Time Out Melbourne

A super-sustainable café and a coffee brand with strict ethics? Hardware Lane is soon to be hosting both under one roof

Local. Seasonal. Organic. Ethical. These buzz-words are being tacked onto menus all over town. But what do they mean?

Joost Bakker knows. The Dutch sustainability architect behind the no-waste Greenhouse projects has built cafés in Sydney and Perth entirely from low-impact materials, recycling every skerrick of matter, from food scraps to water. “It’s a holistic approach – we’re showing people that whatever we do here, has an impact here.”

Now Bakker is teaming with café industry veteran Danny Colls to build a permanent Greenhouse by Joost café in Hardware Lane.

Here, chef Matt Stone will mill flour and churn butter daily. Milk will be delivered in kegs direct from a local dairy and pumped via The Juggler, a benchtop milk-tap system, ensuring the best price for the farmer, no cartons, and less energy-sapping fridge opening.

That sense of provenance extends to coffee. Colls has reunited with Genovese with whom he first teamed at Café Racer in 1994. “Genovese are more family than supplier and, by doing anything for us, they’ve become part of my family too.” Genovese’s innovative 15-litre tins with one-way lid valve are simpatico with Greenhouse’s sustainable credo. “There’s no packaging so we’re cutting out what might’ve been 150-200kg of bags,” enthuses Colls.

Ben Toovey of Genovese has a custom blend for Greenhouse outlets using “coffees that support growers using sustainable and ethical approaches. We buy direct from producers in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and a family farm in Panama, enabling them to reinvest in their farms and improve their product. The coffees are shade-grown so don’t use harmful pesticides and chemicals.”

PR greenwashing may be rife, but this is the real clean deal. Coffee with a conscience? Pedal to Hardware Lane pronto!

Updated on 15 Jul 2012.

Photos by Graham Denholm   |  
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