For Paul and Tanya Licina, owners of Blue Sky Coffee, maintaining a business in Newstead was getting tricky.
“Two things happened,” says Paul, who also runs his own spinal clinic. “First, the rent went up and we were paying double than when we first moved in. Secondly, there has been quite a lot of construction in that part of town. We got a lot of parking fines, and so did our customers.”
In early March, the Licinas packed up their Commercial Road premises and moved everything across town to a new warehouse space on Woolloongabba’s Lerna Street. While the new space is smaller than the old one, they can still roast beans on-site.
The cafe is designed primarily for takeaway coffee but features a large communal wooden table and high-stool seating for those who want to linger. The space is decorated with works by Paul’s favourite Indigenous artist, Michael Nelson Tjakamarra; paintings on the walls and lightning-bolt sculptures hanging from the ceiling.
There’s been another change in direction: the Licinas decided to wind back the food menu at the new site. Now the cafe serves a selection of Crust & Co baked goods. “It was a conscious decision not to put a kitchen in,” says Paul. “We lost focus on the coffee and every meeting we had was about the food. That’s not the point.”
Blue Sky’s Ebony Ivory house blend runs through a Nuova Simonelli machine and a Victoria Arduino lever espresso maker produces a darker Italian-style coffee using the Midnight Oil blend. There’s also a decaf option and two single origins, which will rotate regularly.
The Licinas are keen to have collectable car and coffee mornings, using the large on-site car park. But for now, the main focus is building a local following in their new neighbourhood.
Blue Sky Coffee
Unit 9, 25 Lerna Street, Woolloongabba
1300 232 575
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 7am–12pm