In the Oxford Dictionaries, Anthropology is described as the study of human societies and cultures, and their development. In Pascoe Vale, it’s a brand new café with a purpose, and profundity. Coffee is ingrained in our culture, and spreads across all societies, regardless of your race, creed, or colour. Its permitted interaction across cultures, and on a positive note, coffee connects people. This is one of the reasons I love coffee so much. It’s the same reason Fairuz and Omar decided to christen their first café with the name “Anthropology”. In true Melburnian form, Fairuz and Omar would spend their spare time café hopping around town while dating. Omar was a baker by trade, who followed in his father’s footsteps from the early age of 11! Fairuz on the other hand, studied Anthropology at University, and when she raised the idea of opening a café of their own, it seemed like a fitting way to turn their passion into a career. Truth be told, it wasn’t just the pleasure of consuming coffee that spurred the decision, Fairuz had a deeper purpose for their maiden café. It was a means to connect people, and to allow for unity between cultures- which is a rather pressing issue in our current political climate globally. Fairuz: “I’ve always felt like we are living in a heightened social and political climate whereby the Muslim name and identity gets tainted a lot … and I wanted to create a platform where we can be seen as individuals, as people”. Meeting both Omar and Fairuz confirmed that they are humans living a normal life like anyone else. They have all the qualities I adore in café owners- friendly, skilled, and they welcome you into their café like a friend welcomes you into their home. They prove that religion should not serve as a barrier. I felt an overwhelming sense of admiration for someone with such a beautiful vision. It’s non-judgemental, community focused, and founded on one of my favourite things on earth – coffee. If we all strip ourselves of our biases and preconceived ideas, we all crave that same sense of belonging. At Anthropology, everyone is embraced. The staff members are from various backgrounds, and they contribute to the greater community, with all tips going towards feeding the homeless through a local care network. Fairuz has also created a retail stand, which displays handmade crafts from local Muslim women. It’s all about empowerment, and endorsing local talent. “The café isn’t just about me, it’s about giving back to the community”, says Fairuz.
I admire Fairuz’s quest to challenge the tarnished reputation that the Islamic culture has recently sustained. She does it via coffee, and may I say, its damn good coffee. Beans are sourced from Clark St Roasters for their house blend, and Wood & Co for single origins. I was in luck, as they had the Ethiopian Kesha in the hopper for espresso. This washed lot from Kochere Wereda in the region of Yirgacheffe, was grown between 1900 and 2200 meters above sea level. It was skilfully extracted via the La Marzocco Linea PB, and tasted exactly as I remember when I first had it with Aaron of Wood & Co at his roastery. Filled with sweet apricot tones paired with lemon highlights, my experience was as profound as the baristas intentions. The café was designed by Fairuz’s sister Iva, and a minimalistic style, with freshly painted white brick walls, timber furnishings, and polished concrete flooring. If you’re coming in for a feed, they have a comprehensive menu, which caters for vegan, dairy free, and gluten free requirements. Choices include the Melbourne favourite Smashed Avocado with activated almond dukkah; Black Rice Pudding; Grilled Haloumi Toasties; Mexican Baked Eggs; Crispy Chicken Waffles with maple syrup and coconut chive sauce; and house made Falafels with smoked paprika Tzatziki on Sourdough. They currently have a Blue Eye Cod Curry Laska special; and Twice Baked Brioche French Toast with caramelised banana, apple, and coconut vanilla bean ice cream. Melbourne is jam packed with cafes, but few have the community spirit envisioned by Fairuz and Omar. Anthropology serves a greater purpose, to tear down those divisive barriers, and generate harmony. Let’s do away with stereotypes, and just accept each other for who we are. After all, coffee knows no boundaries.
‘Spread love. Be kind. Stay humble’.
Anthropology Specialty Coffee
349 Gaffney Street