Bellissimo’s Michael Koo and Mark Bignell can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The duo’s new Coorparoo venue – their third, following cafes in Fortitude Valley and Bulimba – has been years in the making. Finally, after delays with council approval and design issues, they are confidently working towards a late-September opening date.
The new Cavendish Road space will be the “centrepiece” for the celebrated company – which has collected a whopping 185 industry awards since being founded in 2009 – a cafe and roasting headquarters featuring four coffee roasters (in five-kilogram, 12-kilogram, 75-kilogram and 90-kilogram sizes), a commercial kitchen, cafe, office spaces and a temperature-controlled storage room. Bignell reckons it’s six times bigger than their Bulimba cafe.
“The sheer scale of this means everything is a bigger [process] to get through,” Bignell says. “The majority of the work is done. Now it’s just the finishing touches.”
Bignell and Koo chose the Coorparoo warehouse for its relative isolation away from residential areas. They stopped roasting at the Bulimba cafe after “copping flak” from locals (once the roasting gear is moved to the new venue, the Bulimba cafe will be redesigned to allow for more dine-in customers).
Not that the new venue didn’t come with its own share of challenges. In late 2016 News Corp reported there was community concern over the warehouse’s potential to cause traffic congestion for parents with kids at the neighbouring secondary school. Bignell and Koo say the issue was resolved with a traffic engineer giving the green light, and the addition of extra parking at the warehouse.
Bignell and Koo hope their venue will become a community hub for people who are passionate about coffee, whether they are in the industry or not. They plan to host free tastings of rare single origins they source from around the world.
“We want to invest in trying to unite the coffee community, and keep making Australian coffee the best,” Koo says.
Bellissimo Coorparoo will open at 12 Cavendish Road in late September.