Located only a few kilometres from the heart of coffee-clad Melbourne, St. Kilda is increasingly becoming a coffee destination in its own right, as more and more locals succumb to the invitation to drink a brew by the bay. Jason Bates owns Hannah Café in St. Kilda, and he comes from a detailed hospitality background that includes managing Mart 130 Middle Park and Grocery Bar Café St Kilda as well as owning Hell's Kitchen in the Melbourne CBD. When it comes to his passion for coffee, Jason has been brewing the bean for more than twenty years, and he's been a keen observer of the industry since the late 80s.
“Cafes are the new ‘public houses,’ where people live their lives,” he says. “They catch up with friends, study and work, read newspapers, discuss issues of the day, meet new friends and lovers, and connect with their community. Coffee is the lubricant.” The team at Hannah serves up specialty coffee using a La Marzocco machine, as well as the excellent coffees produced by other local roasters.
Designed to feel more like a home than a shop, the corner café is located on the bottom floor of an apartment building just off popular Carlisle Street. Incorporating paper lanterns with sleek, edgy furniture, the aesthetically pleasing cafe is wholly unlike the now-common, industrial-style cafes. The décor features a large communal table with ferns growing up from the centre, and the café is spacious and provides ample seating, so you don’t have to compete with the nearby residents to secure your spot. It will make you feel at home, but, fortunately, you won’t be responsible for washing up the dishes.
Jason chose Proud Mary as the café’s house blend. Proud Mary roastery goes right to the source to get its beans, and, each year, it conducts trips to origin in order to follow the coffee journey from crop to cup. Jason also features rotating single origins and guest blends. The café also does filters, and cold brew and cold drip.
“I prefer a cocoa-currant-caramel flavour profile for milk coffees,” says Jason. “I also like to mix things up, with lots of interesting things for people to try and discover.” Perhaps a salute to a bygone era, a record player with a vintage Rotel amplifier broadcasts Jason’s personal collection of vinyl through the café. The laid-back atmosphere is pervasive.
Hannah is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy great coffee coupled with great food, and it is dotting all its Is and crossing all its Ts. In addition to the promise of good coffee, the café even offers a decent selection of reading material, including Jason’s grandfather’s collection of National Geographic Magazines from the 60s.