Tucked away in the heart of Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, there’s this minuscule hole-in-the-wall coffee shop that you don’t want to miss out on while you’re in Melbourne. Not only do they serve one of Australia’s best coffee in the house, but everything about this place is just so aesthetically pleasing! Calēre Coffee
Calēre Coffee has been around since 2019, a little over 2 years. I remember visiting them with Meg when they were just 3 weeks old, it was kind of love at first sight for me. The hole-in-the-wall concept, the design, the aesthetic, everything that I’ve ever wanted if I were to open a coffee shop of my own, it was perfectly translated here.
Calēre’s capacity was near to non-existence. They’re sharing the space with Gaea, a fine dining restaurant that’s also owned by the power couple, Mo Zhou & Alicia Feng. Despite its size, having a tiny coffee shop definitely helps with the sense of intimacy that they can build with the customers, as the word ‘Calere’ itself means ‘to care’ or ‘to be warm’ in Latin.
On our first visit to Calēre, we were warmly greeted by Haruna, the main barista & Alicia, the owner. They were both very friendly and eager to have a chat about the coffee that they served there. They used Ona Coffee for their main beans, which wasn’t familiar to me at the time, but I was blown away by the taste of the Raspberry Candy blend as they executed it to perfection!
Fast forward to 2022, me and Meg made our way back to Calēre Coffee. I was excited to be back as the first one was quite remarkable for me, so I brought my camera along. There have been quite a few changes in the span of two years since our last visit, but I’m glad that their core remained the same.
Calēre used to barely even have space for people inside, they had a wooden bench next to their window, one set of tables for two and that was it. Now they have expanded their indoor capacity by ‘invading’ Gaea’s main entrance, which makes a lot of sense since Gaea won’t be using their entrance until dinner time. They also added some extra tables & chairs outside for some outdoor hangouts.
They are still serving Ona Coffee as their main beans. Additionally, now they have rotating single origins and premium coffees from different guest roasters as well. Apart from that, Calēre also has released some individually packed filter coffee drip bags, ceramic merchandise, and currently serving their own baked goods too through Gaea.
When we visited, it was on a public holiday. Calēre is one of the few coffee shops in Melbourne that stays open on a public holiday occasion, which is good. They definitely cater to the people who are desperately needing coffee or wanting to hang out on a public holiday. But of course, there will be a public holiday surcharge applies (15%-20%)
I opted for a Basque Burnt Cheese Cake ($12) and an Oat Magic ($5.50), while Meg chose an Iced Long Black ($4.5). Sadly, this time both of our coffees were overly extracted, but the cheesecake helped to sweeten it out. I was quite shocked to pay $21.27 for the cheesecake & the oat magic, but I quickly realized that it was on a public holiday. I couldn’t figure out the math, but I might get charged 20% extra.
After posting the blog post, Calēre reached out to me through Instagram and gave me a sweet message + positive feedback. They also offered to check the bill for me to clear out my curiosity on how did I get charged $21.27. Apparently, I ordered a Single Origin (Raspberry Candy) Oat Magic, and the public holiday charge is 15%, plus there’s a 1.5% surcharge for using a debit card. ☺️
I still did really enjoy our time in Calēre Coffee. Although we were sad that the coffee wasn’t hitting the spot for both of us, the overall experience was still very much delightful. I’m glad Calēre survives the pandemic period, not only that, they even voted as the winner of the Favorite Cafe on TimeOut Restaurant & Bar Revive Awards at the end of 2021. Congratulations, and I’m excited to see more of you this year!
- Business Hours :
- Monday – Saturday : 6:30 AM – 4:00 PM
- Sunday : 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM
- Coffee : Yes
- Brunch : No (Just Sandwiches)
- Dessert : Yes (Pastry)
- Indoor Capacity : +- 10
- Outdoor Capacity : +- 15
- Total Capacity : +- 25
- RSVP / Walk-In : Walk-In Only
- Waiting Time : 5-15 minutes
- Range Price : $4-$25/person
- Ambiance : White-Wooden
- Toilet : Yes (through Gaea)
- WiFi : Not Sure
- Vegan / Vegetarian Options : Vegetarian
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