Ten years ago Rocket Espresso was the only venue on Grey Street serving coffee and food.
Thanks to the development of Hamilton’s coffee culture, the street is now thriving with coffee shops within close radius.
Co-Owner Sanchia Brodrick says the café’s strength lies in its “fun, youthful, funky vibe” – and quality coffee of course.
“Some customers might consider us a half record, half coffee shop. You won’t find house music on first thing at 7am but we do like to keep the tempo upbeat, even a bit of Bob Marley to end the day.”
Sanchia found her calling in the hospitality industry in her early 20s, and has been enjoying the journey ever since.
“Thirteen years ago I started working at Rocket Espresso washing dishes, then I progressed to working as a barista and climbed my way up to café manager and now owner,” she says.
Sanchia took over the business from the previous owners in 2005 with her sister Martina Mariu.
“I was only 25 years old at the time. It was a steep learning curve. A year later we acquired the space next door and did some demolition to make the café a larger space for our customers. It’s been challenging but a really satisfying outcome,” she says.
Rocket Espresso Bar’s interior embraces industrial aesthetics, curved walls, and strong use of red and black colours (no, Sanchia’s not an Australian Football League Essendon supporter).
When it comes to coffee, Rocket Coffee is the roaster of choice, and its House Blend is served at the espresso bar. The bean combination changes seasonally, but at the time of print it featured 70 per cent La Esperanza from Guatemala and 30 per cent from Gishamwama Pwanda. Decaf coffee is also available and filter coffee is set to be available for summer.
Rocket is a socially conscious café and was the first in Hamilton to join the Conscious Consumers Movement in effort to source free-range and organic products, and be more environmentally conscious. This led to the decision to add a surcharge for takeaway paper cups.
“We were sick of the wastage and so we added a $0.40 surcharge to encourage people to bring a reusable cup. It was a brave move but we have reduced the number of takeaway paper cups we serve by 50 per cent since 2010,” Sanchia says.
A simple but tasty breakfast and lunch menu is available with the café’s bagels a constant crowd favourite.
Over the past 10 years Sanchia says there’s been one constant love apart of the coffee that keeps her excited about work each day – her customers.
“Each one of our customers are greeted with a genuine smile right from the start, and after a customer visits us three times we encourage staff to remember their order for a personalised feel,” she says. “And of course I enjoy working with our great team of staff. It feels like a family.”