A collective is a group of people that share or are motivated by a common issue or interest – in this case, coffee; more specifically, good coffee.
Owners Mark Jacobson, Duncan McCance and Graham Babbs have brought together a tight, knowledgeable team to create Collective Espresso, a well-rounded cafe that churns out some of the best coffee in Camberwell.
Space is not a luxury this cafe has to enjoy. But to their credit, the boys have done a good job at making the small space feel open and airy. One long communal table stretches the length of the room. The white walls are decorated with brightly coloured paintings, and delicate posies in Hendrick’s Gin bottles adorn the table. Simple but charming.
Similarly, the menu is also short and sweet. All the basics we know and love are there – Bircher muesli, avocado on toast, eggs your way – but the specials board is where the chef gets a bit more creative. Think pork belly scrambled eggs with toasted quinoa and pumpkin, or porridge with goji and blue berries.
They use Five Senses beans and also offer a rotating single origin. Between them, the boys have clocked up plenty of experience in Melbourne cafes (notably at Balaclava haunt Las Chicas) and they clearly know a thing or two about good coffee.
The prices are also pleasantly affordable – under $15 for breakfast and coffee is excellent value by most standards.
It’s no wonder Collective Espresso has become a coffee haven, servicing train commuters, students and Camberwell locals alike in an area that’s at a loss for good cafes.