When a cup of coffee or red espresso becomes a cup of hope, you know you are onto something. At least, that is what we felt when we partnered with Ground UP Barista Academy in 2015 and we remain proud sponsors.

Who is Ground UP
Ground UP is a Learn to Earn initiative (non-profit, public benefit organisation). The Ground UP project aim to train and equip unemployed individuals from disadvantaged communities with the skills they need to find meaningful employment in the growing speciality coffee industry. By doing this, they literally change lives from the Ground UP.

About Ground UP
A member of Speciality Coffee Association of South Africa (SCASA) and only the second South African entity able to offer training accredited by the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, Ground UP does not just focus on teaching their students barista skills. They also hope to improve the standard of “good coffee” in South African coffee shops by instilling in them a standard of excellence.

Ground UP training
Trainer Tim Porter covers all aspects of learning to make the perfect cuppa over the 8-week course, including a very in-depth background to coffee; understanding, maintaining and cleaning your equipment; speciality beverages (including red espresso, red cappuccino, red latte and fresh red iced tea) as well as milk texturing techniques and basic latte art. All of this combined with essential life skills and work-readiness training.  During the latter part of their training, students job shadow in busy coffee shops in order to gain further practical experience. 

After training
At least 80% of the graduates are placed in full-time positions at some of SA’s leading cafes such as Woolworths Cafes, Knead Bakery, Espresso Concepts and The Creamery. Some baristas are employed in the corporate sector, for example the canteen at the TNS head office in Johannesburg, while others run mobile coffee bars like the one inside Rondebosch Boys High School in Cape Town.

red espresso and Ground UP get together at HQ
Recently we had the pleasure of Ground UP’s company at red HQ when Head of Resource and Partnership Development, Aleks Jablonska, shared a short presentation covering 2016 achievements to date. Plus, two of their current barista students, Kyle and Kayron, also impressed us with their newly acquired skills in our red café!

A few special words
“It is wonderful to have both the encouragement and tangible support of an innovative industry leader such as red espresso. Their generous contributions allow Ground UP to broaden the perspective and skills of our baristas in training as well as contribute to the self-generated income of the organisation through the trading activities across the project.” — Aleks Jablonska

Pete Ethelston, co-founder and Managing Director of red espresso concluded, “We are extremely proud and honoured to be able to associate ourselves with an initiative that changes people’s lives. The quality of the training that the baristas are receiving is excellent. We are very committed to helping them make a success of this programme in whatever way we can.”

Find out more about Ground UP and Learn to Earn.