Graphic designer Jason Belcourt set up his welcoming, bohemian café in Port Melbourne just over 16 months ago. He was looking for an area “with a certain personality”. “So I sat myself down in lots of different places and decided I liked the village feel of this area best,” he says. “It’s more than a destination area – especially in winter – it’s a locals’ area, really.”
The café’s name came from a line in Incubus song 11am, but it’s also the daily opening time and fits in with Belcourt’s “early-bird thinking”. There’s a ripper all-day breakfast menu (try the Bircher muesli) and a smart new lunch list featuring choices such as a prawn and mango salad, a wagyu beef burger and a club sandwich. There’s an impressive tea offering too, with a choice of 16 leaf, herb and fruit styles by SerendipiTea. But Belcourt says coffee is the mainstay. The Miss Katy, a 60/40 blend of Brazilian Irarema and Colombian Cup of Excellence, used in my short macchiato was viscous and sweet, with buttery caramel notes and an excellent, creamy stain of milk. “We think it’s a lovely, delicate, smooth and ‘friendly’ blend that, whilst we use it for our black drinks, makes a really beautiful milk-based drink too,” says Belcourt.
Travis Franks (pictured) was on a date at Seven:am when he spotted the ad for a barista. The former disability support worker got the job, plus he’s still friends with the date. Franks was born in Tasmania, but he’s lived in Thailand, China and the UK. He trained as a barista in Brisbane, then worked at Aussie-owned Taylor Street Baristas in Richmond, London, in mid-2000. When he arrived in Melbourne, he worked at a few well-known inner-urban cafes before going on that date. Franks describes himself, and the other relaxed, breezy staff at the café, as artistic types, who have a range of interests. He’s a writer in his spare time and enjoys the creative side of coffee making, dabbling with rosettas and tulips in his milk-based brews.
Seven:am, 155 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Phone \ 9078 5776
Barista \ Travis Franks
Coffee \ Coffee Supreme
Barista’s choice \ Long macchiato
Open \ Monday to Saturday 7am-3pm; Sunday 8am-3pm
A parade of travel photographs hangs on an exposed brick wall beside a graceful walnut-brown piano, lending the space at this café near the bay the feel of a familiar lounge room. A stripped-back timber door topped with a sheet of glass acts as a communal table, with worn, curved timber stools tucked beneath and four mesh-orb light fittings dangling above. Low-slung dark vinyl chairs sit under a panel of event posters, and there’s a chocolate-brown window seat brightened with fresh orange cushions. The exposed rear section of the ceiling supports colourful bikes suspended beside the hard-working espresso machine. It pumps out two choices of Coffee Supreme beans: Miss Katy for black coffees; and Boxer, a dark-roasted, Brazil-based blend, for milk brews.