Red Baron Owner Matthew Keegan compares working in a shipping container to that of a submarine. “It’s a tight space and we do trip over each other at times, but I enjoy the challenges that small spaces creates, such as storage and seating issues,” he says. “Small spaces create atmosphere, there’s a nice buzz about it.”
Taking inspiration from Melbourne’s obsession with pop-up venues and whole-in-the-wall cafés, Matthew has established Brisbane’s first espresso bar operating from a used shipping container. “It took a while to source and transport the 20-foot container, but we’ve converted it into a great space that was formerly just a car park space,” says Matthew.
The container was green to begin with, before Matthew painted it red, added doors, installation and some hand-made benches. “We wanted to keep the space as bare as possible to keep the feel of working out of a container,” he says.
Located in an office precinct, Matthew says the locals have embraced the new attraction. “Everyone loves it. We’re the reason they creep out of their office so often,” says Matthew.
Red Baron Coffee contract roasts through Veneziano Coffee. Matthew uses a Syncro multi-boiler machine to produce their blend, which he says is “strong and chocolately” that’s ideal for espresso and milk-based coffee. Different single origins are available at the container each week, with regular favourites from South America and Africa.
Red Baron Coffee makes their own ice coffee, a perfect drink to enjoy in the Brisbane sunshine. Take-away food is available and aimed at time-poor office workers, including caramel tarts, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, salads, and fruit salads.
Prior to exploring his passion for coffee Matthew tried his hand at many things. But along with his brother, their niggling obsession with coffee got the better of them. As such, Matthew successfully opened Red Baron Coffee in Bardon in 2009 before opening his second Red Baron venue in Brisbane in February 2013. “I’m loving it. Coffee has given me so many great opportunities. Getting to craft something that’s gone beyond people’s needs, but is moreso a necessity for many, is really rewarding,” says Matthew. “People appreciate what we do and the product we serve.”