A cafe, roastery and coffee community training centre, all in the middle of the CBD. Adam Wang’s plans for his upcoming The Maillard Project cafe are, if nothing else, ambitious.
But then this is the man behind Coffee Anthology, which – along with outlets such as John Mills Himself, Edward Specialty Coffee and Streetlab – is often regarded as one of the yardsticks for specialty coffee in the city.
“This has been in my mind for the last three or four years,” Wang says. “It was the next step up from Coffee Anthology. We got to a comfortable stage there and we needed a new space to give us a new challenge.”
The Maillard Project will open later this month in a slick new space on Charlotte Street. The cafe will be dominated by an island bar with two espresso machines punching out coffee. There will also be a BKON brewer Wang is bringing over from Coffee Anthology and he’s envisioning batch and pour-over options to help showcase the various roasts Maillard will be producing. Out back, a full kitchen will take over the favourites from Anthology’s classy breakfast menu, including its popular breakfast degustation (this Friday is the last day of breakfast at Coffee Anthology).
But The Maillard Project’s killer app will be an in-house roastery, training hub and third espresso machine on which baristas and coffee enthusiasts are encouraged to come in for cupping sessions, or try their hand at roasting.
“There is a shortage [of venues] where high-end baristas can go,” Wang explains. “With busy coffee shops like ours, people tend to be hurried with their experience.
“We felt there was a place in the market where a barista or coffee lover can come in on their day off and have a place to learn and talk about coffee.”
Wang says that it doesn’t matter where a barista works – it doesn’t matter if they’re not even a barista – as long as they have a certain level of understanding, they can come into The Maillard Project, practice and talk to Wang and other experts about coffee making, or attend a roasting session.
“Roasting will be fun,” Wang says. “Because what you put into a roast and what I put into a roast, it will be completely different. It’s about giving baristas an opportunity to get better. They get an opportunity to roast and show their skills. With that, I hope it’s really going to push the barista standard in Brisbane to another level, and that will benefit the local industry.”
The project is made possible, Wang says, by a local Brisbane coffee scene that is so open and collaborative.
“I really want to be able to contribute to the coffee community,” Wang says. “Everyone here is extremely friendly, we work together and it’s great. We’re tapping into that community spirit.”
The Maillard Project will open at 119 Charlotte Street on Monday July 27.