Paul Minehan is another trained bean counter who was lured from figures by the coffee bean. It’s a common theme. He jokes that he hasn’t told his mum yet.
“She thinks I’m working at PriceWaterhouse,” he says. “But I figure accountancy is something I can always fall back on.”
Minehan worked in hospitality while he studied and has spent the past four years in partnership with a “seasoned operator” running a roastery and café in South Melbourne.
When the time came to set up his own café, the Beaumaris-born-and-bred boy, who seems a bit of a history buff, named his café after a little-known bay beween Table Rock and Ricketts Point.
“The bay was named after an old fisherman who lived in the area in the 1850s,” Minehan says.
The site for his five-week-old operation had been a café, but with the help of his brother and some friends, Minehan changed its layout and design for the simple, semi-industrial theme. A friend loaned him the reconditioned 1930s manual-lever Elektra espresso machine on display and the camera collection belonged to his grandfather.
Minehan is roasting the café’s beans in Bayswater. It’s a small-batch operation using preimium single-origin and single-estate beans. The café offers two house blends and about a dozen single-origin beans for sale.
She thought she wanted a career change, so Madeleine Richards packed up her coffee tamp to become a personal trainer. Twelve months later though, she found that she missed working with the bean and the espresso machine.
The timing of the opening of Watkins Bay Coffee worked out well. Richards,
who grew up in the Beaumaris area, spent four years gaining coffee-making skills at Cheltenham-based roaster and café San Peaberry’s.
“I was a bit nervous about going back to making coffee but everyone says I’m still good at it,” she says.
Now Richards works the early shift at the Wega Nova two-group espresso machine and spends the afternoon training her clients in the gym.
A short macchiato, made with the café’s AM blend of predominantly Ethiopian Sidamo beans, will be served in a sweet silver-handled cup. It’s a syrupy extraction of rich malt and dark chocolate, topped with a well-melded creamy dollop of milk. Flat whites are creamy affairs with a nutty mid-palate and a subtle kick.
Watkins Bay Coffee
Shop 2, 326 Balcombe
Phone \ 9589 1623
Barista \ Madeleine Richards
Coffee \ Watkins Bay
Barista’s choice \ Caffe latte
Open \ Monday to Friday 6am-4.30pm; weekends 7am-4.30pm
Hessian coffee sacks are put to myriad uses at this shopfront on Church Street, near the corner of Balcombe Road. They drape over yellow milk crates, trim the cake counter and line shelves. Historic photographs and a collection of old cameras are great talking points, as is the fake turf around the barista’s station. Timber tables and chairs inside and metal ones on the pavement fill the limited space. Red-based retro fabric cushions and matching stools around big timber slabs add cheer, while shelves hold bags of white-packed roasted coffee beans and a colourful assortment of leaf and bean paraphernalia.