Espresso Alley, a stone’s throw away from the Northcote Library, opened in December last year. So why haven’t you heard of it until now?

“We didn’t do a big opening. We didn’t want the fanfare,” explains owner Vince Mazzone, ex-owner and operator of Tre Bicchieri in Carlton.

The truth is, the place is not quite finished. Which is not to say that you can’t stroll in this afternoon and enjoy an excellent Coffee Supreme brew from the covetable Slayer espresso machine. But if you wait a couple of weeks, there will be a few more options for your caffeine fix.

Mazzone is a long-time supporter of Coffee Supreme. “When I first started using them 10 years ago, I was one of about four customers,” he says. “They’d come in and chat for hours, because they had nowhere else to be. Now I have to make an appointment with them!”

The Coffee Supreme boys have had a hand in expanding the offering at Espresso Alley to include a coffee lab of sorts. If filters and pour-overs are your thing, then you’ll soon be in the right place.

There are also plans to expand the food offering to include more house-baked goods. As it is, the menu has plenty of excellent options with a Middle Eastern bent. There’s a Turkish breakfast of boiled egg, cucumber, tomato, olives, feta and the optional ‘sucuk’ (Turkish sausage). Or for the sweet tooth, raisin loaf with labne and rose jam. There is also a good range of paninis and toasted sandwiches leaning towards the Mediterranean – the one with sopressa salami, provolone and olive tapenade is salty in all the right places.

Mazzone makes a weekly trip across the Yarra to buy his fruit and vegetables from Pino’s Fine Produce at the Prahran Market. He likes that the multi-generational family business has been operating for over 50 years, and also believes they sell the best fresh produce in Melbourne.

Espresso Alley’s fit-out doesn’t do much to hint at its former incarnation as a glove factory, but it’s as though this café has been here for years. Exposed original brickwork works nicely alongside tables made from recycled timber from the Northcote bowling alley, 1950s Sebel chairs and steelwork by local handyman Steve Edwards.

Grab a good book from the library, lock your bike up on the one of the racks out the front, and settle in for caffeine combat.

Espresso Alley
5 Separation Street, Northcote

Mon-Fri 7.30am–4.30pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4.30pm