Inspired by the periodic table, the Au79 café aims to bring together all the elements that are associated with “the experience of life.”
Born out of a garage located in the Victoria’s inner-city suburb of Abbotsford, the café seeks to celebrate Australian lifestyle, products, and producers.
Aiming to create ‘real experiences,’ the café prides itself on roasting coffee and baking its bread right in front of customers. The venue space can seat more than 200 guests every day, designed to share Au79’s passion for life with as many visitors as possible.
“Au79 in Abbotsford is here to share all things cafe with people at our heart,” says Lawrence of Au79.
With Au79 knowing it’s coffee inside out, it wanted to ensure the same quality was applied to its Chai, leading to a partnership with fellow Melbourne business, Prana Chai.
Prana Chai also came from humble beginnings, in a café in St Kilda more than 10 years ago. Owners Vincent Conti and Mario Minichilli developed a chai blend designed to stand up beside speciality coffee.
Now, Prana Chai sells its “sticky chai” which is handmade in Melbourne, and sold in cafés around the world.
“We trust Prana Chai and know that we can continuously get a reliable and consistent product. It is essential in the city that has coffee as its life blood. That any drink on the menu alongside our coffee, is considered and cared about as much as the coffee,” says Lawrence.
Au79 is aware that not all customers always want a coffee-based beverage, with the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting a decreased need for coffee consumption.
“Coffee can leave you feeling a little anxious or stressed, especially if you do not have so much going on in the day ahead. With many people not working, traveling, studying and less commuting around… It is not always coffee that has the answer,” says Lawrence.
“Not only Chai, but tea and decaf are also becoming popular choices, particularly in the afternoons or late in the day. Younger customers are certainly purchasing more Chai products now. It may be due, in part, because it is so readily available now.”
Lawrence says this shift towards non-coffee varieties and vegan options among younger generations is fantastic to see, also due to the change in aesthetic expectations.
“Everything about the way a Chai product is consumed has changed, the mug that a chai comes in now can be so sleek and beautiful. There is a lot of focus on the beauty of the drink in how it is consumed at the table,” says Lawrence_.
“This is certainly an extension of how seriously Melbourne takes the coffee and café experience. So drinking chai is a wonderful experience, not only because of the quality of the product. It is also the quality of how it looks, the touch and feel of it too.”
Au79 is now expanding with a new store set to open in July 2021 in Chadstone, Victoria.
“Opening in Chadstone, we know our customers here are often in a rush, busy, and have a lot going on. A product that doesn’t leave you so worked up is becoming a much more popular option,” says Lawrence.
Besides a change in chai consumerism, Au79 believes this expansion represents another important movement in Victoria.
“Melbourne culture is built on its food and drink. The history and people behind the whole scene are some of the best in the world,” says Lawrence.
“If Melbourne is to continue to be one of the World’s Most Liveable Cities, it will need its cafés and restaurants to get back on their feet and represent it again. The whole hospitality industry is built on the staff and environment they create.”
With Au79 one of these cafés pushing to get onto its feet again, Lawrence is sure Melbourne will return to its former glory again.
“This will only help create innovation and success back into the industry,” says Lawrence.
27/29 Nicholson St, Abbotsford Victoria 3067
Open Monday to Friday 7am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am to 4pm
(03) 9429 0138