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A day in the life of a barista

a month ago / working girl / singapore

My coffee roastery tour with Bettr Barista!

I'm one of those people who absolutely cannot get by without my daily cuppa. When I first got pregnant, I switched to decaf but from my second trimester (and with blessings from Doctor Internet), I went back to regular caffeinated coffee - but in moderation of course. I allowed myself no more than two cups a week (which is a HUGE sacrifice considering I used to down two cups a DAY) and because of how much little coffee I can now have, I tend to make my cups count.

Of course I'm no coffee connoisseur but I try my best lah. One of my secret (now not so secretive anymore) find is the DBS branch at Plaza Singapura where you can find a Bettr Barista outlet serving up nitro cold brew AND coffee waffles with gula melaka. And yes, you read that right, in a bank. Other coffee bars by Bettr Barista can be found at NTUC Income Centre at Bras Basah, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and the Ministry of Social and Family Development building.

If you think the locations seem kinda odd, well, that's because Bettr Barista is not exactly your typical cafe. They are actually a social enterprise and what makes a social enterprise so special is how they place social good at the heart of their business. Bettr Barista, for instance, is a social enterprise that empowers marginalised women and youth-at-risk by providing them with employment opportunities and training programmes. Beyond selling great coffee, Bettr Barista also offer specialty coffee education and internationally-certified barista training classes.

In the last 5 years since their inception, they have accepted 65 applicants over 15 intakes with 94% of their graduates now earning more than $1000 after graduating from their programme. Their programme has accumulated over $1 million in salaries and supported a total of 160 dependents.

I dropped by their Coffee Academy the other day to find out more about what they do, what goes on in the day of a Bettr Barista, and more importantly, attend a roastery tour!

It was quite an eye-opening experience as we got to see firsthand how coffee beans are roasted (did you know that raw coffee beans do NOT smell anything like coffee? They smell.... like plants. Hahahaha) and were treated to a multitude of coffee cocktails by Ms Natasha Shariff, academy manager at Bettr Barista who's ranked 4th at the World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship 2017!

By that I mean that they were treated to the cocktails... I could only watch and marvel at her skills :sob:

The Irish Coffee is apparently a true test of a barista cause not only do you have to get the ratio of whiskey, sugar and coffee right, you'd also have to ensure that the layer of thick cream sits well above the concoction.

We also tried our hand at latte art (obviously this wasn't made by me) and went home with their signature blends - I highly recommend the Single Drip Coffee!

The best specialty grade coffees at Bettr Barista are sourced from growers across Asia, Africa and Central/South America, who are committed to sustainable practices that replenish and preserve the environment. They also nurture direct trading relationships with their farmers so as to maximise long-term socio-economic impact for their families and the extended communities that they support.

FestivalForGood 2017

You can purchase these freshly roasted coffee beans (house blends & single origins), customise and create your own signature blends, and try out their hot and cold beverages, including coffee, chocolates and cold brew tea, at the Bettr Barista booth at this year's FestivalForGood!

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Organised by raiSE, FestivalForGood aims to connect modern-day consumers with the wonderful world of social enterprises by showcasing their diversity and celebrating their spirit, innovation and passion to do good through their businesses.

Happening at [email protected] on 19 August 2017 (Saturday), it's all about social enterprises at the Festival, with everything from health and wellness, fashion, home-ware and technology, to coffee, food bites and more. There will be a pop up market, experience capsules, floristry classes and live performances too! Some of this year's participants include Flourish Culinary, fashion label Good Krama, and my personal favourite, The Breathe Movement - a social enterprise that provides accessible yoga-based programs to at-risk communities in Singapore.

If you're wondering, the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE) was set up in 2015 to develop the social enterprise sector in Singapore. Today raiSE supports over 400 social enterprises across many industries such as fashion, F&B, animal welfare, education, among others. Besides FestivalForGood, some of their other initiatives include the President’s Challenge Social Enterprise Award, Social Enterprise Young Talent Programme, and VentureForGood Youth.

  • Date: 19th August 2017
  • Time: 12PM-10PM
  • Location: [email protected], 71-77 Stamford Road, Singapore 178895 (Former MPH Building)
  • Admission is Free

See you there on Saturday! <3