Ben Whitaker moved to Melbourne from New Zealand where he had a successful family-run cafe under the tutelage of the Coffee Supreme roasting house. He opened The Final Step, which fills a tiny retail space off Toorak Road and definitely stands out with its uncharacteristic laid back folksy vibe.
The tiny indoor space is dominated by its central communal table as well as the eye-catching vintage piano (which doubles as a bench for customers). Ben serves Seven Seeds coffee in a couple of interesting options, including the ‘Confused Peruvian’, a pre-infused coffee with a higher dose that comes out full of crema and almost soupy in texture.
The Final Step also does pastries, prepared by Ben’s pastry-chef sister, and various bagels, but has a BYO lunch policy for patrons who want something heartier. What people come back for though, is Ben’s friendly approach and his way of making every customer feel like a regular, a point of difference that makes this little café an alluring choice in the wasteland of impersonal service and mass-produced coffee that Toorak Road can sometimes be.