Behind the Subi Coffee Series
One of the essential food groups in our opinion, the vital brew of the day has been made that little bit more exciting thanks to the Subi Coffee Series
. Part of #RoamSubiaco, the Subi Coffee Series will help you discover more amazing spots throughout Subi’s town centre. To celebrate the upcoming series, we’ve asked some of our favourite cafes about new trends in coffee at the moment, and how they’ve navigated the last few rollercoaster months.
206 Nicholson Road, Subiaco
If you’ve ever wanted to channel your inner barista but lacked the frothing skills, head to The Little Pantry on August 13 (3pm to 5pm). As part of the Subi Coffee Series, you can take a free barista course without quitting your day job. You’ll learn how to froth the milk, get the grind (using their very own Little Pantry blend) just right and pour it perfectly (complete with motif of your choice) into your very own cup for barista-made coffee at home.
For Rosalina from The Little Pantry, this is a natural extension of the café’s friendly, sharing ethos.
“I always believe that people coming to the Pantry can expect a sense of care, a sense of family and community. It’s like a second home.”
The chance to learn from the expert café’s coffee-makers is a chance for customers to hone their skills from the best.
“At our masterclass people will be able to ask directly to our coffee supplier as well as us all the little questions they may have about how to make coffee, fix the grinder and make a nice creamy froth,” she says.
Rosalina thinks that customers have become more interested in learning about coffee and as restrictions ease, they’re just happy to enjoy a cup of coffee with friends.
“We recently started to make a cold brew with single origins,” she says. “We’ve add a charcoal latte to our menu (with turmeric and matcha), and milk-wise, we’ve added oat milk.”
Rosalina moved to Perth from Italy four years ago, and started out as a barista at The Little Pantry during a working holiday.
“It became a home away from home for me, and the girls I’ve worked with have helped me with my English and were very welcoming,” she says. “Now I run The Little Pantry like it’s my own business; I care for this place, the staff and for all the regulars a lot.”
Making coffee for Rosalina and her team isn’t just a mechanical process – it’s a process of love.
“We try to transfer that love in all that we do,” she says.
Shop 3/1, Rokeby Road, Subiaco
Just a cursory skim through this café’s Insta feed is enough to send foodies and coffee-lovers Subi-bound – and in August, there’s even more of a reason. From August 10 to 14 before 11am for $45, there’s a ‘Breakfast for Two’ promotion running, which includes two brekkies from their all-day breakfast menu and two large coffees. Run by three friends – James (the chef), Li (the long-time hospo professional) and Michael - since late 2019, the onset of COVID-19 definitely made things challenging for the new business to find a footing.
“We developed a lot of online customers and won some new local customers too,” says co-owner Michael. “I’m going to be honest though - Covid-19 hit us hard in terms of sales and marketing but it also gave us time to rethink our menu and the way to run a successful café.”
Thanks to that colourful Insta feed and a determination to make the café a success, despite the global pandemic, Subi locals slowly but surely started to make 1982 their regular go-to café over the past few months.
“Our goal is to be the best local café in the heart of Subiaco in the near future,” says Michael
The seasonal menu is simple, relying on sustainable, often organic, local ingredients yet yields stunning dishes and imaginative spins on old favourites. Try the beef benedict and you’ll see we’re not wrong – the pile of tender-as-anything beef brisket draped in sunlight yellow hollandaise is a standout in a creative menu full of stars.
The team have realised that in a competitive landscape, it’s a good idea to continually reinvent and develop their offering for an ever-demanding customer base.
“We focus on creating a new menu or adding new dishes every four to six months, so customers can have different experiences and a reason to return,” says Michael. “One of our owners is a chef and he’s keen to explore different menu items for us all to enjoy.”
We love the quirky interior (check out the art deco-inspired stained glass windows) and the range of speciality coffee and teas including the hottest shot in town at the moment: Dalgona coffee. This delightful whipped coffee from Korea is as pretty as a picture – and tastes just as good if you like your beverage super creamy, sweet and comforting.
“We started introducing Dalgona coffee during the Covid-10 lockdown period,” says Michael. “It’s not on our standard menu and we didn’t advertise it heavily but a lot of our customers now come to 1982 just because of this particular coffee.”
There’s also velvety Belgian hot chocolate and colourful machas – try the houjicha (roasted Japanese green tea macha) for a new take on this popular pretender to the coffee crown.
“A lot of Perth foodies order from our latte series – it tastes good and looks good too, and they order them just to take beautiful photos,” says Michael. “Personally, I recommend the matcha and taro flavours.”
Every day brings new challenges, says Michael, but they’ve managed to keep motivated and focused every day.
“We’re thankful and we will continue to be a humble learner,” he says.
439 D Hay Street, Subiaco
The Blacklist concept store curates rare and high-end single origin beans for coffee lovers. We do things a little differently, says the team at Blacklist.
“We are bringing in some of the top-tier coffees from around the world and just like any other high-quality products, they are not cheap,” says Blacklist owner, Darren Woon. “We try to have a range of different style of coffees at any given time and these would differ in origin and processing method. Some of the single origins we bring in are also very experimental so it’s always interesting to see what the customers think of them.”
Like most things in life, coffee tastes vary from person to person, but that’s part of the appeal of offering such unusual varieties, he says.
“We are not expecting everyone to like all the coffees we have; taste is subjective and everyone has their own preference in what kind of coffee they like just like how each person might have a preference of what milk they drink their coffee with, how many sugars they put in if any, how strong or weak they want it, etc. But we aim to have something for everyone when they visit our stores or our web shop.”
When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Darren and the team at Blacklist saw an interesting impact on the way people drank coffee, which left them well-placed to cater for a new customer base keen to replicate coffee brewing at home.
“When the lockdowns took place, more people were interested in brewing coffee at home and having a crack at recreating what they usually get at local cafes,” says Darren.
“Lots of people were buying coffee beans and brewing equipment for home. When they started to understand what it takes to make a good cup of coffee, they seemed to develop a greater appreciation for what we do behind to scenes to deliver a rapidly rotating list of quality coffees.”
An unusual side effect of the pandemic was a more daring attitude to trying new things, says Darren.
“As lockdown continued, we did notice some customers getting a little more adventurous and buying coffees they usually wouldn’t. For example, regular customers who always bought the same blend started trying out single origins. And those that were already into the single origins were trying out the higher end coffees or the coffees which had undergone experimental processing.”
Blacklist’s loyal customers are already privy to what makes the business special – and Darren believes it comes down to something relatively simple – they’re committed to being customer-centric.
“Offering a range of different roast style allows us to match a coffee to almost anyone’s taste,” he says. “At the end of the day, it isn’t about what we like to drink - it’s about how we can roast and brew coffee to best satisfy the customer’s taste. Saying that, because we offer a range of different style of coffees, we also encourage customers to try something different to their daily flat white and open up their minds to what else coffee can be. This is one of the reasons that we came up with a ‘coffee tasting’ at our concept store where you can try a range of coffees for an affordable price of $9.”
As restrictions ease and something approaching normality cautiously returns, Darren and the team continue to embrace the challenge to introduce their customers – old and new - to interesting flavours and blends.
“The best part about being part of this concept store is engaging with the customers, novice coffee drinkers especially,” he says.
“It’s always a good feeling when a customer walks away with something they’ve learnt through us. It makes their visit memorable and being able to create a memorable experience for your customer is always a pleasure when you work in hospitality.”
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