Walking down Flinders Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, an illuminated Spirit machine catches the eyes of passersby. On closer approach, a small white sign sticks out with the words “Axil Coffee”.
Inside, the small standing room only café continues to grab attention in every direction. On the back wall is a large spray painted image of a woman’s face, with piercing eyes and electric highlights of colour. “It took Melbourne artist Adnate four days to complete this masterpiece,” says Café Manager Madeline Persons. “Adnate is renown for his work on eyes, and these ones in particular follow you around the store. He said this artwork would be the last in-store spray paint design he would do, so it’s extra special.”
The colours of the artwork are a strong focal point with the remaining interior largely black with wood and green tile features – an ode to Axil Coffee’s flagship Hawthorn venue.
Axil Coffee owners Zoe and Dave Makin opened Axil Coffee CBD in May 2014. For those familiar with Axil in Hawthorn, there are some noticeable similarities, but largely, this new venue is a polished city escape that happens to have Axil Coffee branded on the cups. “You can never have enough specialty coffee in the city. It’s another venture for Axil Coffee, and this new venue has been really well received by our city customers,” says Madeline. “The clientele is really different to our Hawthorn customers, which is really family-oriented. Here, this coffee shop caters to corporates, with fast pace, quick coffee turn around.”
Madeline is one of many Axil Coffee Hawthorn staff that have transitioned to the new city location. “I’ve been working with Axil Coffee for the past two and a half years. It’s so interesting to work with a company that prides itself on direct trade and producing quality coffee from start to finish,” says Madeline.
To cater to the busy morning trade, each barista behind the bar has a set job. Baristas work their magic on the Spirit machine, which has been customised with pressure regulation valves. Additional steam wands have been installed either side of the bench, meaning the wait time for a morning milk-based coffee is as short as possible. In addition to the juggler milk-on-tap system, a Satellite Brewer takes pride of place at the brew bar. “Customers will notice that the counter and brew bar are all streamlined at the same low level, which was purposefully done to help us engage with customers as we brew their coffees,” says Madeline.
Each week Axil Coffee highlights a filter coffee method of the week, with rotation between V60, aeropress, clever coffee dripper, and chemex. “Filter coffee is getting a bigger name for itself here in Melbourne. More people are becoming educated about it and asking for it in-store. It’s about educating people in the right way and making specialty coffee less scary and more approachable,” says Madeline.
On any day five rotating single origin varietals are available. At the time of print the Costa Rican El Pilon and Brumas, both red Bourbon full natural coffees were on offer, with the Perla Negra a favourite among staff. Axil Coffee’s new seasonal espresso blend remains a staple, with beans sourced from Brazil Rainha, El Salvador Mi Tierra, and Costa Rica Cerro Alto.
“This is a strong, tasty coffee which is robust and dynamic and cuts through milk really well. It’s equally great for black coffees,” says Madeline.
The suited customers seem to agree. As they exit the café one by one – with Axil-branded cups in hand – smiles indicate that their impressions of Axil CBD are positive.