A taste of cafe culture at school

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2014
Wellington college cafe

ORDER UP: Year 13 barista student Tadhg Maguire makes a flat white at the school’s cafe, which services staff and students.

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Teenagers falling asleep in class shouldn't be a problem at Wellington College, with the introduction of a coffee shop on site.

BreWCafe opened last month and is staffed by students studying a barista course, which they used to complete outside school, and outside the reality of a busy cafe.

Now students taking the course are flooded with more than 100 coffee orders at lunchtime as teachers, grounds staff and visitors to the school line up for their caffeine fix.

Year 13 student Ciaran Maddever took the barista course run through Mojo last year, and is keen to develop his barista skills further.

"On the course you learn how to make coffee, but here you learn how to be a barista and all the stuff that comes with that, like customer service."

The students were under pressure when the cafe first opened, because a whole day's business was being condensed into interval and lunchtime, he says.

"We couldn't keep up, but now we've learnt how to manage the orders and work together. It can still be stressful, but it's fun."

He hopes to get a job in a cafe during a gap year next year.

Classmate Tadhg Maguire, 17, also plans to work as a barista next year after getting a taste for coffee through his part-time job.

"After working in a cafe and enjoying it, I wanted to learn the barista skills, because the standard is really high in Wellington so I need to be competitive."

The cafe is now also open at weekend school and sports events.

It was the brainchild of the school's careers adviser, Ernie Rosenthal, who previously helped set up the hospitality course at what is now WelTec.

"I've been plugging away at the idea for 12 years at the school," he said. "Of all the things I've seen happen here, this is by far the most exciting for me."

Claire Matheson, a coffee training and education expert from Wellington's Run Brew Bar, was brought in to supervise the project.

The school has partnered with Espresso Ninja for servicing and maintenance training, and Red Rabbit Coffee Company has roasted the school its own specific coffee bean.

Matheson said there was a notable gap between the skills students were being taught through courses and what the industry wanted. Working in the industry was no longer just a case of knowing how to make coffee.

The cafe was already selling double the number of coffees needed to break even and, once set-up costs were paid off, it would become a profitable business.

Some parents had questioned whether coffee was appropriate for students, but Matheson said most of them were buying hot chocolate, and the amount of espresso in the coffee was purposely quite low.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

$3.50 – the price of a flat white or latte

$2.50 – the price of a black coffee

70 – per cent of students' orders are for hot chocolates

8am – when the cafe will start opening from next term

25 – the number of students who have completed the introductory barista course

12 – the number of students who have completed the advanced barista course

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20 – the number of students approved for the next round of barista training

- The Dominion Post

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