Danielle Huntersmith is a barrister, a café owner, a mother of four, a legal mediator and a barista. Just another high-achieving superwoman. She promotes artists by displaying their work on her walls, trains and educates her team of baristas and invented the thoughtful name for her appealing, bohemian café.
Thread is named after the strand of conversation, its ability to tie things together and the initials of her family members – daughters Talia, Hannah, Rachel and Ruby, her husband Ed Lorkin, also a barrister, and her own name. The Lorkins live in Malvern and Danielle and Ed’s legal chambers are above the café, which they opened about 18 months ago.
“We find we are spending more and more time in the café. In our profession, it’s lovely dealing with people who are not in conflict,” she says. Initially, the café used coffee roasted in Sydney, but it wasn’t always fresh enough. So Huntersmith created her dream blend of beans – from PNG, Ethiopia and East Timor – and obsessively sought the right roaster.
Six months ago, she selected East Brunswick-based Padre Coffee. The café runs Huntersmith’s blend – delivered twice weekly, used in five to 10 days and stored in a wine fridge – and a daily single origin that’s treated with just as much devotion.
Ziv Shalev is studying mechanical engineering at RMIT. Shalev began working as a barista in Israel, aged 16. He arrived in Australia 14 months ago and joined Thread: “The only things I brought with me were a passion for coffee and the fundamentals.” He’s passionate about latte art and recently placed second in a competition at the Good Food and Wine Show. He also has a passion for single-origin coffees – a Kenyan Kii AA microlot in particular. “I didn’t know that single-origin coffees existed until I learnt about the world of specialty coffee here,” he says. Now he creates a silky, top-notch espresso using the Kenyan bean. “I find it unbelievably smooth and rich, with apricot flavours and a hint of dark chocolate.”
Thread Café, 1373 Malvern Road, Malvern
Phone \ 9822 8668
Barista \ Ziv Shalev
Coffee \ Padre Coffee
Barista’s choice \ Espresso
Open \ Monday to Friday 7.30am-4pm; Saturday, Sunday 8.30am-4pm
Scrabble tiles on the door spell “push” and espresso machine group handles are used to close it. Little touches create Thread Café’s homespun feel – from gaily coloured cups and saucers to collectibles and modern artworks. The colour red, in rope light-shades and images of people woven onto a board at the counter, ties it all together. A square communal table fills the front of the room, timber benches wrap around corner windows and padded step stools tuck beneath them both. Cosseting, merry staff move around the space, tidying newspapers and topping up glasses – much nicer than get-it-yourself water stations.