Cardiff Big Issue vendors get a coffee break with barista training

Little Man Coffee helps Welsh vendors escape the daily grind

Big Issue vendors swapped magazines for macchiatos last week after undergoing barista training in a Cardiff coffee shop.

Two sellers gave it the beans in Cardiff’s Little Man Coffee to work on alternative skills that will put them in good stead with future employers.

Resident barista Laura Bradford gave insight into crafting the perfect cup of coffee by tasking vendors with grinding beans and working on machines as well as providing skilful final flourishes like making patterns in cream. She is planning to provide one-on-one sessions with other vendors in the future.

Dean Williams, who sells the magazine at Church Street in the Welsh capital, said: “I found it quite interesting to be honest. We learned about grinding the beans and tricks like how turning the press upside down can change the flavour.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting – there are so many different variations of flavour you can make.”

Big Issue regional manager for the Wales and South West Beth Thomas added: “It was great fun and the vendors really enjoyed it. Laura and Ash from Little Man were really engaging with the vendors and are keen to do more of this with our vendors.

“The aim is to offer vendors the opportunity to gain alternative skills to help them move onto employment opportunities.”

It is not the first time that coffee has been used to give Big Issue vendors a hand up. The groundbreaking Change Please social enterprise offered homeless people a way to work their way out of poverty by selling coffee from carts on the streets of London. The idea was so successful that the Big Issue-backed venture has seen bags of coffee available to buy in 300 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.

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