Tucked away in the back streets of South Melbourne lies the birthplace of the ambitious and renowned coffee roaster, ST. ALi. Still standing as the roaster’s flagship café venue 18 years since its launch, locals and tourists still flock to the South Melbourne site for a taste of authentic café culture.
Serving up a tasty menu of all day breakfast favourites and comfort food staples, it’s hard to go past the café’s coffee menu which has customers returning time after time. With a regularly rotating offering of single origin and espresso blends, there is always something new to try at ST. ALi.
Having undergone a small renovation late last year, South Melbourne venue manager, Scott took us on a tour of the ever-changing venue and caught up with us for a brief chat at their new bar, proudly showcasing La Marzocco’s GB5 X and Modbar as their barista equipment of choice.
Joining the ST. ALi family six years ago upon his arrival to Australia from England, Scott has been apart of ST. ALi’s incredible growth under the ownership of Salvatore Malatesta. Despite their exponential growth over the last 18 years and forthcoming plans to continue their global growth, ST. ALi has managed to keep a firm grasp over the premium quality of their products and also, maintaining their authentic customer service – a value which Scott is proud to showcase as their flagship venue manager.
‘It’s incredible to work for a brand that I am very passionate about’
Once a converted warehouse which housed a café and a 5kg roaster to roast beans on site, the space has evolved over the years to host a laid-back dining space, boutique grocery store and most importantly, their new café bar, designed to pay homage to the style of the traditional espresso bars of Italy.
Made in collaboration with Trust Projects, the custom bar – handcrafted from pieces of timber, tile and marble – fits comfortably within the brand’s heritage venue, while acting as a light-hearted contrast to its staff positioned behind the bar and decked out in ST. Ali branded coveralls.
Along with the bar comes new barista equipment for the team. Now using La Marzocco’s recently released GB5X to manage the venue’s daily rush and to craft milky coffees, the venue has now welcomed Modbar to their workflow, exclusively used to pour from their single origin and reserve espresso offerings.
‘Having both the GB5X and Modbar allows us to expand our coffee offerings, while maintaining control over its quality.’
With their launch planned for early 2022, the ST. ALi team will unveil a reserve coffee offering to its customers. Curated by the team, Scott explains that while a lot is yet to be announced, the menu promises some of the worlds best and most exclusive reserve coffees.
Adding to the experience, customers are welcome to sit at the bar and engage with the barista, while watching them extract your espresso over the Modbar. Chosen for its reliable function and small footprint, Modbar adds to the theatrics and experience of specialty café culture.
‘Theres a sense of theatre behind sitting at the bar and talking to a barista while watching them extract and pour your reserve coffee.’
With one Modbar AVs set up at the bar, baristas have the freedom to offer a dedicated and intimate reserve coffee experience to the customer, without interrupting the workflow of incoming dine in and take away coffees.
Alongside the announcement and launch of their reserve coffee menu, the new year holds many exciting announcements for ST. ALi. While the impending announcements of new and exciting ready to drink products and beautiful developments to their beloved spaces are being kept tight-lipped for now, the best place to stay in the loop is by visiting ST. ALi’s website or following the team on Instagram and Facebook.