Just when you thought bustling Cecil Street couldn’t possibly find the space to fit another venture, enter Kris Wood and his hole-in-the-wall cafe, Clement – a tribute to Pope Clement VIII’s role in popularising coffee throughout Europe in the late 1500s.

After decent stints at St ALi and Proud Mary, Wood’s goal is simple: to have more people drinking great coffee. A new Spirit espresso machine – imported from Holland and one of the first in Melbourne – shouldn’t harm the cause.

Baristas in black butcher-like aprons make strong claims for being Melbourne’s best dressed, and rightfully so, with Wood comparing their role to that of a sommelier.

Emphasis will be on “giving customers a choice and sharing specialty coffee on their level,” says Wood, who aims to “earn trust and then take them on a journey”. Part of this involves using a particular bean for weeks at a time, rather than daily rotations, so drinkers experience varying characteristics on different days.

Coffee is from Market Lane, Small Batch or Clement’s own beans – the latter being roasted off-site at a nearby St ALi warehouse. Filter methods are AeroPress and plunger, while a Pony Blend made for Pony Bikes in West Melbourne is available for stovetop. Labels hope to educate, listing farm names, countries of origin, varieties and flavours.

There’s also hot chocolate from local specialists Mörk and plans to serve craft beer and gin once the license comes through. Small treats will be sourced from Melbourne producers that can soon be enjoyed at street-side tables.

South Melbourne Market, Stall 89, 116 Cecil Street, South Melbourne

Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm