Sixteen years ago, Kristina Rowe was asked to lend her confectionary expertise to help out at a historical bakery set among the vineyards of Exeter Tasmania. Read more
There are not many places that serve coffee and offer BYO lunch, but that’s exactly the philosophy that’s attracting clientele to this small CBD café in Launceston.
“We introduced our BYO lunch policy because we didn’t have the space for a kitchen, and we wanted to encourage people to take a break at lunch, to meet their spouse or have a chat with an office friend or grandmother. It also takes the pressure off buying an expensive lunch,” says Café Owner Amelia Padgett.
Amelia says the idea behind the business was to create a café using local produce in all areas, from they coffee they serve to the food they produce.
“We do more that just coffee, we create a little space for Launceston community to belong,” she says. “People frequently describe us as a sanctuary, a place they can escape.”
The café is situated in the very space where Lance Barnard, former Deputy to then-Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, once had his office. “Lance and Gough spent half their term here in this very space. It’s soundproofed and retains the original fit-out with original bookshelves and benches. It’s amazing to think that so many important political matters were discussed here,” says Amelia.
The café uses Launceston’s own Ritual Coffee for their Amelia house blend. This blend currently consists of a washed Pacaybal from Guatemala, a washed El Roble from Costa Rica and a natural Gelana Abaya from Ethiopia. Amelia says it has a rich malty sweetness, with hints of chocolate and raspberry.
Ritual Coffee’s seasonal blends are also available, which at the time of print included a Guatemalan, Costa Rican, and Ethiopian blend. Rotating daily single origins are always on the go, and past favourites include beans from Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
While Amelia admits the uptake for alternate brew methods in Launceston is a little slow and “a bit foreign”, she says she encourages regulars to try something different; even cold drip which is a refreshing drink in the summer months.
“Our clientele are strong milk-based coffee drinkers, but I have managed to get some customers to reduce the amount of sugars they take in their coffee from three to zero,” she says.
Amelia can be regularly seen busily making coffee on her three-group La Marzocco FB70 machine, which she names Beatrice. “She’s got some old style glam, she’s just beautiful. And the busier we are, the better she runs,” she says. With a background previously working in psychology, Amelia says working in a café is the perfect fit. “I’m a people person and cafés are about building relationships. I’m essentially doing group therapy with 300 people a day.”
Image credit: Rob Burnett Images
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Jam Jar Lounge is not your average café. As customers relax to the smooth jazz beats of Ella Fitzgerald and Billy Holliday, this eclectic café in Hobart invites local customers to enjoy a relaxed and dedicated coffee experience.
“The café is a 1920s, art deco prohibition-Chicago gangster feel,” says Owner Danny Matheson.
Originally from Melbourne, Danny has taken the alternate vibe of Gertrude st and transcended it into his Hobart oasis. “The café was built on coffee,” says Danny. “I filled a niche here in Hobart. I brought my coffee experience with me and it’s evolved ever since.”
Jam Jar Lounge uses Villino Coffee, which Danny handles with care on their Nuova Simonelli machine. “I wanted to find a local roaster. I went on a coffee pilgrimage for five months to find a decent roaster, then settled on Villino,” says Danny. “When we first started, we were only serving 4 to 5 kilos of coffee a week, now we’re doing 21 kilos.”
The Jam Jar Blend is a combination of Central American, African and Colombian beans. Danny describes it as containing the “richness of Colombian beans, smoothness of the African and a hint of chocolate at the end”.
Making the “sea change” from a corporate background, Danny says the idea of being his own boss was a real catalyst to his career shift.
“I’m doing what I love, working in hospitality,” he says. “This café is for the locals. I love a chat and it’s a comfortable, friendly space for everyone to enjoy.”
The café features a range of menu items made in-house, including gluten-free cakes, anzac cookies and a lunch menu of soups, salads and Japanese beef curry.
Apart from the morning coffee rush, Danny says breakfast on a weekend normally caters to a busy crowd of 90 customers each day. Must-try breakfast items include eggs benedict with Tasmanian smoked salmon, sardines on toast, and coco pops.
The café is fully licensed and hosts fright night tapas and live jazz most sunday afternoons.
They say siblings are meant to be alike, but Ecru in Hobart, Tasmania is nothing like its sister café, Villino espresso.
In a deliberate move to establish a café with a different personality, style and target audience, the newly opened Ecru has a Scandinavian flair with natural timbers and high ceiling, while its older sister, the five-year-old Villino, has a strong Italian finesse with dark timber furnishings.
“They’re like chalk and cheese,” says Proprietor Richard Scharamm. “We’re breaking away from the traditional mold and have created something fresh.”
Ecru is only “20 Richard steps” down the street from Villino, where morning cyclists, mothers and prams, and business office workers can enjoy specialty coffee on the go.
“We wanted to make our coffee accessible and make Ecru predominately take-away focused for the morning rush to ease the volume pressure at Villino and attract a new audience,” says Richard.
Branching out to a neighbouring space, Richard says Ecru is a breath of fresh air for the bustling inner city Criterion st, which has become quite the attraction for fashionistas, hipsters and business folk alike.
“Ecru is a fairly unique concept for Hobart,” Richard says. “Our coffee focus is on quality, we don’t cut corners and our reputation is completely about coffee.”
The café serves strictly coffee and no food, and roasts its own coffee on Probat roasters at an off-site location under the Villino brand. Richard says they’ve focused on sourcing high-grade beans from South America, Central America and Africa. The house blend is called Synergy, a full-bodied coffee with chocolate and sweet caramel notes. Richard says this is great in milk-based coffees but also adapts well in black coffee where drinkers will experience delicate acidity and floral notes.
Ecru offers seasonal single origins, using a La Marzocco GB/5, two Mazzer grinders and a cold drip brewing method.
“We’re all about the attention to coffee and building a culture of high quality every time,” Richard says. “There’s definitely a growing interest in the specialty coffee industry in Hobart – it didn’t take long to get the community on board, and now we’re spreading coffee goodness. a lot of baristas are educating people about single origins and customers are becoming more interested in exploring different flavours and not treating coffee as a generic thing.”
Customers can watch 2012 2nd place Tasmanian Barista Champion, national semi-finalist and Head Barista, Caleb Wilson, pour an award-winning latte. Guests can also watch 3rd place Tasmanian Barista winner and Ecru barista, Andy Nairn make an espresso.
After two and a half years roasting Villino coffee, Richard says the business continues to expand his passion for coffee with their wholesale beans and constant standard of consistency, to ensure Villino remains ahead of the pack.
“The selfish reason why I enjoy this industry is because of the opportunity to taste, explore and enjoy so many different coffees,” Richard says. “People have coffee to get through the day, but for me, coffee is my entire day.”
Paul and Angelina Wood are coffee enthuiasts. Both former flight attendants, the couple knows what it takes to please customers in the air, and are now aiming to please their café diners with both feet firmly on the ground. Read more
There’s nothing like working in a family business – if you all get along. Coffee is the special ingredient that unites the Knezevic family. Mother Lucy, and sisters Marina and Elisa, have been working on and off at Island espresso for the past 12 years and recently the sisters have come back to their roots at the Tasmanian café and couldn’t be happier.
“We grew up with coffee, our parents owned shops throughout our childhood so we’ve developed a strong work ethic and we work well together,” says Elisa, Head Barista at Island espresso. “There are no family politics here, we’re all very cruisey and happy to be working together.”
Elisa recalls working at the café since she was 19 and says there’s a real sense of community connection at Island espresso.
“One customer has been coming to our café since they were in high school and is now married with kids – and they still come in regularly,” she says.
The café is an old two-storey 1800s heritage building, one of the oldest standing commercial properties in Hobart. Keeping true to the era of the building, Elisa describes the café as rustic, vintage, a bit country, and very homey, with friendly, intimate space and private areas.
She says the vibe of the café is “casual” and most customers come in twice a day, six days a week. “Hobart customers just want to be served politely, get the product they want and get on with their day,” she says.
Island espresso uses a La Marzocco Linea and coffee is supplied from local roaster and training facility Zimmah, where Elisa and Marina’s brother works, in line with the family-run coffee business. Elisa describes the house blend as “big, full bodied, with a chocolate flavour and bit of spice and hazelnut”.
Siphon and Chemex brewing are available, but Elisa says the majority of orders are for espresso and milk-based drinks. “For a long time the coffee scene has been pretty baron here in Hobart, but in the last three years it’s grown and we’re doing above standard coffee,” she says.
Marina is assigned to baking duties, made fresh on-site. The menu offers all-day breakfast and includes special french toast with homemade poached pears, almond croissants, gluten-free friands with berries and lemons, and customer favourite: Lucy’s chocolate chip cookies – the most sold item after the coffee.
There’s a little mystery behind the name of Yellow Bernard, according to mates and owners Scott Clements and David Jolly.
Without giving anything away, David can only say that the name represents the passion and perfection behind the business and their different personalities.
Yellow Bernard has only been open since April '11, but already the hard work and dedication is paying off. Neither Scott nor David come from a hospitality background; Scott is a carpenter by trade, and David a bicycle mechanic. What’s important is their passion for good quality coffee.
Scott and David started their coffee journey six yeas ago by drinking coffee, developing their taste, experiencing other cafés and sharpening their skills on their own home machines ever since. It appears their home experience has translated well into a commercial environment.“Having your own customers is pretty special,” David says. “To share our passion with a customer and see their face light up when we make them a nice coffee or see them come back with positive feedback its fantastic.”
The small, inner city café is largely based around a take away business. With only a few tables and chairs inside and outside the café, the interior is classy and clean with a timber grain bench top. The philosophy of Yellow Bernard is to focus on the coffee and not be too worried about food, although a little pastry cabinet with locally made croissants and danishes are available to accompany the coffee.
Melbourne-based roaster Gridlock Coffee supplies Yellow Bernard with their coffee, including a quality milk-based blend that offers a lot of acidity and sweetness. Single origins coffees are also available as an alternative to an espresso and are constantly changing.
David says people in Hobart are becoming more educated about coffee as they realise there are places they can go to get a good cup of coffee that matches up to Melbourne or sydney. A La Marzocco fB 80, straight from florence, is their prized toy and the first thing they ordered for the café.
Behind the scenes, Scott and David are competitive at the coffee machine and want to be recognised for their formal service, unconventional style and larrikin humour.
“We enjoy what we do and if people see us enjoying ourselves we think they’ll come back,” David says.