Published on 09 August 2018
Piccolo Meccanico founder Mark Stewart has a double expresso-strength passion for coffee – that bittersweet black elixir right at home in The Artisan Hills. And after more than a decade on the local scene, Mark knows a thing or two about making a good cup.
“I tend to limit myself to three or four espressos or filtered coffees [per day],” says Mark. “If we’re tasting coffee, though, I can drink up to 30 cups. You wouldn’t want a vegan cooking your steak; you want someone who breeds the cow and lives and breathes what they do. So when you come into my shop you want the same thing.”
For this reason, in late 2014, when Mark invested into the business, the lion’s share was spent on a new coffee machine. “I put about $30,000 into the shop. Of that, I bought a $29,000 coffee machine and spent the other $1000 fixing some of the seats." He recently invested even more, installing a coffee roaster in the shop allowing Mark to roast beans on site and lifting their standards even further.
“I’ve always been a believer in substance over style, so while the shop might be a little bit grungy for some, I can guarantee that what’s in your cup and what’s on your plate will be amazing.”
With only three staff members, the Piccolo Meccanico family is relatively small. This works for Mark. “I feel like most businesses in this region are small teams anyway. It’s a quirky thing about this area; there’s no one big employer, a lot of people out this way tend to work for themselves.”
The wider Artisan Hills community feels like an extended commercial family. “There are lots of people who know each other and are really friendly. I’m honoured to serve lots of other hospitality people. I know how hard people in this industry work for their money, so I’m privileged when they spend it in my shop.
“Everyone looks out for each other. If I run out of cups I can always call another café up the street and borrow 500 or so, no problem. In other places I’ve worked, there’s been none of that feeling whatsoever; people can work next door to each other for five years and not know each other at all. Not here.”
And if all this isn't enough to tempt you to visit, check out Piccolo Meccanico on Intagram @piccolo_meccanico - Mark’s amazing coffee art is a sight to be seen!
Piccolo Meccanico, 57 Chute Street, Diamond Creek
03 9438 5228