There’s something deliciously different going on at 66 Cromwell Street. At first glance, it’s a warm and welcoming cafe, with a counter of fresh-baked treats and an espresso machine churning out excellent coffee.
But look closely, there’s much more to discover. The 150-year old Cromwell Manor has been renovated into a cafe with a sunny courtyard, huge trees, a deck, hammocks and a kitchen garden – which includes oyster mushrooms growing from spent coffee grounds.
Bordering the garden, you’ll find an artisan bakery, coffee roastery, bustling kitchens and function rooms. This family and pet-friendly oasis is actually home to
STREAT – one of the country’s most successful social enterprises. STREAT has supported and trained more than 800 disadvantaged youth from the streets of Melbourne, and this year the team isaiming to help upwards of 365 youths.
While its new residence may be grand, the STREAT story has much humbler beginnings.Founders, Rebecca Scott and Kate Barrelle, recognised the need for a self-funding organisation that provided opportunities for homeless and at-risk youth. They started in Federation Square in 2010 with two small food carts, opening another two in the city alongside two cafes (in Flemington and the CBD), as well as a coffee roasting company and an offsite production kitchen, from which the catering arm grew.
However, it wasn’t until philanthropist, Geoff Harris, read an article about Rebecca that their most recent expansion was set in motion. In 2013 Geoff purchased Cromwell Manor and gifted STREAT a 50-year lease. The site has been specifically designed to help young people feel safe and to create somewhere they belong and feel at home. This warm welcome extends to customers and staff and all whowalk through its doors.
When it comes to the coffee, Cafe Manager, Tarn Fisher is joined by Head Barista, Iain Swift and Head Roaster, Andrew Barrett. The trio works collaboratively to produce coffee they are proud of, controlling every element to ensure it tastes spot-on every day. Their blends and single origins also appear in other cafes across Melbourne and since 2012, STREAT has won four medals in the National Golden Bean Roaster Competition. Iain uses the Social Blend as the daily house roast, which features beans from Colombia, Ethiopia and Brazil and is known for its plum, caramel and chocolate notes. The team also rotates a selection of single origins and offer a number of alternative brewing styles, including batch brew and iced filter coffee.
The meticulous approach to coffee also extends to the food. The cafe menu, created by Executive Chef, Di Kerry, features inspired combinations of fresh and local ingredients. If you’re just popping by for coffee and cake, you’re in for a treat, with both the Head Baker and Assistant Baker coming to STREAT from Cobb Lane, and now creating outstanding breads and pastries.
STREAT is a serious player in the specialty coffee and hospitality scene, presenting an experience that continues to impress. The added bonus is that every dollar spent goes towards training disadvantaged youth.