In July 2016, the team behind Sprolo and Little Matcha Girl made its first foray into the inner-city when they opened Blackbox Brewers in Subiaco. A year later the venue was reborn as The Toastery and shifted focus to gourmet toasted sandwiches. In late June, the venue changed name and approach again: enter Blacklist Coffee Roasters, a concept store with a focus on high-end single-origin coffee.
“Being a coffee roaster, we wanted to create a space that wasn’t ‘just a cafe’,” says co-owner Darren Woon.
Central to this experience is their filter-brew bar that features a rotating list of rare and high quality single-origin coffees served in wine glasses and accompanied by detailed tasting notes.
“I love a good flat white and I love espresso coffee,” says Woon. “But the very best way to taste a coffee for what it is is as a pour-over. That’s what this place revolves around.”
Woon is also passionate about using the venue as a vehicle for coffee education and has devised a “tasting menu” designed to help customers learn something new with every visit. For a $7 buy-in, customers can sample as many coffees as they like in the one sitting with customers able to choose coffees made in any brew style, including espresso and milk-based coffees.
“We want to create a space where it’s almost risk-free to try something,” says Woon. “People haven’t seen anything like this before. They’re puzzled at first, but once they settle into what we’re doing they’re blown away and they’re bringing new people back every time they come.”
This spirit of education and experimentation is also reflected in the retail space, where brewing equipment is sold alongside the house-roasted beans used in the brew bar. Beans are sold in one-kilogram and 250-gram bags, with rare and expensive batches offered in 100-gram canisters. Woon wants to allow budding coffee nerds to take the experience home with them. A small selection of sweet, coffee-friendly snacks are available, and batch brews and espresso-based coffees are available to takeaway.
Although Woon admits it’s a challenging time for retail, he’s hopeful the effort he and his team have put into creating something different will pay off.
“Subi is still a very tough spot, and foot traffic has never been sufficient to sustain a coffee business,” he says, “But we’re hoping that this concept will inspire people to get in their cars and travel a little further than they normally would to come and experience what we have to offer.”
Blacklist Coffee Roasters
439D Hay St, Subiaco
Mon to Fri 7am–1.30pm
Sat & Sun 8am–2pm