In this edition:
- Festive Glamour: When the festive season throws you an occasion, you need to glam it up.
- Andrew McUtchen looks for fun in cricket with former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming.
- Take a look at our Christmas Gift Guide.
A destination café draws a diverse crowd: all ages, varied dress codes and pied senses of purpose. Some linger, some clock-watch, some check out the daily single-origin coffee.
Many know the story behind St Ali how it was established by industry leader Mark Dundon in 2005 and sold to passionate, energetic businessman Salvatore Malatesta a few years later. Others dont care. They know its reputation for excellent coffee and they are here to worship.
In the three years hes owned St Ali, Malatesta has taken it to another level. Hes added a roasting lab, offices and a weekend takeaway outlet to cope with the crowds. In 2009, he added Sensory Lab in David Jones to the empire and is roasting coffee under both brands. But Malatesta hasnt just rested on the reputation of St Ali and Sensory Lab in Australia, hes taken it to the UK too, opening St Ali UK in St Johns Square in London in May and, in two weeks, a Sensory Lab roastery in Londons West End. Next is a Sensory Lab-style shop called Plantation, to open in Melbourne Central soon.
Joe Tynan has a holistic view of the coffee chain from plant to bean, roast, barista and cup. Ambitious Tynan, who lists high-profile Melbourne employers such as Jasper Coffee, Veneziano Coffee and Proud Mary café on his resume, plans to understand every link. Hes worked as a barista, roaster and trainer and, since joining St Ali in February, combines all three roles. Meanwhile, hes studying for his bachelor of applied science at RMIT and pursuing the bioscience stream, which covers plant structure and genetics with a longer-term eye on green-bean buying. Tynan has dabbled in the barista competition scene, taking fifth place in his first attempt at the national titles in 2009, and hopes to compete again next year. Hes on the espresso machine only a couple of hours a day at St Ali, but says training others allows him to give back to the industry.St Ali
12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
Phone 9686 2990
Barista Joe Tynan
Coffee St Ali
Baristas choice Pour-over
Open Monday-Tuesday 7am-5pm; Wednesday-Saturday 7am-11pm; Sunday 8am-5pm
The grunge café look is nothing new, its just that at St Ali, its delivered with more attitude. Bare concrete floors, recycled furniture and naked globes hanging from exposed beams ensure any glory is for the food and coffee. A team of baristas glides between the four-group Slayer espresso machine and a three-group La Marzocco Linea. Calls of coffees up regulate the pleasant floor staff. At the counter, glorious cakes vie for attention with brewing equipment and a menu of coffee beans for sale.