Few industries attract the kind of passionate people that coffee does, and Mirko Silvestri is a great example.
The Owner of Lupo Lab café and micro roaster in Mount Hawthorn fell in love with hospitality growing up in his family’s restaurants in Rome. His attention turned to coffee specifically in university, where he developed a passion that carried him around the world before landing in Western Australia.
“At the time, about 17 years ago, we actually knew very little about coffee, at least in Italy. I joined the Specialty Coffee Association, started taking its courses, and built my knowledge of coffee origin and chemistry,” Mirko says.
“I lived in Elsternwick, [Victoria], for a while but Perth is much quieter. Mount Hawthorn is a nice family area that’s built a strong cultural movement with new restaurants and cafés over the last few years.”
Inspired by the founding story of Rome and its Capitoline Wolf sculpture, ‘lupo’ comes from the Italian word for ‘wolf’ and ties the café to Mirko’s Italian roots.
This theme even extends to the name of its house blend, Larentia, taken from the same story.
“We try to do direct trade as much as we can. My last trip was to El Salvador last year and I’m excited to receive coffee from them in a couple of weeks,” Mirko says. “As part of this direct trade partnership, we are able to support the Coffee Growing People project, which supports the local coffee community by providing free education, nutrition and health care for the farmers and their children.”
Coffee is prepared with a La Marzocco Strada AV espresso machine, and one of three grinders: an Anfim SPII for blends, Anfim Pratica for single origins, and a Mahlkönig EK43S for filter and ground retail coffee orders.
Lupo Lab’s roastery is on display to the public, where they can peak into Mirko’s “coffee laboratory” where beans are monitored and analysed as much during the roast as the brew.
“We proudly craft coffee with a Genio coffee roaster, manufactured in South Africa, where I visited their workshop and helped to develop their exposure in Australia,” Mirko says.
Because of this high attention to detail, Lupo Lab was hesitant to add plant-based milks to its menu. Mirko hadn’t found an option that paired well with his coffee until he came across the Alternative Dairy Co.
“We were one of the first in Perth to use that oat milk. We love it and are now partnering with them to serve almond milk too,” Mirko says. “We’ve always been against using almond milk because it changed the flavour of our coffee too much, but with Alternative Dairy Co’s new formula, we find it’s a nice match.
“We’ve even had a lot of happy customers come in and ask where they can buy this oat milk themselves, and we’re seeing it with the almond milk as well.”
Lupo Lab also plans to introduce Alternative Dairy Co Soy Milk to its menu once its new recipe rolls out in early 2021. “More and more people are ordering dairy alternatives, so we want to give our customers the most choice possible,” Mirko says.
Coffee is not the only thing prepared inhouse at Lupo Lab. The café makes its own pastas, desserts, and much of its food. Mirko says Lupo Lab has built a reputation for its pasta.
“We have a very good recipe, I must say, for our most famous pasta, the pappardelle, which we now serve with a rich oxtail sugo [sauce],” Mirko says.
“Our pasta has a strong Roman heritage, which has influenced much of our shop.”
151-153 Scarborough Beach Road, Mount Hawthorn, Western Australia, 6016
Open weekdays 6:30am to late, weekends 7am to late
08 9242 4426