Stepping into the courtyard of Allpress Espresso Roastery and Cafe in Collingwood is akin to entering some kind of industrial version of The Secret Garden, but with a serious caffeine twist. The walled area plays host to the roasting company run by Michael Allpress that has gradually grown from humble origins - a coffee cart pushed around the streets of Auckland - into a worldwide venture that includes footholds in Sydney, London, and now Melbourne.
The enormous hot air roaster adjacent to the cafe is the jewel in the crown here, and was specifically designed by Allpress alongside engineer Mike Scobie. The convective heat that it produces results in a far more even roast when compared to the conductive heat of drum roasting, and was inspired by a trip to America on which he came across a family business roasting coffee in a room that “looked like a laundromat”.
The cafe itself is equally carefully appointed - minimalist without appearing overly sparse. The menu, designed by longtime business partner and childhood friend Tony Papas (the man behind Sydney institution The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay), emphasises local produce and sharing options. Breakfast plates, bedecked in hearty ingredients like provolone, ripe tomatoes and San Danielle prosciutto, are a wholly satisfying way to begin a day; while a selection of sandwiches, affettati misti (sliced cold meats), and simple lunch dishes - quinoa cakes, fresh salads, nourishing soups - continue the theme into the afternoon. Printing new menus everyday ensures that the food on offer is consistently fresh, flavourful and appropriate to the season.
There is also a naturally lit, open plan space above the roastery that has been branded Allpress Studio, and is available for neighbourhood arts, exhibitions and events.
Allpress Roastery and Cafe
80 Rupert Street, Collingwood
(03) 8405 5755
Mon to Fri 7am-4pm
Sat & Sun 8am-3pm