Fresh St@rt is devoted to serving coffee with a sustainable ethos. In 2014, the café won Fairtrade’s Café of the Year.
“It was totally unexpected,” says Owner Yvens Ferraz De Camargo.
Yvens has been working in the coffee industry for the past 25 years. He first worked as a computer programmer at RMIT University before going back to hospitality, where his passion lies. “I knew I wanted to do start a business with a social conscience, one with compassion and humanity. And so we opened this café on 19 June 2014 and started serving organic and Fairtrade coffee,” Yvens says.
Fresh St@rt was only open a few months when Yvens saw the advertisement for Fairtrade Café of the Year. He put an application in and forgot about it. Within a few weeks the organisers rang to say: “Why aren’t you promoting your nomination?” With just 24 hours to go until public voting closed, Yvens got to work and built awareness of the caffé’s campaign. “We put notices up on social media, told people in person and just spread the word. I didn’t believe in the power of Facebook, but now I do,” says Yvens.
The next day when he checked his emails at 5pm and saw the results. “I couldn’t believe it. We were announced Fairtrade Café of the year for Australia and New Zealand,” he says.
As the winner, Yvens was invited to meet Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop to accept the award, and he met with former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine. Fresh St@rt has three San Mario Lisa three-group machines and four Gino Rossi grinders on standby. It serves Jasper Coffee’s Café Femenino blend, and sources single origins from Ethiopia, Brazil, Honduras and East Timor. Fresh St@rt also serves cold drip and iced lattes. “After my 25 years in the industry, Jasper Coffee’s Wells [Trendfield] is showing me new things all the time. His attention to detail is remarkable and he’s a great example of a coffee company that’s got a sustainable conscience in the coffee they use, and in what they give back to coffee communities,” says Yvens.
Yvens has seen first hand coffee farms in Brazil and the deforestation in the Amazon, which greatly influenced his decision to support Fairtrade. “Some coffee farmers earn just $20 a month and many are fifth generation farmers. I’m a firm believer in karma. If we can make coffee with a conscience we can make a difference in the end,” he says.
Fresh St@rt has its fair amount of competition in the area, but Yvens says it stands out for its fair prices, personal service, and character. The coffee house is made from a recycled container. Everything is biodegradable and features a 180-year-old red gum bench. “We wanted to use recycled materials and make it looks as visually appealing as we could,” he says.
The coffee house embraces a community vibe with an outdoor ping pong table and art space nearby.