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Written by on 9 July, 2013 in Bar Reviews, Restaurant Reviews - 1 Comment

Assem­bly isn’t the sort of place you rush into for a morn­ing latte, before sprint/drinking the rest of the way to work. Firstly, Assem­bly doesn’t do espresso. Sec­ondly, the vibe of Assem­bly just isn’t con­ducive to “I’m in a bit of a rush” or “strong latte, half a sugar, SOY” or “hurry up with my damn crois­sants”. It might not even be a cafe, really. Call it a store, that’s kind of more of a gallery, with some damn good hot bev­er­ages to have in or take away. It’s a love let­ter to the scenic route to a cup of tea or cof­fee — it’s all arti­san tea, fil­ter cof­fee and scientific-looking equip­ment that’d prob­a­bly look right at home in Bun­sen and Beaker’s lab­o­ra­tory (sans explo­sions). And, of course, there are plenty of beans and leaves to take home.

Yeah, sure. “Curated Cof­fee and Tea” will prob­a­bly reg­is­ter high on the pretentious-Melbourne-snob radar of some. The com­plete of a hulk­ing great machine spurt­ing out espresso will no doubt con­fuse, then elicit the ire of many (we can just imag­ine the con­ver­sa­tions now). Inside, there’s a min­i­mal­ist vibe, from the equip­ment dis­plays to the con­tain­ers of beans to take home. We imag­ine it’s the design and cof­fee nerd’s wet dream. That being said, the realm of cooler-than-thou so often preva­lent in Melbz (I love you Mel­bourne, but it’s true) is thor­oughly avoided.

The team behind Assem­bly (Chrissie Tra­bucco and Ollie Mackay) seem to have a real ded­i­ca­tion to kick-ass cof­fee and tea, and help­ing folk achieve their own kick-ass cups at home. Ser­vice is help­ful, and more than will­ing to point a cof­fee noob whose friends recently gifted her an Aero­press in the right direc­tion. I tried the Colom­bia Pozo Azúl, and loved it. I then bought an adorable con­tainer of it. Basi­cally, Assem­bly sells every­thing needed to make that afore­men­tioned kick ass cup of cof­fee at home. Added bonus: the equip­ment is as beau­ti­ful and easy-on-the-eye as the space in which one finds it. Curated cof­fee is right — every­thing here speaks of thought­ful consideration.

Perched on a bench (there’s not much in the way of seat­ing here, but that’s prob­a­bly not the point of the store at all), I sipped my cup of joe and watched a cou­ple walk in. One requested “what­ever cof­fee you’re doing with milk today” — that should give you an indi­ca­tor of how the menu works. And also should tell you that you won’t get a deri­sive look if you request some milk with yer cof­fee. Quite the oppo­site is true.

There’s not much to eat here, but there is a delicious-looking selec­tion of biscuit-y treats. Don’t come here for lunch. Again, this is prob­a­bly (def­i­nitely) not the point.

What started out as a detour halfway through a rushed jour­ney back to the office turned into a zen lit­tle rest-stop, even if it was filled with caf­feine. Assem­bly is a gor­geous space, in which one finds a store ded­i­cated to fine cof­fee and tea, and help­ing peo­ple achieve it at home. And it’s tasty as hell.


60 Pel­ham Street, Carlton

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About the Author

Rebecca is a nerd from Melbourne, via Adelaide and South America. She goes by Reb, not Bec, and you can follow her on Twitter if you'd like. @RebNotBec

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