Allpress’s first Melbourne café and roastery features pretty high on the “must-visit” list for coffee lovers. Opening its doors in the first half of last year, the inner-city gem is tucked away in the trendy and industrial suburb that is Collingwood.
“We had been looking for the right site for about five years, and we eventually found this spot,” says Allpress Melbourne’s Kirsty van der Plas. “It’s the result of a conscious decision that the site needed to have its own identity and become a venue visitors can distinctly recognise as Allpress.
Kirsty says Allpress founder, Michael Allpress, had a clear idea of what the space needed to be. “His main considerations were that the venue encompassed the café and roaster together, so wherever you are, you can see the roaster,” she says. “It’s a constant reminder of what we do.”
To do this, glass is used throughout the 1300-square-metre building. “There are glass windows everywhere so visitors can see our team involved in every element of the business, and understand the process involved in delivering a delicious cup of coffee. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and how we do it,” says Greg Glubb.
The shining gold ART (Air Roasting Technologies) roaster is hard to miss. It is a hot air roaster, designed and built by Michael Allpress and engineer Mike Scobie.
“Fluidised hot air means beans are suspended in a stream of hot air which transfer heat consistently and evenly through the bean,” says Roaster Zachary Dowse.
The first of this roaster model was commissioned in Dunedin in 2011, and now Melbourne has its very own 70-kilo star roaster. “This manually controlled roaster has very little temperature loss and therefore requires less energy. It can also go as low as 20°C and back up to 220°C in a timely and controlled manner,” says Zachary.
Four custom-made silos hold a total of 4.5 tonnes of green beans each before they are transferred to the roaster. For a cleaner and more sustainable way of roasting, Zachary says a smokeless roasting chamber eliminates the risk of beans being tainted.
In the café space, a large seating area overlooks the outdoor patio, which is an ideal space to enjoy in the summer months. On colder days a firebox is visible with a pile of wood for added comfort. The venue is spacious and light with strong use of timbers and furnishings, and creative touches including patchwork chairs.
The coffee bar benchtop is made from American Oak with a La Marzocco machine visible for customers to see. Allpress serves their Supremo blend and run a rotating single origin. “We want to be able to answer any coffee questions in a way people can understand, and provide a friendly and relaxed atmosphere serving delicious food and coffee,” says Greg.
He adds that their approach to alternate brew methods are kept simple. “If anyone is interested in taking beans home for espresso or ground for filter or plunger, they can talk to one of our baristas or take part in a demonstration in our new training room,” Greg says.
For hungry diners, a breakfast and lunch menu is available. A seasonable selection that uses fresh, local produce with items including quinoa cakes, fresh salads and a rotating daily lunch dish.
Upstairs lies a large open gallery space called Allpress Studio that is available for the community to use.
“Last week soloists from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra played here and local designers and artists have used this space for their exhibitions. The space, like the café and roastery, is open to everyone to experience.”