Despite their humble beginnings in a Woolloomooloo garage some 15 years ago, Toby’s Estate are no strangers to Melbourne. After closing their tiny Exhibition Street espresso bar in December 2011, the group has unveiled a new flagship store, occupying the foyer of the heritage Custom House building on Flinders Lane.
Boasting an espresso bench and standalone brew bar, the cafe is the only place you’ll taste Toby’s new three-process single origin coffee, which was harvested at their Finca Santa Teresa plantation in Panama and launched at the Melbourne International Coffee Exhibition earlier this year.
“We want to showcase all the coffee that Toby’s Estate has to offer, from our single origins to signature blends and encourage people to try new things,” says Paul Schliewe, manager and head barista, who honed his skills in Sydney’s Chippendale store.
“We have 15 single origins available at one time in the store and there’s no charge for trying anything new,” says Schliewe.
You’ll also find the staple Brunswick blend prepared on the Kees van der Westen Spirit Triplette machine that sits centre stage in the store. The space also hosts a retail corner, selling everything from filters and machines to books and tampers.
You may catch a glimpse of chef Allen Buist (formerly of Helvetica and Birdie Num Nums) through the open kitchen, preparing brunch staples that salute local produce. Along with Victorian lamb shoulder served with pearl barley and preserved lemon, the cafe offers a range of coffee-infused food, from espresso-lacquered bacon to Woolloomooloo brownies, éclairs and mud cake.
Unlike many of the dark confines that punctuate Flinders Lane, the cafe is bright with natural light and neutral tones. High ceilings, glass walls and light timber floors lend a showroom feel to the store.
The cafe also serves as the home of the Toby’s Estate Melbourne Espresso School and holds regular cupping classes for customers to familiarise themselves with Toby’s Estate and coffee from around the globe.
325 Flinders Lane
(03) 9939 4578
Mon to Fri 7am–5pm