You’ll find the latest venture by the founders of artisanal bakery Rustica on the ground floor of Collins Arch. Drew Gibbs and Brenton Lang opened First Love Coffee in early March. There, they’re pouring locally roasted blends you can pair with flaky Rustica pastries and grab-and-go salads and sangas.
Floor-to-ceiling windows allow you to take in the busy CBD streets – if you can draw your gaze from the cafe’s interior, that is. It was designed by architect Fiona Drago, and the floors, walls and fixtures are a combination of green inspired by raw coffee beans, and pops of copper, terracotta and soft pinks. The walls are lined with peach-terracotta terrazzo, and the glorious cream-coloured coffee machine sits atop striking green marble.
“We worked with Fiona Drago to create the feeling that the [adjacent] inner-city park went from the street into our shop,” Gibbs says. “That’s why we have the greens throughout and the peaches and the pinks, to symbolise a tree and a continuation of the park.”
While Rustica is best known for its sourdoughs and pastries, this newbie makes locally roasted coffee the star. All white coffees are made with Polaroid Espresso, a Brazilian, Colombian and Ethiopian specialty blend that has notes of strawberry and maple syrup and a light floral finish. You can also choose from a variety of single-origin roasts. All the beans for First Love blends are sourced green and roasted at Port Melbourne’s Criteria Coffee.
First Love is a standing-only cafe designed for on-the-go workers who want quick but quality coffee and food. In the morning there’s egg-and-bacon rolls, and sourdough with sautéed mixed mushrooms, goat’s curd, spinach and truffle oil. At lunch, expect smoked chicken sandwiches with avo, cheese and mixed greens. It can also be made vegan, and there are a number of vegetarian sangas on offer too.
You can grab a bag of beans to take home, and right now each one comes with a free cup of coffee.
First Love Coffee
447 Collins Street, Melbourne
0481 199 349
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm