Salisbury coffee haven Supernumerary unveils its new supersized roastery cafe

One of Brisbane’s best coffee spots has gotten a lot bigger. Supernumerary Coffee in Salisbury recently celebrated the opening of its brand-new location inside a cavernous industrial-style warehouse space on Toohey Road. Now housing a shiny new coffee bar, a kitchen pumping out a tight range of breakfast classics, and its own roasting and production space, Supernumerary 2.0 proves that it’s okay to think big.

Mar 01, 2024, updated Mar 01, 2024

When it opened in December 2019, Supernumerary Coffee was seen as a manifestation of the industry knowledge Simon Flanagan and Chin Wu had gathered in their careers to date. The seasoned-baristas-turned-business-owners helped bring the specialty coffee wave to Salisbury (then known more for ballistics and beer than batch brew), parlaying their ample experience into a cafe concept that elucidated the magic and nuances of new-wave brewing methods to a ready and willing fanbase.

“The whole reason we started in the suburb was because there was nothing around,” recalls Simon. “There were a few good brunch locations, but there was no place to go for a good espresso or a filter coffee.”

While the area’s dearth of specialty spots helped Supernumerary catch the attention of Salisbury locals from the jump, Simon and Chin’s championing of local coffee suppliers (particularly Noosa roaster Padre) and a tight menu of tasty toasties quickly endeared the joint to a wider spectrum of cafe goers from across the city.

Pretty soon, Supernumerary’s popularity began to outstrip the diminutive dispensary’s capacity, which  – when coupled with Simon and Chin’s desire to expand their own knowledge base further – underscored a need to grow.

Late last year, Supernumerary Coffee 2.0 quietly opened around the corner from its original 50-sqm abode at Salisbury Central. Now, a cavernous warehouse-style space houses a bigger cafe and kitchen. What’s more, it is also home to another passion project – a boutique roasting operation called Super Roast.

The origins of Super Roast stretch back to 2021, when Simon and long-time friend (and Super Roast business partner) Eric Huang decided to add coffee roasting to their skillset. After some initial experimentation, Eric started roasting after hours at The Maillard Project in The City, where he began mastering the art using the cafe’s 7-kg Loring roaster (in between carrying 100-kg bags of beans from carpark to cafe and back again).

Although roasting was the logical next step in the team’s ongoing education on all things coffee, it also held potential as a way to boost Supernumerary’s operations. “It was an outlet for our itch to learn everything,” admits Simon. “But it was also a huge opportunity for the business to become its own supplier of the biggest product we buy.”

After dozens of roast attempts, Eric eventually struck gold with a medium-roast coffee that was superb for espresso, which became Supernumerary’s go-to house blend in 2022. Supernumerary soon became Super Roast’s best customer, with the revenue stream from the roaster’s sales bolstering the fund Simon and Eric hoped to eventually use to launch their own roastery.

“We always wanted to have a roastery cafe down the line,” says Simon, who admits he initially envisioned setting up operations in an out-of-the-way industrial precinct. “We didn’t know if it’d be Supernumerary and Super Roast in the same building, but we wanted to do something.”

Fast forward back to today and Super Roast now occupies the back half of Supernumerary 2.0’s site. In mid-March the duo’s own Loring roaster will be officially commissioned, then it will be all systems go for in-house production of Super Roast’s eye-catching green-hued bags.

Eric will oversee the bulk of the coffee-roasting operations, furthering his love for the endeavour’s precise science and focus on balance (though you may also spy him pulling shots in the cafe from time to time). Rest assured – even with an imminent spike in production around the corner, Super Roast remains committed to using top-notch beans sourced only from quality suppliers.

“We really believe that coffee is just an agricultural product – the better it’s grown, the better it’s cultivated and processed, the better it’s going to taste in the end,” says Simon. “We don’t believe that you can improve something that doesn’t have it there in the first place.”

Looking ahead even further, the team is eager to give a leg up to other boutique operations (much like how The Maillard Project assisted Simon and Eric early in the piece) by sharing Super Roast’s facilities with other small roasters finding their footing in the market.

The front half of the venue houses Supernumerary’s cafe space, which regulars will immediately note is considerably bigger than its previous iteration. With ample room to work with, Simon and Chin have opted for a multipurpose, industrial-inspired design scheme with functionality at its core.

“We didn’t want to wall things off and close off areas where it’s so big,” says Simon. “We just wanted a really open modular space – there’s room for spill, there’s room for growth in any direction.”

A stainless-steel-topped coffee bar – equipped with a Slayer V3, a Slayer LP and several Mahlkönig E80 grinders – runs the length of one side. Immediately opposite the bar is a banquette strip set atop a foundation of glass blocks, while a scattering of tables fill the remaining floor space up to the far wall.

Reddish LED lights provide pops of colour against the steel and glass fixtures, while Supernumerary’s signature deep green softens the wall behind the coffee bar and retail shelves. Including a clutch of stools outside, Supernumerary can now seat 70 guests, compared to the 25-odd patrons it catered to previously.

In addition to more room, Supernumerary now boasts a kitchen. Where previously the cafe paired its coffee with a tight menu of toasties and crumpets, Simon and Chin have elected to shift the offering toward something that remains simple and approachable, but is built from premium ingredients.

While you’ll still be able to chomp on flaky pastries from Reno Fine PatisserieWholly Crumpets with cultured butter and Supernumerary’s beloved ham, Swiss cheese and provolone toastie, the menu has broadened to include buttery scrambled eggs (with fried sourdough and crispy chilli oil), seasoned avocado on sourdough, and tomato toast with heirloom tomato, stracciatella, basil oil and smoked salt.

On the coffee front, sippers can select from a concise menu that encompasses three espresso options and one filter brew. Currently, the offering includes Super Roast’s Longtime seasonal espresso blend and a washed Ethiopian Arsosala, as well as a couple of guest roasts from some of the team’s favourite coffee producers.

“It creates a real talking point,” says Simon of Supernumerary’s coffee menu. “Most people will say, ‘What’s that?’, and then from there we have a chance to educate them on what we’re doing, why we’re doing this and why this might taste different from your old blend.”

Simon and Chin are eager to open the cafe up to functions in the near future. With a flexible layout and plenty of room to spare, Supernumerary is a versatile option for all manner of events, be they coffee related or otherwise.

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