David Makin and Zoe Delany are getting married in October and, surprise, the couple who met at the Victorian Barista Championships in 2006, are heading to Costa Rica for a honeymoon (theyll probably buy a bit of coffee, too). Makin, runner-up in the World Barista Championships in 2008, and Delany an award-winning barista and roaster, opened Axil, their first café together, in mid-May.
Axil is a botanical term. Its the point on a plant from which new life springs. For the couple, who have worked for many coffee companies around Melbourne, Axil signifies a new beginning. Delany was a Genazzano girl, and Makin went to Carey Grammar, so Hawthorn, where theres not much specialty coffee competition, felt like the right place for their venture.
Theres a changing daily filter coffee, a stunning house espresso blend and a rotating list of single-origin beans, but Makin isnt just dedicated to excellent coffee. Hes putting his studies in catering and hotel management to good use and has chef Andy MacDonald (ex Lost, The Globe) in charge of the cafés fabulous breakfast and lunch menu.
Just back from the World Barista Championships, where he placed an amazing third, 21-year-old Matt Perger admits he stood over boss and talented roaster Delany as she prepared his beans for the competition in Colombia (Blackburn Estate Clouds of August microlot, from Tanzania).
Its hard to believe Perger, a Bowral boy, stands still at all. He worked in random cafés in Sydneys south during his secondary school years, heading to Source Espresso Bar in Mosman when he graduated in 2008.
Next on the hit list was a bit of travelling checking out roasters and baristas in Europe and Scandinavia. Back home again, he took out the 2010 NSW barista title and snuck in a quick trip to Melbourne. A month later, he was working at Market Lane Coffee in Prahran.
Now at Axil as a barista, roaster and trainer, Perger plans a year away from the competition scene but his eye is on the world titles again in 2013.
Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn
Phone 9819 0091
Barista Matt Perger
Coffee Axil Coffee
Baristas choice Filter coffee
Open Daily 7am-4pm
New cafés in Melbourne just keep raising the bar. Axil Coffee Roasters, in a building where once wigs and cloaks for the judiciary were made, is a cavernous, functional space that also manages to be artistic, quirky and original. The café, which does not take bookings, seats 75 and has a sizeable kitchen, a roasting room with a 1962 Probat UG 22 (a collector-era roaster, of which there are just a few in Melbourne), a cupping room and two three-group espresso machines. Theres a wall covered by 120 succulents. Inverted milk cans have become lightshades and up-scaled architects drawings of the café cover the rear wall.