Crowds wandering the Yarra at Southbank over the next two weeks will be surprised by something other than Crown’s erupting fireballs. The red steps of Queensbridge Square have been transformed into a lush, jungle coffee plantation for 17 days as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF).

The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar, dreamt up by multi-disciplinary design practice HASSELL, has been unveiled as a small forest of coffee trees nestled on the steps in a unique temporary structure, crafted from disused shipping containers, timber pallets and packing crates, all sourced from the coffee trade.

A who’s who of Melbourne’s baristas and bartenders take turns hosting the venue on a daily rotation, and there are masterclasses on offer too, so you can get involved in cupping or find out more about the roasting process.

Working the dayshift are coffee heavyweights such as St ALi, Monk Bodhi Dharma and Proud Mary, while the likes of Black Pearl, Cumulus Inc. and The Woods of Windsor take over the evenings with a fully-stocked bar for those less keen on caffeine.

CEO of MFWF, Natalie O’Brien, says she hopes Melburnians will enjoy seeing coffee plants close up (especially in an urban space usually dominated by concrete) and listening to the experts while they imbibe. “We’re really discerning here, talking about where we get out coffee from, and we get to show them the layers behind that.”

The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar is at Queensbridge Square March 1–17. For more information on daily showcases and upcoming events, visit the website here.

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