Before Callum Power opened Espresso Elements, his first café after a long background in hospitality, he tasted the coffee at every café in Hampton Street. He wanted to ensure his was distinctive. That was four years ago, and the coffee at “EE” is still unlike anything else on the street.
“There’s a difference between strength and bitterness,” Power says. “Our daily blend is a complex one that’s a combination of seven different beans created with a ‘milk-based to espresso’ market in mind. It’s strong, but it has almond biscotti overtones and is a ladies’ blend that also appeals to men.”
The folk in Hampton Street bear testament to that. The women order cappuccinos with extra froth and “skinny lattes”. Pairs of brusque men order “lattes” with ceremony, while loners sit over long blacks.
Two years ago, Power opened a second Espresso Elements, in suburban Belfast. He has lived in Ireland and wanted to create a café with a similar feel to his one in Hampton – and open the doorway to business in the UK. All coffee for the cafés is contract roasted in Moorabbin and the Belfast café receives a shipment every three months, via a six-week boat journey. A second café is planned in Belfast soon.
Carly Tomadin is one of 11 baristas here. “They all start with basic coffee knowledge, or none at all,” says Power. “And we teach them to do things our way.” Tomadin worked at a nearby pharmacy and came into the café for hot chocolates. She was a year-10 student and didn’t drink coffee. Power offered her a job and she worked her way into the barista team. Tomadin says she is a creative type who enjoys latte art and the precision of espresso making. She has deferred her university course this year and also works as a nanny, saving to head overseas next year. “Australians have a reputation for making good coffee in Europe,” she says. “I plan to pop into the Belfast store, too.”
Espresso Elements, 305 Hampton Street, Hampton
Phone \ 9597 0262
Barista \ Carly Tomadin
Coffee \ Espresso Elements
Barista’s choice \ Long black
Open \ Monday to Friday 7am-5pm; Saturday to Sunday 8am-5pm
Web \ www.espressoelements.com.au
This compact café just seems to get warmer, despite the wintry weather. Dark timber chairs have replaced cold metal ones, but it’s more than that. The space is getting fuller – more espresso machines, more coffee paraphernalia and equipment, more customers. Small round tables fill the centre of the room, window benches wrap around the space and twin espresso machines grace the front counter. Dispensers offer the Daily Blend No. 1, a weekly special and roasted beans for home consumption. And home espresso courses are offered via the café’s website. Staff offer advice on beans, blends and creating the perfect home brew to customers who use everything from home espresso machines to stove-top brewers and plungers.