I’ve read a little about Bettr Barista over the years but only got to visit the Bettr Barista Coffee Academy recently. In a nutshell, it’s a social business which offers barista training to marginalized women and youths so they can be gainfully employed, while using a holistic approach to change their lives. The word “holistic” is so over-used these days, I know, but what the Academy does here goes beyond imparting a skill and helping people get employed.
From what I understood from Jean’s presentation (she’s the co-founder), they offer a 6-month programme that helps students get stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically, beyond just getting them equipped with the right skills and sending them off for an internship. Also, the program is available only to selected beneficiaries.
Bettr Barista Coffee Academy will be celebrating its 6th anniversary in November, and to date, it has had 16 intakes and a total of 70 students. Their graduates have also, reportedly, earned a combined $1 million worth of salaries.
And how did the Academy help people turn their lives around? Some of them had financial issues, some used to not show up for work due to problems at home, and some women have been housewives for the longest time and then had to re-enter the workforce to earn money to support their families.
Some (perhaps) unconventional things the Academy does are, for instance, to teach their students self-defense, yoga and even rock-climbing. The latter helps women who have not been working for years get a mindset shift that, hey, they can do it; they CAN climb that wall or get over the hurdles in Life. (And it’s also useful as exercise because the F&B industry is physically demanding) When the students learn about self-defense, it ups their levels of confidence and yoga, as most of us know, helps them stay calm and centered (definitely useful when interacting with unreasonable customers, I’m sure).
This B Corp-certified company also offers flexi-work arrangements such as a 3- or 4-day work week so their employees can properly juggle the commitments at home.
Bettr Barista also offers coffee-centered classes and workshops, and have trained 3200 students worldwide, in countries like Taiwan, Myanmar and Australia. They’ve also provided coffee at over 270 events, such as one at Changi Airport which saw them serving up some 10,000 cups within 9 hours! The business has also gone into community spaces at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, INCOME’s premises, etc.
When you visit Plaza Singaura, look out for the DBS x Bettr Barista collaboration. You’ll find coffee waffles, chicken luncheon meat + hae bee hiam waffles and also chocolate + kaya waffles (only in August). Jean says there’s also a condensed milk cold brew (undiluted) which will leave you buzzing. 😀