The program was designed to provide training and essential work experience to disengaged and hard to reach learners from Melbourne City Mission's Academy - a learning community that works to change the lives of disadvantaged young people.
Over the past week, five of the MIssion's hospitality-inclined youths aged 15-25 have been trained by some of the world’s leading baristas from coffee companies throughout Melbourne including Matt Perger of St Ali, Archie Chiu of Code Black and Dave Makin from Axil. They're known as the Brew Crew, and on Friday they will compete to see who is the victorious master of coffee.
Kicking off at 6pm at St Ali in South Melbourne, the students will go head to head in a comp that mimics the World Barista Championships, and will be judged according to the international competition guidelines. Each student will prepare 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos and 4 original signature drinks to exacting standards in a 15 minute demonstration, with one winner being picked in each category.
DJ Grant Smillie will be providing back up beats, and if you want to head along and holler for a winner you can. Finger food will be provided and there will be a bar where you can buy drinks. It's free, but only 50 spots are available, so you'll need to register on St Ali's website to secure a place.
The night will see the youths tested and rewarded with prizes, but there's a bigger picture here. Following on from this crash course in coffee excellence, the competitors will go on to do work experience which will hopefully lead to a job and career in hospitality.
It's a great initiative. Go raise a cup in support.