The good folk at The Final Step understand that the process of producing coffee from crop to cup is a long one, with many steps along the way contributing to the ultimate flavour of the end result.
They understand it so well in fact, that they named their business after it and, in the process, created a social enterprise too. The café may represent the last step in the coffee chain, but it may just be the first step towards sustainable social change as well.
What began simply as a scheme for staff to donate their tips has transformed into a project to feed children in the slums of Buenos Aires. The ‘Food for Thought’ initiative aims to nourish children in the streets of the Gonett slum community in Argentina’s capital, through food and creativity. Facilitated by an NGO called The Social Opportunity Group, and funded by The Final Step, café patrons are able to ‘do their bit’ for positive and sustainable social change.
Owner Ben Whitaker of course loves his coffee and understands the history of how the humble bean has been bringing people together for hundreds of years. “It is an extremely versatile product that can be made into an amazing sensory experience,” said Ben.
Ben is happy to play a role in the modern day Melbourne café scene where hipsters, mothers groups, and everyone in between gather over cups and conversation. But he is also acutely aware of how coffee has been an indirect catalyst for change through the ages, and this gave him the inspiration for The Final Step’s social project.
The small, unassuming café is located in a side street off Toorak Road in South Yarra. It holds less than twenty seats inside, but still makes space for a beautiful upright piano from 1929, with its cosy atmosphere perfect for striking up conversations with complete strangers.
Customers are given the choice between two blends from Small Batch and Proud Mary that vary depending on the season. It helps that these two amazing roasters not only supply high quality coffee, but at generous discounts so that the café can contribute more towards its project in Argentina.
Consistency is the most important aspect of being a good espresso bar, a realisation that helped form the decision to use Small Batch and Proud Mary. As well as great espresso, the summer months herald batches of cold drip coffee, a smooth and refreshing alternative served with a cube of ice.
At The Final Step you get more than the taste of great coffee. The team recognises the place of the daily brew in the broader global sense. More than merely recharging the batteries, coffee is seen as is an excuse for conversation, a catalyst for change and closer community ties, and a way to bridge gaps around the world.