Located at the “Paris end” of Melbourne’s CBD, Elements café and catering sits in one of Melbourne’s pre-eminent office buildings. The 265-metre skyscraper comprises 50 levels, but the real buzz is on the ground floor, with streams of office workers heading to Elements for their daily coffee fix.
Elements is divided into a kiosk in the building foyer, and a seating area outside the imposing building. The business is run by brothers Joey and Daniel Robilotta, and caters to busy office workers. Men and women in suits frequent the coffee bar, with mobiles and briefcases in hand.
Joey has been working in hospitality for more than 20 years. He most recently operated a restaurant in Queensland for six years.
“Running a restaurant provides a good training ground for a career in the coffee industry, but I wanted a normal Monday to Friday job. So I moved back to Melbourne and was fortunate to find this site,” he says.
Joey’s love for hospitality runs through the family. His father Giuseppe Robilotta has worked in hospitality for 45 years. He owned Robilotta Cellars in the 1970s, an Italian delicatessen selling wines, coffee and continental products in Northcote, Victoria. “In Italy my grandfather had beautiful vineyards and lots of olive trees. I left Italy at the age of 11 but I have vivid memories of those traditional products and knew that there would be a market for them in Australia,” Giuseppe says. Today he helps out his sons, taking catering to different companies throughout the city.
The Robilotta family worked closely with Coffee Co to create their own blend for Elements, called the Diamond Blue Boutique Blend. The beans are sourced from seven origins around Central America. “It’s a full-bodied blend that suits our customers’ strong coffee preferences. Melburnians know their coffee better than in any city, so we have to make sure we’re consistently serving great coffee,” Joey says. “Between the kiosk and café, we’re going through about 100 kilograms of coffee each week, serving more than 1500 cups each day, in addition to our supply of teas, hot chocolate and decaf range of products.”
Increasingly, Joey says many of his customers prefer to drink soy milk. To meet this demand, Elements serves Vitasoy. “We’ve used Vitasoy since we opened. The soy milk is easy to texture and it tastes good too,” says Joey. “While other soy milks often have a sweet taste, Vitasoy’s products taste natural and fresh. Everyone is particular about their coffee and milk these days, so it’s important that we supply milk to suit a range of taste preferences.”
A large team of staff cater to the daily needs of the café, with dedicated baristas glued to the Maranello espresso machine. “Our staff are great with customer service. They get to know the customers personally on a first-name basis and get to know their coffee orders,” Joey says.
Joey says they chose the café’s name from Melbourne’s reputation for having four seasons in one day. “No matter what season of weather Melbourne delivers, at Elements there’s always fresh, delicious coffee on the go,” he says.