For the past 10 years Derek Crozier has been known in the Australian coffee industry as “the video guy”, carefully capturing every angle of pour and presentation for the Australian national coffee championships, from the first competitor to the last. After years of observing baristas and hearing them speak about their passion for café work, Derek has decided to join the club and call himself a café owner.
“My dream has come true,” Derek says. “We opened up in August and the progression has been fantastic. We had a great first day, on the second we doubled what we made on the first, and on the third we doubled the second. I’ve run cafés before and helped in a consulting role, but I’ve never opened my own place until now, and I love it.”
Derek looked for the perfect site for more than a year until he settled on Adelaide’s famous Bank Street.
“This area was missing speed and quality at the same go. I want people to know we can do both,” he says. “Adelaide is running just a little behind Melbourne – we’ve only just discovered the attraction to laneways, but the coffee scene is like a food court – there’s so much choice. There’s an influx of specialty cafés and franchises are closing down. Bank Street in particular is on the rise. With more quality places popping up, it’s definitely raising the bar overall.”
Derek says with all the competition, it’s his passion for customer service that shines through. “We’re serving boutique coffee in a white collar area and keeping things simple,” he says.
One of the first things customers will notice about Bonobo Espresso is Derek’s love for apes, and hexagons. On the wall is a giant chimpanzee wearing headphones and drinking coffee.
“Michael Jackson had a chimpanzee called Bubbles, and now we’ve got our own,” Derek says.
He describes Bonobo Espresso as “simple, sleek, and clean”. Move over industrial design and exposed Scandinavian wood – Derek says it’s refreshing to brighten up a dark laneway space with stark white walls and pops of green, most notably on his La Marzocco two-group Linea Classic.
Head Barista Alex Loft is the master of the machines. He takes charge of the La Marazocco and the one-group EspressoDeck, the first to be installed in South Australia. “We’ve been running our single origins through it, such as our Costa Rican, and loving it,” Derek says.
Customers can try Kommon Ground’s Monkey Magic house blend, which combines Colombian, Brazilian, and Indian beans for a “balanced blend with almond notes”. And forget beans sitting in hoppers. If you look closely, Derek has replaced coffee beans with muesli from local supplier Goodies and Grains, available on demand for a delicious breakfast option. The refrigerator and cupboards are also stocked with tasty options, all handmade off site by Blend in Catering’s Traci Aitken. Derek recommends the handmade bagels, and the Reuben with slices of pastrami.
“We’ve only just started but I’m so excited about what we’ve achieve and what’s to come,” Derek says. “My intuition was right. As long as we continue to provide great customer service and a consistent product, the Adelaide regulars will come. In fact, they already are.”