Bayleaf Cafe in Byron Bay likes to keep it local – its coffee supplier is the previous owner of the cafe, Marvell Street Roasters, who actually runs its roastery nearby.
Nikki Muling and Dan Readman took over Bayleaf Cafe in 2013, and have recently renovated the venue. They’re still serving the same coffee, though – they might have a riot on their hands if they tried to change it. Nikki came to Bayleaf Cafe having managed cafes in Melbourne and worked in specialist coffee at Padre Coffee. She comes from a family of baristas – her three brothers were all baristas, and they’ve all worked together at some point. Nikki, Dan and their baristas spend a lot of time with Marvell Street Roasters cupping coffee, then in turn go back to Bayleaf Cafe and train up the front of house staff.
Byron Bay locals have come to love and respect the Marvell Street coffee, which changes weekly but always retains the best quality available. Each week, Marvell Street advises Nikki and Dan as to what the standouts are and they choose a selection of single origin espresso and filters for the week. They try to mix it up a bit; keeping those they think are incredible for the entire month.
The ever-changing house blend is always a mix of two beans, at a ratio of whatever works best. Currently it’s a combination of Colombian El Paraiso and Ethiopian Kolowa, roasted just enough to achieve full development, whilst maintaining balance of flavour, body, sweetness and acidity. It’s beautifully sweet, with or without milk, and also stands out in Bayleaf Cafe’s Vietnamese Iced Coffee. Occasionally you’ll see Rwandan coffee, from the rugged northwest town of Musasa, or Colombian micro-lot coffees farmed by Daniel Sanchez and his family. There’s AeroPress, V60, batch brew and cold drip here, as well as iced coffee served with coffee-infused ice cubes.
There’s nothing quite like Bayleaf Cafe anywhere else in Byron. Its ‘whole food’ philosophy extends not only through the food menu, but to the coffee too – the fact that it has a seasonal blend is really important to Bayleaf. Head Barista, Riki ‘Bobby’ Eketone, and his wingman, Keisuke, ‘The Master’ Masuda, create monthly coffee specials to keep things really interesting. Head Chef, Adam Hill, in turn designs food specials to match the coffee flavour profile. It’s a truly ‘holistic’ approach.
As you’d expect in Byron, the clientele is an eclectic mix
of artists, musicians and travellers of all ages. On the side of the building is an ever-changing artist wall: Bayleaf Cafe’s way of supporting local and international street artists. The artwork changes every three months, and as of the beginning of 2015, the whole year is booked out already.