Toby’s Estate takes on Queensland

Toby's Estate Queensland

A new flagship café in Newstead offers an up-close-and-personal Toby’s Estate experience for the coffee curious of Brisbane.

With a vibrant specialty café scene, a coffee-conscious demographic, and a growing community of businesses popping up in its former wool stores, the riverside suburb of Newstead was a no-brainer for the Toby’s Estate team when searching for a home for their Brisbane flagship café. It’s the kind of place that leans into its industrial past: breweries, wine bars, and coffee shops make the most of the heritage buildings’ high ceilings, open-plan layouts, and polished concrete floors.

“Over the past few years, Newstead has established itself as a real contender in Brisbane’s specialty coffee space,” says Toby’s Estate QLD State Manager Sam Bennett.

“What the Toby’s Estate team love about this area is its diversity; it’s the place to be in Brisbane, but it also has an established demographic who embrace it as it changes. It’s got a great mix of business and residential, and we love that energy.”

The Sydney-based brand has a flagship café and roastery in Chippendale, New South Wales, where it was established more than 27 years ago, as well as venues in the Middle East, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. With the Olympics on the horizon and a strong following in Queensland, Toby’s Estate saw 2024 as the perfect time to introduce a Brisbane flagship café to the family.

The venue, which opened on 1 May, is set within the historic former Wilcox Mofflin wool store. The team have consciously refurbished the space, showcasing original features such as exposed brick walls and concrete floors alongside the contemporary vision of Melbourne architect Russell & George.

“It’s a heritage-listed building with a beautiful, historic exterior. Inside, we’ve done a complete fit-out so it’s really young and fresh,” says Sam.

“The centrepiece is the circular bar at the heart of the space, which has seven tiers of cavity-lit retail shelves. The central counter also features espresso, filter, and training bars, which allow customers to get up close and personal with the coffee making process.”

Each of Toby’s Estate’s flagship stores has a unique design to complement its local setting, yet Sam says they all have common threads that signify they’re part of the wider family.

“They all have a New York loft-style vibe, with coffee front and centre. The colours, textures, and materials used continue the theme throughout each venue,” he says.

Toby's Estate Queensland
Image: Markus Ravik

While the team have worked hard to design a cool place for locals to hangout and catch up with friends, the core aim of the Brisbane outpost is to create a space where Queensland’s coffee geeks can nerd out over Toby’s Estate’s vast spectrum of coffees.

“Alongside our espresso menu, which is served on a beautiful Slayer Steam EP three-group machine, we have a full filter bar with around seven or eight different single origin options available at any time,” says Linda Maksic, Toby’s Estate Coffee Trainer.

“We run free monthly sessions for the local community who want to sample and learn about the single origins we’ve got on offer that month. They can come in and ask the team questions and discover how to get the best out of their coffee.”

The highlight of the coffee offering, however, is the Freezus menu. A selection of Toby’s Estate’s best coffees from that producing year, the beans are roasted and then frozen to stop the aging process. The rotating collection of coffees is updated regularly as the roasters continue to add the best coffees from each country as the year goes on.

“The frozen menu is a time capsule of our best coffees. We freeze each coffee at its peak to preserve the beans’ unique characteristics, which allows us to enjoy them for years after roasting. It’s a curated selection of our most elite and interesting roasts that we’re super proud of,”
says Linda.

While getting the Brisbane venue ready for its launch day in May, where the team served free coffee to locals throughout the morning, the Toby’s Estate team were also working on the revamp of its Singapore flagship, which reopened following a refit at the end of the same month.

The Robertson Quay café has been a favourite among Singapore’s specialty coffee fans since it opened 15 years ago. The site has received a top-to-toe makeover, with Australian designers Atelier and Alpha giving the space a contemporary new look to reflect the company’s modern approach to coffee roasting.

Alongside the unveiling of the new space, the Toby’s Estate team also launched the latest release in their Flavour Series in Singapore. Pandan Waffle, a limited-edition blend, embraces traditional Southeast Asian flavours and delivers tasting notes of pine lime ice cream, coconut cream, and melon.

All the brand’s specialty coffees can be experienced at the café’s new interactive espresso and filter bars, where customers can watch the baristas work their magic. There’s also an Aussie-inspired food menu to complement the coffee, creating a little slice of Antipodean café culture in Singapore. 

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This article appears in the June 2024 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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