Melbourne Food and Wine X

Introducing First Love Coffee, the new cafe from Rustica founders Brenton Lang and Drew Gibbs at Collins Arch in the Melbourne CBD.

In 2018, Rustica’s Brenton Lang and Drew Gibbs created a specialty coffee blend and brand named First Love Coffee, which has since expanded to operate as a wholesaler, sourcing quality coffee worldwide. Now the team has opened an café in Collins Arch in the Melbourne CBD devoted to First Love, serving city-dwellers coffee, Rustica pastries, and breakfast and lunch to go.

Here’s Lang and Gibbs on the new spot’s essentials.

The beans: All coffee at First Love is roasted by us for the customer. We work closely with the best green-bean suppliers in the country to ensure we provide the highest quality coffee sourced ethically from the farmers. Our team retails Brazilian, Ethiopian and Nicaraguan single-origins or the house Polaroid blend to coffee fans direct.

What we’re doing with them: We serve our coffee three ways: milky, filter batch brew or cold brew. We serve our black coffees with a single-origin which changes fortnightly.

To eat: Being a part of the Rustica café group allows us to work closely with our chef Sidney Tor. We have put together a sleek, simple menu for our customers with easy grab-and-go takeaway options such as a croissant, cheese toastie, coconut chia pudding and the highlight, a mixed grain salad – farro, quinoa, beetroot, smoked almonds, spiced yogurt, mint and parsley in a lemon dressing with the option to add lamb.

The design brief: We worked with architect Fiona Drago to create a space that showcases our speciality beans range.  It reflects First Love’s focus on provenance and sustainability through the use of natural materials, like the green marble benchtops, copper cabinets, sculpted cork ceiling and locally made terracotta and copper lights. Green marble terrazzo sweeps across the floor and up the main wall. We display the coffee beans in the wall alcoves, lined in peach-coloured terrazzo. The colours of the materials reflect the spectrum of reds and greens in raw coffee beans. The compact space faces north and is filled with light. Customers can stand at the rose gum bar next to the windows and look out to the pocket park in front of the cafe.

The playlist: Music is make or break, and we’re fans of Spotify Radio: we like the Rooftop and 2fine2doTime playlist. Artists such as Tom Misch, J Dilla, FKJ, Jordan Rakei, Chaos in the CBD, Jack J and Oscar Jerome are also our go-tos.

Potted-plant count: We only have one potted plant in our venue but our windows open up onto Melbourne’s only inner-city park precinct.

Anything else we should know? Keep an eye out for more First Love Coffee locations coming soon.


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