By Maria Paoli
As Melbourne’s cafés spread their wings, so do I in search of café suburbia. In my early trek days I came across a brilliant roaster, Joshua Bailey. Curious to find his dedicated followers, I ran into Patrick Sloan.
Patrick ran a successful cafe on the University of Melbourne campus and earned the reputation of the best barista around. He now runs Foxy Brown and it serves Bailey Coffee. Where did his caffeine journey begin?
He started working in an uncle’s cafe in Wellington at the age of 14 – nearly 30 years ago. Since then he has worked at a variety of establishments, including five years at both Marchetti’s Latin and a five star hotel and eight years owning Castro’s Coffee Kiosk at Melbourne Uni. In between, he worked at a leading city restaurant, managed Segafredo Zanetti Espresso in Hardware Lane, wrote a monthly wine column, was a guest sommelier at the renowned Lakehouse and was with Salvatore Malatesta for three years as trouble shooter, group buyer and sommelier!”
But, a passion for organic and sustainable produce, combined with great coffee, led him to open Foxy Brown. He uses sustainable, free range, and organic or bio-dynamic DEMTER as an un-homoginised milk. The cafe lives sustainability – recycling all kitchen organic waste and coffee grounds.
“But, we would rather be judged for the quality of what we present on the plate, or in the cup, and let that be our lasting testimony to our commitment to quality.” Patrick’s sommelier skills also contribute to his fascination for coffee.
“We pulled more than 2000 espresso shots through our machine, before we opened our doors as I wanted to be certain we had nailed the espresso blend and the roast profiles of our changing array of single origin coffees.” He constantly tweaks and refines it. And, this is where a close working relationship with a small, hands-on boutique roaster such as Joshua Bailey really helps.
But, there is one big difference between wine and coffee. “In the coffee industry, the wealth of knowledge and industry exposure is less accessible… and only finally starting to evolve now.” By roasting at home, he can order in what he wants and play with the roast profile until he’s happy with the result. By documenting results, Patrick says he is building knowledge, similar to his wine appreciation. There are, he says, some great cafés and roasters producing amazing things with coffee in Melbourne. “Especially those representing the ‘fourth wave’ of coffee evolution.”