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.