Roll back the clock to 2006 and Nolan Hirte was running a successful café and had won the WA Barista Championship. He had made a big impression at the national barista finals in Adelaide and any café he was involved with in Perth seemed assured of success. The logical thing would have been to open his own café and watch the money roll in.

But that wasn’t Nolan’s style. Beneath the laid back exterior is a surprisingly driven and competitive guy. He needed to prove himself amongst the big boys. Along with his beautiful wife Shari, he loaded the Ford Ka (possibly the smallest car to ever cross the Nullarbor) and headed to Melbourne, home to some of Australia’s best and biggest cafés, with a dream of owning his own.

After a couple of false starts, he started work at café using Five Senses, APTE. This proved to be a great choice as the owner of APTE, Nathan Toleman, invited Nolan to be his business partner at the super successful Liar Liar.

When Liar was sold, Nolan had the funds to start his own café. He found a site in Collingwood and, with the help of a cooperative landlord, began work on the ‘rough diamond’ that was to become home to Proud Mary.

Nolan assembled a dream team of equipment with a custom made six group Synesso Hydra, Clover, Syphon Bar and a swag of Anfobur grinders. Even the fussiest coffee-geek will find something to like here with a house blend and several single origins always available through the Synesso, and plenty of rare and unusual coffees roasted specifically for the slow brew methods.

Expect to see plenty of familiar faces as a bunch of Nolan’s ex-staff have followed him, with ‘Little Mitch’ getting the frequent flyer award for making the long trek from Western Australia to work with Nolan.

Whilst this place is all about coffee, the food is excellent and this place won’t be a secret for long!

Proud Mary
172 Oxford Street (corner Stanley Street)
Collingwood Vic 3066
Opening Hours
Mon – Fri: 7.00am – 4.00pm
Sat/Sun: 8.00am – 4.00pm

© Photo provided with permission by Beanhunter. All rights reserved by photographer.