The benefits of 'green coffee' may be well known, but how many people think about having a 'green' coffee? Not many. Not only does Silo make a mean cuppa, lovingly topped off with a thick, velvety crema, but it is also Melbourne's first fully sustainable, waste free café.
I stumbled across Silo one afternoon whilst wandering down Hardware Lane (at 123). Hardware Lane, for those that aren't familiar with Melbourne, is the typical little tourist trap laneway full of the delightful little eateries, fanciful restaurants and cute cafes that the city does so well. Without knowing Silo's story, you might be forgiven to walk past this hole in the wall plain jane café, that boasts no bins, no unsustainable storage containers, and no fancy tables or untenable cabinets.
In fact, after indulging in a little small talk with one of the baristas and subsequently doing a little research about this place, I found out that all the cafés' products, including milk, are delivered in reuseable, refillable vessels. Think of those old school stainless steel milk vats.
Far from being boring, in fact I found the reused plastic milk crates dangling from the ceiling and every other nook and cranny appealing. It added to the sustainable charm of the place and reminded me that green is good. All of the décor and fittings are made from recycled or recyclable materials, including the recycled timber communal table.
So, with all of this no waste philosophy, it got me wondering 'where does all the waste go'? Apparently, waste is collected and composted on site, where it is then delivered to the farmers that provided the product in the first place. Genius!
I haven't tried the food, but the menu is based on seasonal, locally grown produce. I'm not sure of the ethical and sustainable attributes of the coffee itself. Is it Fair Trade? Not sure? Is it organic? Let's hope so. But, the coffee is delicious and at least with all Silo's other sustainable features, we can be sure they're at least thinking about it.