baristas, roasters and cafe owners. I like its website – informative and navigation friendly. The founder Pamela Chng was a co-founders of web consultancy firm Digital Boomerang!
Barista has trained (as at May 2017) over 3200 students from 20 countries including Taiwan, Myanmar and Australia. They’ve also provided coffee at over 270 events. Its record was set during an event at Changi Airport when they served up some 10,000 cups within 9 hours.
And I save the best for last! ~ Bettr Barista Coffee Academy’s impressive list of Milestones & Achievements. It won the 2017 President’s Challenge as the Social Enterprise Start-up Of The Year. May you continue to scale greater heights and help put Singapore on the world’s coffee map. (Note: In 2004, my young NZ business friend commented that we do not have a coffee culture here.)
Follow Bettr Barista over on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Bettrbarista/ and meet them at the Festival For Good, the festival that will bring together the diverse and vibrant community of social entrepreneurs in Singapore this Saturday/ 19 August 2017.