2017 has just begun and I’m excited about the coffee scene in Melbourne, having sampled some great brews already. Just before Christmas I stopped in at a little corner cafe in South Melbourne called Aucuba to check out the space, and of course, taste the coffee. I had the pleasure of meeting Mark Knapp who not only owns the place, but also roasts the coffee. Having the person who buys the beans and roasts them is truly special – you get to experience the start, the middle and the end of the process.

Often the person behind the machine provides you with their interpretation of how they believe the coffee should be extracted, which can sometimes produce amazing results but can also end in disaster. No chance of that here, with Knapp ensuring all variables are considered and every cup is perfect.

It is this level of care and his desire to share a love of specialty coffee that brought Knapp, a qualified Grader (accredited coffee-cupper) to Bank Street to open his passion project in what was once an old bank, and printing press.

Previously co-owner of highly regarded cafe Balderdash in Port Melbourne, Knapp wanted to create a space that was peaceful and relaxed, away from other cafes, to make this a destination venue. You can choose to sit outside or inside near the coffee machine, which is a stunning white and navy La Marzocco Strada kitted out by Specht Design; or sit in the back room near the roaster and the kitchen. Nothing is hidden away here; it’s all about the shared experience.

Up until now, there has been no blend. the house coffee was previously a single origin from Brazil called Bom Jesus, which was perfect for milk-based coffees but not bright enough for Knapp’s taste. Enter the Age of Enlightenment–an equal blend of the Bom Jesus with a crisp, clean and balanced Colombian from Popayan Estate, which now covers those who drink black or white. There are always Single Estate coffees available and a multitude of batch brew, filter and cold drip options ready to go for those on a mission for caffeine.

Legend says Aucuba was a weary wise man who crossed paths with the goat herder Kaldi on his way to a monastery in Ethiopia. Kaldi and his goats had recently consumed some red cherries and were acting very strangely. Aucuba took some of the berries to the monastery and boiled them up for the monks who then stayed awake all night to pray, and the story of coffee as we know it began.

A new year also signifies new beginnings and Aucuba has a brand new blend ready to enjoy, so it’s time for you to start your own journey to coffee nirvana in South Melbourne and become well and truly enlightened.

Available to drink or buy direct, sip yourself into a blissful state at Aucuba Coffee Roasters: 108 Bank St South Melbourne.


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