bear with me

Bear With Me

“Bear with me” is a phrase that comes up often is hospitality, and Alicia Liu and Viv Xiao felt it was the right tongue-in-cheek message to send when they opened their second café.

“We were known for creating Vilicia Coffee [our first café], but going into a residential area and opening up a whole kitchen with food service was relatively new to us,” Alicia says. Read more

maxie coffee

Maxie Coffee

The greater Kingston area has one of the fastest growing populations in Tasmania. Despite its growth, Sam Whang-Randall, Owner of Maxie Coffee, says until recently, the area’s specialty coffee scene was virtually non-existent. Read more

Vilicia Coffee

Vilicia Coffee

As busy office workers in Hobart rush to start their day, there is one place they know they can stop for quality coffee and breakfast on the go. 

Vilicia Coffee, the first child of founders Alicia Liu and Viv Xiao, has been a Murray Street staple since its arrival in 2014. While their second creation, Bear With Me, is a place to sit back and relax, Vilicia Coffee has a different dynamic that suits its CBD location. Read more

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