It’s going to be a busy year for Paul Mathis, founder of Blue Train Cafe and Automatic in Southbank, as well as Taxi, Transport, 100 Mile Cafe and SOS. The Melbourne restaurateur has six establishments opening their doors in the first half of 2012. “I didn’t plan it that way,” he says. “But it’s how it’s going to happen.”

Coffeehead opened just before Christmas in Camberwell with only coffee available to begin with. “I initially bought the warehouse to use half for storage and the other half for my office and for roasting beans,” explains Mathis, who kept the roaster that used to sit in the front window of Blue Train. “But I saw an opportunity for another dream to happen in this warehouse space and that is of a coffee retail store.”

Mathis’s plan is to create a coffee store that sells fresh local boutique coffees to buy in small quantities with seven different blends to choose from. “The only one that will be available all the time is our blend, called Coffee 1961 [a strobogrammatic number which means it appears the same, whether viewed normally or upside down]. We called it that because stobogrammatic numbers are all about balance and so is this coffee.”

Coffeehead is a work in progress and its evolution now sees chef David Airoldi in the kitchen. Airoldi was sous chef of Dukes Coffee Roasters in Prahran and has created a menu with “a Spanish and Mexican slant,” says Mathis, as well as the gradual introduction of different coffee equipment such as coffee making accessories, cups and saucers, other crockery and coffee gadgets.

“It’s going to be a one-stop shop for good coffee,” he says. "People shouldn't have to drive all over Melbourne to collect different types of coffees to sample when you can go to just one place instead.

“It will take some time. Over the next four months a lot will happen and we hope to move into online retailing eventually too.”

Who would have thought Camberwell would become such a coffee hub?

8–10 Railway Parade, Camberwell
(03) 9831 1400

Mon to Fri 7am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am-4pm