When Coffee Cultures Collide—An Australian Outpost in L.A.

Sponsored content provided by KitchenAid.

When KitchenAid decided to develop a video series—Get Something Brewing—that would feature contemporary coffee leaders and brewing trends, it was clear that Australian café culture had to be a part of the conversation. In that arena, few influencers have been more instrumental to Australia’s rising presence on the international stage than Melbourne’s Mark Dundon of the celebrated Paramount Coffee Project. The creative force behind many of the city’s original third wave coffee shops—from Ray to St. Ali—Dundon has literally followed coffee from the source to the cup, trying his hand at cafés, roasters and even a coffee farm in Honduras.

0g3a9144How this café trendsetter and now owner of roaster Seven Seeds summarizes his entry onto the coffee scene is incredibly simple: “Basically I was a poor artist for a long, long time, and we set a small café up in a little hood in Melbourne. It was great to be able to provide that service, and I enjoyed it.”

Alongside Jim Ng of the Paramount House event venue and fellow coffee entrepreneur Russel Beard of Reuben Hills, Dundon brought his Melbourne-cultivated café perspective to Sydney for the first time in 2013. The project, which encourages guests to “look at coffee differently in a café environment” has recently crossed the Pacific to Los Angeles’ Fairfax District, where Dundon is hoping to introduce locals to the craft of Australian hospitality.

Yet while Australia and America share the honor of dominating the current wave of coffee entrepreneurship, these two powerhouse cultures didn’t start in the same place. American coffee consumption stems primarily from the Industrial Revolution and the drink’s potential as a large-batch energy source. In Australia, coffee was first introduced by the espresso shops of Italian immigrants, where pleasure and taking a break from the day reigned supreme.

0g3a9115As brewing methods evolved, America stood out in the manually brewed and filter coffee format—from the French Press to pour over methods. KitchenAid’s own line of innovative Craft Brewers springs from this tradition, from an automated Pour Over Coffee Brewer to a stunning Siphon Coffee Brewer for the home.

Australians, on the other hand, innovated in the field of espresso drinks—like the famed Flat White—while simultaneously expanding the role of cafés as a place of congregation. This focus on hospitality also led to the widespread service of wholesome, beachy food at cafés like the now Instagram-famous “avocado smash.”

It’s this focus on hospitality and community that Mark Dundon seeks to infuse into the Fairfax District with the opening of PCPLA: “For us it’s all about service…you really need a humble approach to hospitality that’s honest; you’re looking after people.”

0g3a9156Dundon’s mission also extends beyond the four walls of his cafés as Paramount features a rotating menu of beans from his favorite Australian brands like Reuben Hills or Marvel Street, as well as standout American roasters. Yet the responsibility of selling those carefully crafted products comes with the responsibility to educate the consumer. As Dundon explains, “People baking a cake or whatever…they’re meticulous—weighing this, pouring that, making sure everything is okay. The frustration for me is when people don’t assume that coffee is under the same sort of guise…that you can just slap something in and do this and do that and it’s going to come out delicious. Which is not the case—it’s about exactly following a little procedure.”

Making that connection between the quality of the product and how you prepare it is at the core of KitchenAid’s own craft coffee brewers, as demonstrated in the Precision Press Coffee Maker. With an integrated scale and timer built into the classic French press format, it allows the home brewer to easily apply science and technology for a better cup of coffee. “I want people to go home and do something delicious on the benchtop in two minutes,” says Dundon. “That’s the goal, because we need people to be drinking good coffee.”

So if you’re planning to visit PCPLA, make sure you can stay awhile. Order a flat white with a “soft scram” on toast. Then sit, sip, relax, and grab a bag of unique beans to bring the experience home.