Welcome back to another edition of Coffee Design, your hub for the intersection of coffee and design aesthetics, proudly published by Sprudge since 2016. As longtime readers of the series know, we’re always keen to discover something new, or show off a brand that’s got a modest-if-passionate cult following. Today we’re after something a bit different: a check in with Mecca, one of the truly seminal, iconic Australian coffee brands of the 21st century. Since launching in 2005, the Sydney brand have had a front row seat to the boom in Australian specialty coffee culture, one with roots in a mature cafe scene that dates back decades. Along the way they’ve seen Australian’s cultural export of specialty coffee culture grow into something like a global phenomenon, with Mecca as a touchpoint for quality and aesthetic.
Here in 2023 there’s some cool stuff happening, as the brand inches towards a major milestone anniversary (20 years in the trade will be here before they know it). Major doings at the Ace Hotel Sydney—Australia’s first edition of the benchmark global boutique hotel chain—and collaborations with many of the city’s top restaurants and bakeries are just the start. There’s also a unique design language iterated upon in collaboration with one of Australia’s leading design firms. Read on to learn more about modern Mecca, a roasting company that seems to be pulling off one of the hardest tricks on all of coffee: aging gracefully.
Thanks for speaking with us. To start things off, how is Mecca Coffee doing here in 2023?
We have been slowly coming back to life after the lockdowns. What we’ve seen is a huge uptake on home brewing, which became a necessity during this time. There have been quite a few new cafe openings this year which is a good sign of the economy rebounding back. We also started our partnership with the Ace Hotel which has been very well received.
Tell us about your branding! Who designed it? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Our branding has been done by the design agency Made Together. The idea of our pattern way is to visually communicate our 4 flavor categories: Rich and Comforting, Bright and Juicy, Light and Floral, and Wild and Funky. Each pattern represents a kind of synesthesia with flavor and is finished off with a primary and secondary color to communicate what we are tasting.
Tell us about your approach to coffee selection and roasting.
We are big fans of beautifully produced washed coffees, so our coffee selection has a preferable representation in this process. Our producer preferences lie in more of a natural farming style, biodiversity, shade, and varieties play a big influence.
What coffees are you excited about right now?
Wilfrido Martinez, from Oaxaca, Mexico and Kabiufa from Eastern Highlands in PNG. Both of these coffees happen to be Typica, which will give some insight into the types of varieties we are excited about.
Where is your coffee available? Who are you really excited about being partnered with right now for service?
Our coffees are typically found in coffee shops and bakeries around Sydney. We have been working with some of our favorite bars and restaurants such as Margaret, Alberto’s Lounge, Hubert, Pellegrino 2000, and Bistrot 916 to name a few. Also as previously mentioned the Ace Hotel where there is a dedicated coffee bar Good Chemistry as well as their restaurants Kiln and Loam. We also offer our coffees online and distribute Australia wide.
What’s next for Mecca Coffee?
As our online presence grows, we see a great opportunity in education and enthusiastic in seeing our customers improve their home brewing. You might also see another store pop up sometime in 2023.