Mastering the Senses

Sensory Lab:

David Jones, 297 Lt Collins St, Melbourne, VIC
(03) 9643 2222 or
St Ali owner and coffee evangelist, Salvatore Malatesta, wants to ‘own’ the coffee learn space, just as, he says, Apple ‘owns’ the touch space. Malatesta has got one up on Apple though; because with the opening of Sensory Lab, which doubles as the Little Collins Street entrance to David Jones, he actually does ‘own’ the coffee learn space. His is the only café full of staff sporting lab coats, high heels and vibrant red lipstick guiding customers through a survey of their senses to devise the perfect brew for them.

All the while connecting how they taste with what they drink, which they can take to the next level by ordering off the raw food menu to enhance the coffee flavours even further. It’s all in the name of educating people to treat coffee as an experience instead of a fix. There’s also a retail element, and because he’s a realist there’s a coffee window to the street that bypasses the lab- coats for a quick morning fix for guys on fixies. Designer Hecker Guthrie has brought a scientific attention to detail to the Sensory Lab. Loads of drab green and wire glass cabinetry, pared with white tiles and plenty of light creating a laboratory aesthestic that draws the line before clinical with plenty of noticeably human touches. [Photos: Thom Rigney]

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