The first thing I did touching down for the first time in Melbourne, Australia was to take an Uber ride to St. Ali & Family. They are famous for their roasting their own beans as popularised by world champion barista, Matt Perger. My first drink was an espresso concocted from washed Ethiopia Wottona Boltuma that definitely perked me up from my seven hour flight.
I was understandably beat from schoozing with the locals here who are just as well verse with coffee as I am. And why not? It means I can leave my worries behind and enjoy a fuss free coffee experience in a corner shop lot that has whitewashed brick walls and a post-industrial facade. Smiling faces are the perfect introduction to Australian hospitality. My follow up was a Colombia El Meridiano AA: I detected hints of apricot, cheery and a rich, velvety dark chocolate aftertaste.
They are also early adopters of specialty coffee and since Mark Dundon sold the joint to Salvatore Malatesto its business as usual with this tent pole of Melbourne coffee. Beans are purchased direct from growers and their very experienced of roster of coffee makers including, of course, Matt Perger, Leon Holdsworth and Lachlan Ward. The servers have an effortless gait about them; from switching between different the cashier and the roaster to keeping their composure when the lines are extending.
The barista also design the most intricate latte art and the robust flavours are intoxicating to any true coffee lover. We discern a slightly unique aspect of this fair city and realized they are just as crazy about their coffee as I’ve come to expect. I decided to have one more for the road and ordered a filter coffee with light roasted (instead of washed) Ethiopia Wottona Boltuma. It is fascinating how they brew filter coffee using a La Marzocco GS3 espresso machine that is then filtered with a Hario V60 coffee dripper.
12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia