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Brew ha-ha: How TAFE NSW helped regional areas up their coffee game

TAFE NSW Wagga Wagga

Brew ha-ha: How TAFE NSW helped regional areas up their coffee game

LIQUID GOLD: The efforts by TAFE NSW to train the next generation of baristas has had profound flow-on effects for the coffee culture in Australia, particularly in regional areas, according to TAFE NSW cookery guru Sara Morley.

It’s hardly an overstatement to say humanity runs on coffee.

Take a look around tomorrow morning: cafes heaving with bleary eyed workers looking for their fix; tradies clasping the ubiquitous takeaway coffee cup on job sites; office workers cradling their coffee mug like it contains a liquid hug for their brain.

Even in regional NSW, the coffee game has got serious in recent years.

Speaking on her popular ABC Riverina TAFE Buds segment this week, TAFE NSW resident epicurean Sara Morley discussed everyone’s favourite dark elixir with host Sally Bryant.

“Australia’s coffee culture has changed so much, even in the smallest towns in the Riverina you can now get a fabulous coffee,” Ms Morley said.

“It’s now at the point where a lot of people are more worried about where they’re getting their coffee than where they’re eating!

“When you go overseas, our coffee is known around the world as leading edge.”

Ms Morley said TAFE NSW had become a leader in training the next generation of baristas.

One of those TAFE NSW-trained baristas, Damon Schmetzer, joined the program to discuss the ever-evolving art of coffee-making.

Mr Schmetzer has recently opened a pop-up coffee shop at the Thirsty Crow in Wagga, where he’s experimenting with some weird and wonderful flavour combinations, including coffees with a hint of red frogs or crème brulee.

Mr Schmetzer first studied to be a chef at TAFE NSW and then branched out to complete barista training.

“TAFE NSW gave me the foundations for my career and I couldn’t have got to where I am without that,” Mr Schmetzer said.

To find out more about studying a commercial cookery or barista course at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit