Andy Gelman is a strong believer in the saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
The day before Andy and business partner Dean Atkin’s Café and roastery was to open, the local council decided to pull up the main road outside their new location to fix the water drain. With restricted road access around the café for the first four months of business, andy and Dean remained optimistic and opened as planned.
“It was really shattering and a really tough time,” andy says. “We tried to maintain positive, at least we had really cool coffees and I got to spend time using the roaster.”
Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird has since celebrated its one-year birthday and it’s thriving in the suburb of Gardenvale. With a warm, industrial feel to the corner site, andy says his café had to offer a family friendly environment because of the suburban location.
“We’re really feeling the local loyalty,” he says. “Here, you get to know your customers by name, which is just the most awesome feeling.”
Andy roasts out of café hours on a brand new 12kg Probat roasting machine, which he describes as the best thing he’s ever roasted on.
Andy and Dean have sampled hundreds of coffees from around the world to get the right blends for the café. Their comprehensive list of coffees on offer are all unique and seasonal blends, including their special milk-based blend of Sumatran Aceh Mengaya and Guatemalan Finca La Providencia, and a Sumatran Aceh Mengaya for their black coffee that is full bodied with a rich and earthy sweetness.
Other single origin coffee from Sumatra, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Kenya and Panama are also available, including the Kenya Gethumbwini, a real standout served through the clever coffee dripper on site.Omar’s uses a La Marzocco machine and a clever coffee dripper.
The mentality behind the food at the café is simple: great produce served fresh. A variety of toasted flatbreads, salads and rolls are available for lunch, as well as a breakfast special of torn basil, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and extra virgin olive oil.
When buying beans to take home, the staff at Omar offer friendly advice on how to best use their coffee and what they can expect to get out of the coffee. no matter the difference in pallet, Andy says the team at Omar’s can find a bean that will be suited to any particular taste.
“When you sit down and spend time with a customer, trying different processing methods of coffee, they’re your customer for life,” andy says.
“I love my job, we feel so lucky we can come into work, try all these different coffees and somehow make ends meet.”