Julie is the author of a number of guidebooks, including 'Melbourne's Best Bush Bay and City Walks' & 'Melbourne for Dogs' (with RSPCA). Read more of her adventures at her walks blog: walksmelbourne.com
Published August 29th 2013
New look Balaclava institution
Shiny Coffee Pots galore at The Coffee Company (c) JP Mundy 2013
Balaclava's iconic Coffee Company, which has been roasting and grinding mouth-wateringly fresh coffee beans for all of Melbourne for over 40 years, has just had a major make over which brings it convincingly into the 21st century.
Coffee beans, and then some @ The Coffee Company, Balaclava (c) JP Mundy 2013
Owner Joel Dubs and his team have worked closely with innovative Prahran-based designers Studio Ginger on what he describes as a real 'passion project' for everyone involved. This passion shows in the gorgeous retro-industrial fit-out, with quirky signage and glass windows at the back of the store revealing huge hessian sacks of coffee beans waiting to be packaged for the store.
From plant to bean to store @ The Coffee Company, Balacalava (c) JP Mundy 2013
What hasn't changed about the store is the wonderful staff and incredible commitment to quality product. Beans are sourced from all over the world, with a strong emphasis on fair-trade, Rainforest Alliance, single origin and organic varieties. Try some of the popular Nicaraguan Santa Rosa Estate Unroasted, the Ethiopian Djimma or perhaps the Indonesian Bali "God Mountain". The team also mix and roast their own blends by hand on site every day, and are incredibly knowledgable about what they are selling, and happy to help you select a bean or blend to suit your taste. The enormous coffee grinding mill at the front of the store is a real sensory treat - my kids have always loved coming in with me to smell, choose and watch coffee beans being roasted for their dad. Just try walking down Carlisle Street when the beans are roasting and NOT be lead into the store by your nose - I dare you! Most coffees sell for between $28 and $30 per kilo, and it is not unheard of for people to come from as far as the Mornington Peninsular to buy their beans by the kilos, or even on behalf of their whole street! If you can't make the trip into the store, they also have a very popular online shop for mail orders.
If coffee is not your thing, the Coffee Company also have a very wide selection of wonderful herbal teas - my mum loves the 'Relax' blend of chamomile, rose petals, lime blossom and peppermint. There is a tiny cafe with just a few tables tucked away at the back of the store, which has a good selection of elegant patisserie cakes to compliment the main game - the coffee and teas. If you want to continue the experience at home, the shop also stocks a wide range of coffee and tea implements - from tea and coffee pots to tea bag squeezers, infusers and espresso cups.
It's not many coffee shops in Melbourne who can say they are still thriving and going from strength to strength after 6 owners and 40 years. Nor many that can claim to three generations of customers coming in to buy from them. The Coffee Company can and rightly so. To celebrate its re-opening, they are offering $5 off every $50 spent in a single transaction (and $10 off every $100) spent in store until 17 September 2013. Time to stock up on the roast!
The new look store @ The Coffee Company (c) JP Mundy 2013