I first came across the social enterprise STREAT back in 2012, when they were in Flemington. Having a background in Psychology and community service, it was with great delight that I discovered a café that helps disadvantaged youths find their way in life. Coffee and a supportive training academy- two of my favourite things. They moved the nerve centre of STREAT to Collingwood last year, and are now housed in a marvellous white Victorian style building, with over 150 years of history. I did a little research, and found that this freestanding 2 storey symmetrical Italianate brick building was originally the Bristol and Bath Hotel, which back in 1870, was valued at ₤34. An interesting fact is, the building fell victim to the infamous Chopper Read, who robbed it back in 1973 when it was a brothel. It’s had a rather colourful history, and has stood the test of time.
In 2013, a philanthropist purchased the property for $2.5 million, and gave it to STREAT to use. His vision? Help change the lives of as many young people as possible. They have half a century to do it in, and they are already on track meeting such objectives. It’s definitely not a one man band here; there are many philanthropic supporters ensuring the vision becomes a reality; such as Deyrick Upton from Breadsolutions who started a bakery on site, the Greenlight foundation, and many more investors and supporters. The proverb ‘Many hands make light work’ is a fitting way to describe how STREAT functions, and demonstrates the importance people place in such a social enterprise.
Each year, Streat will now be able to train and support 365 youths, so they can gain employment as baristas, chefs, bakers, and roasters. I’ve always been a true believer, that the best way to tackle issues such as homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction, and domestic violence; is through empowerment, fostering life skills, helping people find a purpose in life. Streat provides the foundations for this, and in effect, transforms the lives of young people during formative years.
I was fortunate to meet Andrew Barrett, who previously worked for Campos Coffee, and moved to STREAT to setup and manage the roasting side of the enterprise. I had a quick tour of the roaster, which is made up of a 12kg Probat, 30kg Petroncini roaster, and high standard green beans from the likes of Melbourne Coffee Merchants, and Café Imports. Streat may be “Not for profit”; but that doesn’t mean it’s not high quality. The coffee here is up there with the best of them in Melbourne. I tried both the espresso and filter brew, and was impressed by how fruity the Kenyan was. As a filter brew, the Kenyan Rutuma was bright, and jam packed with juicy blackcurrant notes.
If you’re coming for a meal, the café serves breakfast all day, and choices include the Son in law eggs with chilli relish, coconut sambal, and roti; Haloumi beet hash with cinnamon butter and roasted carrot hummus: and Miso Salmon in dashi broth with kishimen noodles. Lunch is served from midday, and you can chose between Baguettes with marinated flank steak and green mango; Squid with butter beans with a bocadillo; Roasted brassicas with panko tofu and yuzu koshu; and Slow cooked sweet soy marinated lamb ribs with Asian slaw. All the breads and pastries are freshly made each day on site, and they also have an edible garden.
The café is open from 7am until 4pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 4pmon weekends.
66 Cromwell St
Collingwood VIC 3066