If coffee were an art, the café would be the canvas and the beans the palette.
Coming from a fine art background and major in furniture design, Sammi Whang fell into the coffee industry after pursuing a part-time job in hospitality. She now channels her artisan background into creating a coffee culture in Hobart that is full of passion and originality.
“I really like people interaction and I love coffee because I can be creative with it,” says Sammi, Café Owner and Barista. “I have such a great passion for coffee. I aim for quality in each cup, it’s my principle.”
Shoebox Café sports a “groovy yet quirky” interior, inspired by local furniture designer Nick Randall. Sammi says the use of bold colours and eye-catching pieces invites her customers into a warm and inviting space.
Using a La Marzocco machine, the contemporary café serves a customised blend by Villino Coffee called the Shoebox blendm which highlights stone fruit and citrus flavours with Ethiopian beans.
“Many Hobart cafés choose coffees with chocolate notes, but this blend is fruity and people love it – they come back two to three times a day,” says Sammi. “A happy customer is a happy barista.”
Shoebox Café also features rotating single origins from guest roasters, with past roasts including blends from Proud Mary, Zimmah Coffee and other local roasters.
One of Sammi’s specialties at the café is her range of signature blends. From the competition floor to the café benchtops, Sammi uses her artistic flair to create unusual and unique drink combinations. Such items include an espresso shot with mandarin juice and licorice-root sugar syrup infused with whipped cream.
“Working as a barista is such a rewarding job,” she says. “I love playing with the flavours of coffee and sharing my knowledge and passion with my customers. I just love it all.”
To accompany the coffee, Sammi blends her South Korean heritage with her Australian upbringing in the breakfast and lunch menu. Must-try items include Pecking duck sesame wrap, hand-made dumpling soup, Thai beef salad and house-made waffles.