One of the most exciting entrants into Perth’s blossoming coffee scene is Addison & Steele Specialty Coffee. The name honors two 18th century Oxford scholars who brought together like-minded intellectuals in London’s first coffee shops to debate the revolutionary ideas of the Enlightenment. This influential movement argued that science and reason, not tradition, was the way forward for society. Addison & Steele takes inspiration from these thinkers as they seek to challenge tradition and help push Perth’s coffee scene into the future.
Inside, bowler hat lamp shades and ornate glassware hang from an open ceiling. They’ve built a large, approachable coffee bar, featuring an involved filter coffee setup (still something of a rarity in Australia), with various coffee gadgets brewing and bubbling away. Owners Michael Munroe and his family opened Addison & Steele following several years running a fast-paced espresso bar in Perth’s central business district. “After that experience,” says Munroe, “we wanted to open something where we could take the time to sit down with customers and tell them about what we’re doing.”
Addison & Steele has developed a strong relationship with Melbourne’s Small Batch Roasting Company, which supplies a number of clean, sweet, fruity and more lightly roasted coffees from Latin America and eastern Africa. A customer favourite has been the single origin espresso from the Hunkute Co-op, which exhibits floral notes characteristic of the Sidamo region in Ethiopia.
Addison & Steele has a clear mission: to educate people about coffee, and to help them enjoy the experience. “People are happy with what they’re used to,” explains Munroe. “But in order to move forward we have to push people’s expectations and what they’re used to. It’s all about education.” Munroe and his team try to deliberately tailor their style of service to guide their customers through their coffee menu and the different styles of brewing. They want the theatre of coffee to be central to Addison and Steele’s ethos.
“It’s all about how and why the coffee tastes that way,” says Munroe. “We want people to see what baristas are doing so they can learn more about coffee.” Customers can sit and watch pour over, AeroPress and syphon-brewed coffee being carefully prepared on the filter bar. Meanwhile baristas pull espresso on an electric-blue Slayer machine.
So what’s next for an establishment looking forward? Addison & Steele have bought a small 1kg Geisen roaster, which sits elegantly to the side of the shop. They plan to roast small quantities of high-quality coffees for both espresso and filter, and to showcase the roasting process to their customers. Already Munroe and his team offer weekly public cuppings and brew classes for coffee enthusiasts.
“It’s a ritual-based beverage, so to throw something different at people is a huge thing to do,” admits Munroe, but he’s confident his customers leave happy and with a better understanding of coffee. From attitude to equipment to aesthetic, Addison & Steele in Perth is a thoroughly modern vision, out to preach the enlightened coffee gospel.
Tom Antoniazzi is the founder of Perth Coffee Project. This is his first piece for Sprudge.com
All photos by HMA Photos for Sprudge.com