Opening this week in a former loading dock attached to Johnston Street’s Great Dane furniture showroom, Melissa Floreani of Espresso Syndicate has teamed up with barista and roaster Tim Percy to spearhead the pop-up cafe set up in the space that previously hosted TheSuperCool. A purveyor of ethically-sourced, organic, fairtrade beans, Floreani – who usually works behind the scenes distributing coffee beans to some of our favourite cafes (Dr Jekyll, Marmalade, Brother Alec) – launches the new Clark St roast direct to the coffee drinkers of Fitzroy this week.
“We want to create a space where customers, who may have had our coffee from different cafes we distribute to, can talk to us directly and ask us about the beans, how we process them and how it all ends up in their cup,” Floreani says.
As director of Espresso Syndicate, Floreani has a preference of being hands-on in all stages of the process of selecting the best beans. From chatting with the coffee growers, to going to highly competitive coffee auctions, she makes sure what ends up in cafes and take-away cups is quality stuff.
Standing behind the cafe counter, roaster and barista-in-chief Tim Percy is every bit the coffee alchemist as he talks us through the various contraptions he has on hand. Dripping away to one side was the multi-tiered cold drip set up, which as Percy explains, still has some way to go before it is ready to drink. “The coffee is best ground coarsely for the cold drip, because ideally you want to let it drip for six to seven hours,” he says.
“And unlike espressos, where you want the most freshly roasted beans possible, we think letting the beans sit for several days before grinding and putting it through the cold drip lets the caramel tones come through better,” Floreani chirps in.
Meanwhile Percy carefully pours hot water from a Hario kettle into a Chemex, which looks something like a flask out of a science class, going onto explains how different methods of making and serving coffee brings out different notes and subtle tones of flavour. “It’s great being able to talk to the customers one-on-one, and get a conversation going about the different ways we make their coffees,” Percy says.
For the cafe’s first week, Percy will be introducing beans from Brazil and Rwanda, as well as a seasonal blend well suited to the good old latte. Also on hand are muffins from Dr Jekyll and glossy pastries, from North Fitzroy’s Loafer Bread (which Floreani admits to having taste-tested herself).
The Clark St Roasters pop-up cafe will be around for five weeks, with plans to set up shop in other venues soon. Different beans will go on rotation over the weeks and Percy will be holding brewing sessions daily, which will run between 10am and 10.30am. Places may be limited, so notify the Clark St team on their Twitter or Facebook page and you’re coming.
Clark St Roasters
Loading dock behind Great Dane Furniture
175 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm