Moving from Canberra to Melbourne three years ago, Steph Matar and Ibrahim Khodr came across a small café in Spotswood, Victoria, where they saw great potential.
A facelift and a few ups and downs later, 85 Espresso has built a strong cast of regulars that love the tasty coffee and warm, rustic feel of the venue.
“We’ve got a sign on the ground that says ‘good vibes’ and that’s what we try to bring into the café,” Steph says.
“The customers come in, we have a chat and a laugh, they’re literally like family now.”
85 Espresso runs Soar, formerly known as Bond St, from Veneziano Coffee Roasters as its house blend for its fruit forward, blueberry, raisin, and peanut butter flavours.
“We really like the flavour. It tastes amazing and the same every single time you make a coffee,” Steph says.
“Ibrahim’s a perfectionist when it comes to coffee. We weigh and measure every shot to keep it perfect and consistent.”
The coffee bar features a white La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, two Mythos One grinders, and a Mahlkönig EK43 grinder for retail coffee orders, which Steph says have gone up since COVID-19 restrictions set in March.
“We set up a little retail table at the café when COVID-19 began, and we sell quite a bit,” Steph says.
“We started doing a night menu and free delivery during the first set of restrictions and might do it again depending on how long these restrictions go on. It was really good and the customers in the area liked it.”
85 Espresso’s acai bowl has stayed popular, as has the Knefeh French toast, a Middle Eastern twist on the classic dish. The brioche French toast is filled with sweet cheese and topped with vanilla ice cream, mixed berries, and rose water syrup.
While delivery and retail have helped 85 Espresso brave the COVID storm, Steph hopes to use the downtime to again remodel the café so they can offer something fresh and new on the other side.
“We’re looking at another facelift, changing the café again and practically starting from scratch,” Steph says. “It will be a whole new look.”
85 Hudsons Road, Spotswood, Victoria, 3015
Open Monday to Friday 6am to 3pm, Saturday 7:30am to 3pm
(03) 9191 0777