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