Ordering a coffee in a shipping container may just feel like another Melburnian cliché nowadays. With other places making you eat out of skips, gimmicky cafes, bars and restaurants can make you feel like you’re living in a Portlandia skit.

Red Star Roasters’ latest cafe and self-described “urban garden” could almost be one of these places, but there’s substance to this cafe in a 20-foot shipping container in Port Melbourne.

“You’d be surprised when the coffee you drink in Melbourne comes from a 2012 or a 2013 crop season,” says Chris McKiernan, co-founder of Red Star Roasters. “Our director of coffee, Marichi Clark, looks at the distinctive characteristics; how each bean is processed at each farm, whether it’s done ethically and sustainably, and most importantly, the freshness of the crop.”

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This passion for a good cup hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Clarke winning the inaugural Golden Bean Roaster Cup a fortnight ago. It celebrates those making sure a methodical process has brought the beans to your cup.

At present, Red Star sources coffee beans from 16 origins across South America, Africa and Indonesia. All the way through, the carbon emissions are completely offset.

“Imports form some of our largest footprints, so we measure the volumes of coffee that we’re purchasing from those countries, and the kilometres travelled to get that product here, and offset them through an accredited carbon offset company,” he says.

The cafe itself is happy to let you know about how it does this, and is currently composting, with a herb garden underway. In a few weeks’ time, a vertical garden will form the boundary of the cafe.

Red Star Roasters Espresso Bar

160 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

(03) 9681 8171


Mon to Sat 7am–3pm