Summer is a lovely time to be in the city of Melbourne, with lazy afternoons in the park, trips to the beach, and general Australian sun-drenched good times. One downside to summer in Melbourne, however, is that a large amount of cafes close their doors for weeks to months at a time for (well-deserved) breaks.
One establishment that did just that this past summer was Assembly, the delightful high-design filter coffee and tea emporium and winner of a 2013 Sprudgie award for best packaging, located at 60 Pelham St in Melbourne's thriving Carlton neighborhood. Assembly, however, used the time with their doors shut to undertake a pretty exciting new venture next door at 62 Pelham St – and on February 19th, Assembly introduced their new espresso-serving counterpart to the world.
Sprudge.com are big fans of what we found on our first visit the 60 Pelham St store last year, and what the team at Assembly have put in next door is just as impressive.
As is to be expected, no. 62 is a visual stunner, with owners Christina Trabucco and Ollie Mackay enlisting the services of interior designer by NATSUI as they did for the original at no. 60. The new espresso counterpart has aesthetic similarities to their filter and tea store, but is at the same time feels refreshingly different. Light wood benches intersect with pastel pink and navy grey walls, and there are lovely details like subtle tiling next to the espresso machine, stainless steel countertops, a hand-painted floor, and beautiful joinery on the benches.
Going beyond the aesthetic aspects, the coffee offering is predictably solid. Using only the prolific Mahlkönig EK43 grinder, espressos are pulled through a La Marzocco Linea, and served up in all the usual forms, with full cream, skim, and soy options, as well as two hot chocolate offerings.
Trabucco and Mackay have set a policy of choosing to use only single estate espressos (no blends allowed!), so as to focus on individual coffees’ flavours and origins, as they’ve been doing with their filter offerings next door since last May. Current roasters include Melbourne's Small Batch and Sydney's Reuben Hills, two of Australia's very best.
With this expansion, Assembly has created a whole new market for themselves – filter coffee and tea enthusiasts and their espresso-loving friends can finally enjoy a harmonious experience, where everybody’s cravings are catered for.
The spaces Assembly have managed to create are not just engaging visually. They're also full of potential. In such a warm and friendly environment for coffee consumption of all types, there’s always room to convert a few folks to the ways of delicious filter coffee and single estate teas. I'm all for it.
For more on the Carlton dance, please see here.
Eileen P. Kenny (@EileenPK) is a Sprudge.com staff writer in Melbourne, and the author of Birds Of Unusual Vitality, speciality coffee’s premiere interview publication. Read more Eileen P. Kenny here.