Ama Lurra in the Basque language means Mother Nature; Maison Ama Lurra is the recently opened specialty coffee and teahouse in North Melbourne. Co-owner Philippe Million is based in Sydney but has chosen to set up shop in Melbourne with his two business partners because “Melbourne is the capital of specialty coffee, so if you want to start somewhere you need to start in Melbourne.”
Head barista Pim Muter makes coffees with two varying house blends and ever-changing single-origin beans that are bought directly, from the various sources in places including New Guinea and Vanuatu; there is espresso available; and instead of a siphon, clover or pour-over method, these guys use a Trifecta machine to extract flavour from coarsely ground single-origin beans. Muter describes it as “a precise way of making a filter coffee, where you can control the volume and temperature of the water to agitate the ground beans.” The finished product is very similar to other filter methods and extracts a complex drink that doesn’t need milk or sugar and looks more like tea with intense character on the palate.
The room at Maison Ama Lurra is cavernous and very white with greens and reds to soften the space, although it is not nearly as earthy as you may find other specialty coffee cafes around town. This is intentional: “we are European,” says Million, “and that influences our approach to everything.”
There’s a sharp little menu built around tartines, traditional French open sandwiches. They also offer a point of difference by providing private spaces for groups to have out-of-office meetings without noise from other customers.
Maison Ama Lurra has taken a brave step setting up shop in our finicky coffee market, but it’s a confident one.
Maison Ama Lurra
123 Howard Street, North Melbourne
(03) 9329 6622