Ah coffee – one of life’s essential pleasures… or would we call it one of life’s necessities?
Junction is very excited to welcome Mansfield Coffee Merchants, which is the brainchild of Mathew Picone, who works alongside his wife Lee and the rest of their dedicated team. Mat and the crew have come on board in August to supply us with our locally produced and delicious roasted coffee.
How long has Mansfield Coffee been operating?
We opened the main café in Mansfield on Queens Birthday weekend of 2014, so 5 years now. Our wholesale operation has been going since day one but has had its own dedicated team for about 3 years now when we opened our roastery in Mansfield in 2016.
How did Mansfield Coffee get started? What was the inspiration?
The inspiration was to get a bit of Melbourne in the beautiful town of Mansfield. Wanting to roast specialty grade coffee and showcase a high level of food, coffee and service in the region. Also to raise my family in such a great place whilst doing what I love.
What did the you do previous to starting Mansfield Coffee?
I have always been in hospitality. Since seeing my uncle and auntie run a pub when I was a kid I knew it was what I wanted to do, I loved it. I have worked in a range of restaurants, cafes and bars but was up at Mt Buller as food and beverage manager at the chalet hotel for a number of years, this is where I fell in love with the area. A few years roasting coffee in Melbourne and then the right opportunity in Mansfield and here we are.
Because it is delicious! Also I love seeing people when they try a good coffee and introducing them to other styles of brewing and coffee origins they may not be familiar with.
Is there a specific dish or way you would recommend to use Mansfield Coffee, or other products?
Our coffees work great in espresso but we also roast a range of other styles such as filter coffee for aeropress, pour over coffee and more. These are exciting and different to what most people think of coffee. The flavours are amazing. Of course I always return for a solid kick from an espresso though.
What’s your number one tip for the ultimate coffee experience?
Don’t just smash your coffee down, enjoy it and look for flavours. Try new things and ask questions.
Where would you take a visitor for an essential country food experience?
I think the landscape of what a “country food” experience is changing. No longer is it just a good old fashioned pie or shank, there is so much on offer now with great chefs moving out of the city looking for something more relaxed and allowing them to express themselves more. Places like Gracebrook Vineyard in the King Valley, The Mill Inn in Merrijig and our very own Mansfield Coffee Merchant are doing great food with a personal twist using local ingredients.
If you could visit any city for a day’s eating and drinking experience, where would it be and why?
I love London and would love to head back there to see what is happening in the dining scene after being away for many years. Otherwise I love returning to Melbourne and seeing what is going on there in the café and bar scene. I love my wine and gin so I still try to keep a finger on the pulse where I can.
What other local artisans or producers do you admire? Why?
We are so lucky to have a great range of local producers now. We formed the Mansfield Producers Group a few years back to support our local producers and people such as Long Lane Capers, Jillicious, Heirloom Natural Veggies. I love bespoke ingredients and being able to highlight them on our menus, we live in a great spot.
If you had to choose your last meal, what would it be?
A Wagyu burger from Tomahawks in Bright. Best burger ever!