Oh, coffee! We all relate to the first sip of morning cuppa, a warm sip letting you know the day has officially started. A daily routine that shouldn’t be taken for granted, and at a small neighbourhood cafe in Leederville, Abacus Espresso embraces just this. Hidden down “Electric Lane”, just off Oxford Street, the cafe is filled with natural light and the sound of grinding coffee beans.
Abacus opened in 2021 and has its unconventional name tied to the owner’s background. Madison (or “Maddy” as she prefers) is the outgoing and enthusiastic owner, who named the spot after her daughter’s favourite toy and her passion, Espresso. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Maddy felt the firsthand importance of a positive daily routine, having just had her daughter, and together they enjoyed the small daily walks to their neighbourhood cafe. These pleasant mornings helped build the vision for Abacus and the goal of becoming someone else’s go-to daily cafe.
The cafe layout is Scandinavian-inspired, simple and bright – or as a five-star reviewer writes, “meticulously clean”. The colours are neutral with fresh flowers and plants placed on the tables each morning. Around the cafe are small individual tables good for working out of the office or sharing a sweet treat with a friend. There is a standing bar for your morning newspaper fix and big open windows that let in the morning light.
Apart from Maddy, the team consists of five baristas, three of which have been there since the opening of the Cafe. The head barista Josh doesn’t have a man-bun or tattoos, however, he is just as nerdy about coffee as you would hope. The team knows the regulars’ preferred type of Almond milk and who’s trying to cut down on sugar this month – all drinks come with a little Anzac biscuit on the lid. This welcoming approach was Maddy’s dream from the start and part of the goal to become a positive part of someone’s daily routine.
All their espresso coffees are made from Abacus’ house blend. The beans are roasted in-house by a contract roaster in the Perth Hills. The team has tested and tried hundreds of espresso variations, to nail the current one… or this is what the barista Sofie tells us. The variations were tested with alternative milks and even cold, to ensure that the roast was perfected. The roast was also compared to nearby cafes in Leederville, ensuring that the final product was able to offer something slightly different for customers. They landed on a roast both the people behind and in front of the bar were happy with. The tasting notes are milk chocolate, brown sugar, peach and apricot – Yum! The bean origins are Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Brazilian. Maddy explained that they are researching ways to recycle the coffee bean packaging, in an attempt to minimise unnecessary waste.
For those who love a batch brew, there are usually two in rotation, changing daily. The beans are from local roasters including; DoubleDouble, Blacklist, Brother of Mine, HumbleBee, Pique Coffee, Stitch and Coffee Modus. If you enjoy a batch you’ve had, the bags are for sale for the at-home baristas. Tasters are always an option too! You can purchase everything from home brewing gear to keep cups, and a large assortment of beans (including the house blend). The beautiful Jonathan Hook Ceramic cups are also exclusively available. Tip for a hot summer day; ask for your Batch brew iced.
The oversized croissants are just part of the daily rotation of baked goods. All from local Perth suppliers like Mary Street Bakery, The Cookie Barrel and Holly Raye’s (we love a good Perth Bakery) and all sandwich options are made in-house. Sweet or savoury, a snack or lunch – there’s something for everyone. If you’re vegetarian, try the halloumi, pumpkin and onion jam bagel. The Everything Bagel from Holy Bagel is worth it alone! There’s even a variety of bagels with homemade chive or jalapeno cream cheese if you’re on the go.
Recommendations – finally!
Like spirits, your coffee of choice is a personal preference. However, we can all agree that we love a good, quality cup. Abacus Espresso goes all in on atmosphere and in this small laneway cafe, you’ll feel welcome and even your oddly specific order is not that uncommon. Ever heard of “Notmilk”? No? Well, this is just one of the many alternative milk options they offer. If you stop by, the homemade brekky bagel will satisfy your Sunday morning hunger. However, a slice of warmed and buttered banana bread hits the spot every morning. You can pre-order online, however, regular customers prefer to stop by in person for a five-minute break, a taster or a chit-chat. You will probably meet Maddy and you can see for yourself what all the Abacus fuss is about.