Soristic, in collaboration with the British Council held a giveaway for participants who took part in our social enterprise survey. The lucky winner was The Caffeine Experience (TCE) and the Soristic team headed down to their outlet in Outcome Community Hospital last month to present the prize, an iPad to Matthew, the co-founder of TCE.
Matthew kindly introduced us to some of his signature brews, such as our personal favourite, the Ethiopian brew (Berries Dip and Mint Brew) and also their own take of the chocolate, After 8. Coupled with the delectable carrot cake and key lime chia seed tart, we sat down to chat with Matthew about this meaningful venture and future plans.
The Caffeine Experience is conceived as a platform to give hope to ex-offenders, youths-at-risk and disadvantaged youths to lead a better life. As an ex-offender, Matthew shared that unfortunately, prejudice against these ex-offenders still exists. Some employers may genuinely want to support them, but accepting them is another huge challenge to conquer. “These ex-offenders feel that it’s a second prison”, a barrier that is hard to cross. Awareness is key, with that in mind, Matthew wishes to have more opportunities to share their stories which may be a small step to bigger acceptance. He also shared “A lot of them just need a longer time” to integrate into society and he hopes to provide his staff with a supportive environment to put their best forward so that they are less likely to fall back into their old ways. He wants to not only provide them with employment but also the process of integrating back into society by “help(ing) them to grow and accept”.
Moving forward, Matthew wants to expand TCE to give more ex-offenders a second chance and also to contribute to the coffee scene in ASEAN by developing a curriculum for barista learning that included Asian coffee. He wants to promote the uniquely Asian coffee culture to the rest of the world.