Founder of Proud Mary Coffee, Nolan Hirtes, always dreamt of opening an all-encompassing space centred on coffee. A platform to exhibit the passion that drives Proud Mary Coffee, while also allowing the general public an opportunity to become familiar with the various processes involved from crop to cup.
What tugged at my heart strings when I first visited way back in 2014 when they opened, was that Nolan named the venue after his grandmother; a highly revered member of his family, colloquially referred to as “Aunty Peg”. There’s a tribute to this esteemed lady in the café, which serves as a reminder of what the space was originally intended for. A welcoming place for all to gather. This is a feeling I fondly associate with visiting my paternal nonna, who would have to be one of the most hospitable humans I know. Hence I understand Nolan’s admirable for his grandmother, and symbolism of the name.
So what sets Aunty Pegs apart?
Aside from its vast size, which caters for the Collingwood Coffee College training centre, and Proud Mary Coffees roasting facilities; Aunty Pegs also serves as a general education setting. You can literally walk in off the street and ask to be shown how to brew coffee using pour over equipment.
Secondly, the coffee experience is very much one-on-one with the barista. The bar is designed in such a way that customers are granted equal importance, with full view of the entire brewing process. Baristas are not disconnected from the consumer, and the custom Synesso group heads built in into the benchtop, allow for human interaction. It’s a tailored experience, where you are offered a selection of coffees, brewed via a selection of methods.
Thirdly, and most contentious, its black coffee only. If you want white coffee, there is always Proud Mary around the corner. However, Aunty Pegs is purely about enjoying the inherent characteristics of a beans, minus any addictive. Plus there is always a Panama Gesha available.
Also, Aunty Pegs is one of few venues in Australia using only Mahlkonig EK43 grinders with custom made dosing devices from Titus Grinding. These not only improve workflow, but they help make the grinding experience more efficient, hence fostering a health interaction between the receptive barista, and yearning consumer.
I enjoyed a long black made from the Honduras Ovidio Gomez, which is a washed processed yellow Catuai. It tasted like Ribena juice, with a lingering sweetness. You can learn all about the farmers on the information cards provided. Aunty Pegs truly is a space for education, and you determine how far you want to delve into the experience. All that’s required, is a willingness to absorb, but intellectually, and physically. Thankfully I have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which drives my passion, and sees the coffee cup as an extension of my arm.
200 Wellington St
Collingwood VIC 3066