Meal Machines

Meal Machines

Beginning as a pre-packaged meal service aimed at fitness enthusiasts, Meal Machines near Hobart puts an emphasis on fresh and healthy food. It combines this with a play centre to accommodate parents.

“I’ve created an environment that’s quite holistic,” Meal Machines Director Chris Thurlow says. “You can come in with your kids and have a coffee while they play, or go to the gym and relax afterwards with a coffee, whole fruit smoothie, or acai bowl.” Read more

Inside Café

Inside Café

Since taking over Inside Café two and a half years ago, Anna Gebka has grown the small business into a Launceston CBD hotspot.

“The original owner had created an amazing space and it was great to add the touches required from being an operator,” Anna says.

“Now we’ve established a new customer base, our reviews have gone up, we’re impressing tourists, and getting good feedback on our coffee, food, and service.”

Read more

Velvet

Grant Muir is a saviour to the local tradies of Sorell. He’s up at 4am each day to open the doors to Velvet at 5am, ready to provide the mass of early risers with their first – and much needed – caffeine fix of the day. “The traffic going into the city is so bad that lots of rural residents try to beat the rush and leave for work earlier,” Grant says. Read more

Tower Café

On the ground floor of the Queen Victoria Tower in Launceston is the aptly titled Tower Café. The former hospital now privately-owned building holds memories for many Launceston locals, including café co-owner Richard Schindler who was born in the building. Now, he helps run the busy downstairs café. Read more

Island Espresso

Hospitality runs in the blood of the Knezevic family.

“I remember working afternoons and nights at my parents’ café while I was doing TAFE and my sister was at college,” says Co-Owner Elissa. “I was studying fashion but there weren’t many opportunities for that career path in Tasmania and the study took the passion out of i. But it didn’t take my passion out of coffee.”

Elissa’s family took over Island Espresso in 1999 and it’s been operating through various members of her family from the past 17 years, including her parents and brother. Now it’s her turn, which she’s been operating with the aid of her sister for the past six years.

“What’s not to love about coffee? I enjoy giving my customers the very first coffee of the day. So many of our regular customers get off morning buses or park their cars looking a little worse for wears until they visit us for a coffee. To see the joy such a simple thing can give them is really self motivating,” Elissa says.

Island Espresso is located just a few blocks off the business district of Hobart or as Elissa describes it the “uptown of Elizabeth Street” for those who relate to Melbourne. It is surrounded by small office blocks, shops and soon to be a 480-university-accommodation block.

The café itself is located in a 1834 building, which was one of the first commercial properties in Hobart.

“It’s got a lovely country cottage feel. We’ve used lots of brick and wood in our design, with vintage features from jars to images, books and music. And outside, my sister’s love of succulents shines through,” Elissa says.

Elissa is in charge of the coffee making on her La Marzocco Linea while sister Marina Knezevic is the baking master.

“We have a great relationship. Our parents raised us with a close sense of family, and now we’re literally as close as we can be working in the same café each day,” she says.

Island Espresso serves locally roasted Zimmah Coffee’s Devil and the Deep blend for milk based coffees. “It is very palatable. It has caramel, nutty, buttery and complexity with a nice acidity,” Elissa says.

Zimmah’s Tattooed Nun blend is also available. “This has fruit acidity, and is strong and punchier, which I love as a long black or espresso,” she says.

Cold drip is served in vintage bottles over ice, with a Mexican Finca Kassandra available at time of print.

Marina is kept busy baking delicious treats in-house daily. Her almond croissants and friands with lemon and rhubarb are popular favourites, as is the Cuban toastie. Breakfast and lunch are served daily.

“Hospitality is hard work. It’s physically and mentally challenging. People expect a lot from us, and so do we,” Elissa says. “In the last five years the cafés in Hobart have tripled. The café culture has grown and the standard has increased all over, which is great for the entire industry here.”

Cubed Espresso Bar

Visitors for years thanks to its panoramic view over the South-East corner of Tasmania. However, the scenic spot is set to get a whole lot busier now that Laurie Trower and Fabienne Ganz’s mobile coffee van has set up shop.

The Cubed Espresso Bar Owners have established their own “destination coffee venue”. “We live in the middle of nowhere and our van’s location is a bit off the beaten track, but when people find us, it’s worth it,” Laurie says.

The husband and wife team always dreamt of starting a small, boutique coffee business that reflected their respect for the environment, and now they have.

To make that happen, for the good part of a year Laurie sourced recyclable products to complete the van’s transformation from a tin shell rotting in a backyard paddock to functional espresso bar.

The 1957 Australian built van was restored using polished aluminium. The interior furnishings include a 25-year-old commercial kitchen stove, and sustainably grown hoop pine timber and recycled celery top timbers for the cabinetry and bencthtops.

“We have a strong sustainable ethos and try to carry that through in all aspects of our business. The water is harvested rainwater and the van runs completely off the grid – using two 180-watt solar panels,” Laurie says. “It’s a good thing we’re leading into summer.”

Laurie says his decision to produce an eco-espresso bar cost him twice the time and money compared to setting up a normal mobile business, but he wouldn’t have done it any other way.

“In so many ways we’re poisoning the planet around the world. This is our way of giving back to the environment and minimising our carbon footprint. We wanted to show people it could be done,” he says.

Cubed Espresso Bar serves customers its own house blend, a seasonable single origin, and an extensive range of tea and hot chocolates.

It took Laurie six months of trialling and testing to perfect the beans and roast for the house blend, which he produces on a fully-restored retro 1-kilogram Has Garanti in a purpose-built micro roastery located at his home on the Tasman Peninsula. Laurie takes an artisan approach to roasting that relies on good old-fashioned sight, touch, and smell.

“Our green beans are fully traceable and ethically sourced. Everything we do is labour-intensive but we’re passionate about producing a quality product and being transparent,” he says.

At time of print the house blend combined Costa Rican, Brazilian, and Indonesian beans to produce a blend with caramel and fruit notes.

“I’m a third wave roaster but roast classic espresso-style for our house blend. I let the roast drop on first crack or just after and the result is big bold flavours. A lot of people tell me it’s one of the best coffees they’ve ever had – even some customers from Melbourne, so we must be doing something right,” Laurie says. 

There were few options when it came to selecting an espresso machine without power as its energy source, but Laurie is happy with his two-group Fracino gas machine from the UK.

Food is Fabienne’s forte.

Family recipes of sweets and savory items that have been passed down from generations come to life in the couple’s semi-commercial kitchen, and delivered straight to the van each day. All items are gluten-free and organic where possible, using locally sourced produce. Nothing costs more than $4.50. A must-try is the raspberry and chocolate fudge brownie.

In the short time that Cubed Espresso Bar has been operating, it’s made a strong impression in the local community, and has even been nominated for a Tasmanian EPA sustainability award.

“We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved,” Laurie says. “We encourage others to come enjoy a friendly and personal experience with a quality and value-for-money product – and you might even spot a whale on the horizon too.”

Café Culture

Hospitality has been Andrew Reay’s life since he was 15 years old. He worked as a chef in fine-dining establishments in Launceston, but when the right café location in Trevallyn popped up three years ago, Andrew knew it was time to farewell the commercial kitchen for a more relaxed cooking atmosphere. Read more

Charles St Pantry

Six days a week Phil Lesley wakes up before the sun, braving the cold on the way to his Launceston café in time for a 5am start.

“Being so close to the city centre means we do a bustling morning trade,” Phil says. “The courts are just down the road, meaning we get a lot of court officials who are also up early coming in for breakfast or a coffee before they start work.”

This has been Phil’s routine for the past 14 years since moving back home from Victoria and taking over Charles St Pantry.

“Eighteen years ago I set off to travel the world, but only made it as far as Melbourne before I was offered a job as a chef,” he says.

Despite spending quite a few years working in cafés and restaurants around Melbourne, Phil calls himself a proud Tasmanian.

“We support our locals by serving coffee supplied by Shane Delanty from Doppio Foods here in Launceston,” Phil says. “Shane calls past once a week to make sure we’re on track. He also oversees all the training with our baristas.”

Charles St Pantry serves Bruno Rossi’s Uno for its house blend, and has recently installed a second grinder in order to introduce a single origin.

Phil says this is one example of how specialty coffee is becoming more important for Launceston cafés to not just do, but to do well.

“When I came back in 2001, coffee was still a bit of an afterthought,” he says. “That’s definitely changed now. Customers have a much higher expectation.”

Phil tries to support local suppliers when it comes to sourcing his fresh produce too. All his focaccias, Turkish breads, and bread loaves are brought in fresh from a bakery just down the road.

“We offer the café breakfasts staples like eggs, fruit salad, and toast,” Phil says. “Then there’s brunch items running all day, like the open grilled shaved ham and swiss cheese sandwich.”

Phil says as well as the daily interaction with the young staff he employs, it’s the bonds he’s made with his customers that gets him out of bed each morning.

“I get up early because I have that relationship with my customers,” Phil says. “I’ve been doing this a while now – I couldn’t keep it up if I wasn’t still loving it.”

Laneway

Nestled down one of Devonport’s most café-dense lanes, the aptly named Laneway is doing things a little differently.

In its fourth year of operation, Owners Alex McVeity and Rhys Taylor have been working hard to ensure their delicatessen/café stands out among the hoards.

“We’re always looking at ways to improve,” says Rhys. “For us that means simply listening to our customers, finding out what they want and fine-tuning what we’re offering.”

Born and raised in Tasmania, both Rhys and Alex spent a number of years working abroad and in other states before opening their café in Devonport.

“Working in Melbourne definitely had an impact on the direction we took when we decided to open Laneway,” Rhys says. “We realised there wasn’t really anything here, which was like what we’d come to love, so we decided to bring a little bit of Melbourne back with us.”

Rhys and Alex set out to create a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where they could focus on providing a personalised service to their customers. Rhys says part of their ambitious plan for a Devonport café meant placing a high emphasis on producing quality coffee to accompany the fine food they offer.

Laneway serves Bristot’s Rainforest blend on its custom-made La Marzocco FB80. Bristot’s Rainforest is a Brazilian and Central American blend, and is Rainforest Alliance certified.

“It’s a robust, Italian espresso with a fair bit of body,” Rhys says. “It’s a stronger coffee with a slightly chocolate aftertaste.”

Laneway also serves an Ethiopian single origin on request for its more discerning coffee drinkers.

For diners, Rhys and Alex have designed a café style menu with a modern twist. The all-day breakfast menu features many dishes using organic produce from their own properties.

“Our Spanish beans, which are made using pancetta and chorizo, and served with sour cream, spring onion, and sweet preserved chilli on sourdough is very popular,” Rhys says.

Villino

Villino is not a new player on Hobart’s bustling café scene. Although anyone walking down Criterion Street this autumn could be forgiven for not recognising the specialty coffee store.

Villino has recently received a facelift, with a fresh coat of paint and redesigned signage to match its new direction.

“Villino has been evolving over the last eight years and we thought the café deserved a new look which reflected that,” says Owner Richard Schramm.

Villino is the Italian name for a small home with a yard, which Richard says encapsulates what he had in mind when Villino first opened. But as Richard says, the title is no longer all-encompassing of what the business has become.

“The café itself still maintains that relaxed homely feeling, but Villino has grown considerably,” he says.

Richard’s time is now divided between overseeing the running of the café on Criterion Street, ensuring all is under control down the road at its sister café Ecru, and managing the wholesale end of his coffee business.

“About five years ago we began roasting for ourselves because we liked the idea of having more control over our coffee,” he says. “We opened up the roaster on a separate site in Hobart and began supplying Villino coffee to cafés around the state.”

Richard says the primary focus of Villino café has always been on offering a specialty coffee experience, but this offering has broadened over the years. “We’ve built a really experienced senior barista team, including last year’s Australian Specialty Coffee Association Tasmanian Latte Art Champion Andy Nairn,” he says. “Our café customers have the opportunity to not only taste the wonderful espresso we’re preparing, but also taste our coffees using a range of alternative brewing methods.”

Villino serves its Synergy Blend for its milk-based coffees, which consists of South American, Central American, and African beans. “Our signature espresso blend is designed to be versatile with both black and milk-based coffees for our wholesale customers who don’t run single origins” says Richard. “It’s quite a rich, sweet, and full-bodied coffee with a hint of chocolate, notes of fruitiness, and a floral finish.”

The roastery’s 5-kilogram and 12-kilogram Probats work their magic on a selection of more than 20 single origins, which the café varies based on what the team really likes at the time.

“One of our roasters recently took a trip to Los Naranjos in Huila, Colombia and we’ve since been using a lot of coffee from that region,” says Richard. “We’ve also grown quite attached to what we’ve sourced from Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Kenya, but ultimately we want to showcase to our customers what’s cupping up well. We’ve just had a really unique Indonesian Ming Solok which challenged our views on coffee from the region.”

Villino and Ecru both use Vitasoy for their soy-based coffees. “We did quite a bit of tasting, which involved pairing different soy milks with our coffees, prior to deciding on which brand to go with,” says Richard. “We found the Vitasoy variety performed really well in terms of workability and also in allowing the true flavour of the coffee to come through.”

Richard says milk-based coffees are still the most common order in his café and soy is the most popular choice for their non-dairy drinkers. “We are the coffee partner for MONA’s Dark MOFO Winter Feast. When we prepared for the event last year 10 to 15 per cent of our allocated milk stock was soy, which is significantly more than what it was a few years ago,” he says.

Both Dark MOFO and
its summer festival MONA FOMA attract huge crowds
 to Tasmania, which Richard says acts as another motivator for local businesses to up their game. “People come over here with high expectations of what they want and the last thing we want is to be below the national average. We position ourselves with the leading interstate specialty coffee businesses,” he says.

Villino is now one of a growing number of specialty coffee cafés in the state’s capital, with the bar continuously rising across Tasmania.

“It’s a bit of a pyramid and the guys at the top doing specialty are beginning to attract much more discerning customers,” Richard says. “This means every bean we roast, every shot we pour, every day, we have to get it right – we love it.”

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