For The Black Lab Coffee Co. crew, its rise to local prominence is the result of calculated and methodical expansion. From its early days roasting beans out of the Tweed Heads home of Ground Control Coffee to establishing its own roaster in Sydney and opening its Fortitude Valley flagship cafe The New Black, each step has facilitated further growth. The latest stage of evolution sees the roasting crew expanding its portfolio to include a new coffee bar and training facility – all housed in an unobtrusive nook in Paddington. The decision to expand arose when The Black Lab’s Sam Holman started searching for a suitable storage space for the roaster’s wholesale product. While inspecting a vacant space adjoining Paddington boutique Fiera, Sam inadvertently stumbled across a unique opportunity to do much more than initially anticipated. The tenancy’s garage level was also up for grabs, tripling the space Sam initially planned on occupying. Soon, Sam shifted gears to capitalise on the extra room, putting plans in the works to open a coffee bar, retail space, single origin roaster, barista training centre, machine service workshop and a storage space. Thus, Blackout was born.
Blackout’s street-level coffee bar boasts a moody colour palette (concrete, exposed brick and grey tiles), with a sturdy bar dominating the cosy nook. The bar itself boasts a futuristic-looking multi-boiler San Remo Opera coffee machine as well as an array of specialty coffee apparatus. Here, guests can order white or black coffee, or select from a batch, V60 filter or cold-drip brew. Not a coffee fan? No problem – Blackout also stocks kombucha from The Probiotic Kitchen, juice from HRVST ST and craft soda from Melbourne’s Somersault. A small seating area is positioned at the rear between shelves stocked with home-brew apparatus, take-home bags of The Black Lab’s beans and more, while a small 2.2kg roaster will soon be installed to roast batches of single-origin beans on site. As for food, an ambient cabinet is stocked with Butterbing cookie sandwiches, croissants and bacon-and-egg muffins. Also of note, a selection of cereals (yes, even Froot Loops) are available for those seeking an express breakfast. Blackout’s training centre is currently being installed downstairs, and will offer classes of intermediate and advanced difficulty for baristas looking to elevate their skills. Home brewers will also be able to bring their toys in for some educational sessions. Commercial coffee machines from San Remo, Wega and La Marzocco will give trainees experience on a variety of systems, and baristas that work with any of The Black Lab’s cafe clients are free to pop in and experiment whenever a training session isn’t underway.
Blackout is open to the public, but it will be officially celebrating its launch this Saturday October 12. Pop by between 8:00–10:00 am for free coffee, then stick around for a sausage sizzle. Want more details on Blackout? Check out the Stumble Guide.