In the weekly sessions, people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home learn the practical and theoretical skills of making and serving coffee, and build confidence in a social environment. In the most recent class, Anonymous Coffee Co.’s tutor, Matt, taught clients the importance of smell in the tasting and flavour of coffee, and demonstrated this by getting the students to identify the flavours of Skittles by closing their eyes and holding their nose – which is surprisingly difficult! They then went on to practise making espresso based coffees and creating art on the top of their pours using a barista style coffee machine. The clients are in safe hands with their tutor Matt, who came sixth in UK Latte Art Championship.
Run by Reading local Phil Carter, Anonymous Coffee Co. roast and brew responsibly sourced specialty coffee – and their mission is to make good quality, great tasting coffee which is easy to enjoy and helps do some good in the process. Phil said, “When I founded Anonymous Coffee Co. I was intent that the business would contribute positively to the community that supported it. I have grown up in Reading and, especially recently, it is increasingly obvious that there are a lot of people facing a lot of challenges in life, especially around homelessness. I believe that it is important to be pro-active when possible in addressing these issues and thought that we could do our bit by offering skills training to Launchpad’s clients that would give them an advantage when trying to find work. The ultimate goal will be to train them into employment within Anonymous and some of our customers businesses. We have been talking about doing this for several years now so it is really exciting that it is finally happening!”
Phil reflected on the benefits to the clients these sessions have provided thus far, saying “The first thing I noticed was that a lot of clients turned up for the first session and turn out has been really good since, so it is obviously a subject that they all like and enjoy. Practically the clients are learning coffee knowledge alongside the skills and techniques required to produce delicious coffee. We try and teach them to understand what they are doing and why they are doing it rather than just what to do. On top of all of that there is a great sense of achievement, whether it be that they have produced a delicious cup of coffee or a great pattern on top of it they are all very proud of what they are learning and how they are progressing.”
Sharon Mullis, Life Skills and Volunteer Projects Manager at Launchpad, said the ‘Art of Coffee’ sessions have been invaluable at Launchpad 135. “We are so incredibly lucky that Phil and his team at Anonymous Coffee Co. are sharing their first-class coffee skills and equipment to train our clients in something which will help them gain employment, build their confidence and help them on their path to independence. We have already seen a huge change in our clients who have been to the sessions – coffee is a real art and there’s a sense of achievement when they create professional-standard coffees. The ‘Art of Coffee’ sessions will continue to run for further six weeks at Launchpad 135 and will provide a brilliant foundation for clients who want to go on to employment in the barista industry. We can’t thank Anonymous Coffee Co. enough for the opportunities they have given the people we support.”