There’s a collection of small black-and-white prints on the wall of Blackbox Brewers, one featuring a quote from David Letterman: “If it wasn’t for the coffee, I’d have no identifiable personality whatsoever”. While this new cafe from the team behind Sprolo, Little Matcha Girl and Blacklist Coffee Roasters takes a distinctly minimalist approach, it’s by no means devoid of personality.
The birth of Blackbox Brewers brought a new set of challenges to the ownership team of Stefanie Wee, Gabriel Tan, Rie Moustakas and Darren Woon. Not content with the success of Sprolo and Little Matcha Girl, they decided it was time to take on the takeaway and transformed the shell of a Subiaco gift shop – chosen for its perfect takeaway window – in just two weeks.
“Little Matcha Girl and Sprolo have a more dine-in crowd, and we’ve never really tried an office or CBD area,” says Wee. “In this spot we’re trying to catch a lot of passersby. It’s very different for us. We want to give ourselves the added challenge of marketing to the locals. It’s difficult to break people’s habits.”
Milk coffees feature Blacklist’s award-winning Forte blend – it’s “punchier” than the Etude blend served at Sprolo and Little Matcha Girl, says Wee. Single origins and batch brews are also available, with filter and other techniques to be introduced later.
The commitment to a high-level coffee experience extends to matcha and other teas. The matcha powder is shipped directly from a Kyoto farm, offering a guarantee of freshness not available from a wholesaler. The tea selection, from London-based merchants Joe’s Tea Co and Tea Studio, is intentionally traditional for those who prefer a cup of English Breakfast or Earl Grey. Coffee beans, matcha and loose-leaf teas are available for purchase.
In keeping with the takeaway theme, the cafe’s food offerings – salads, sandwiches and cakes from Little Matcha Girl – are intended to be eaten on the run or back at your desk.