By Jo Rittey


The doors open at 7am at Proud Mary and it’s all on. The multitude of coffee grinders and six-group custom-made Synesso espresso machine kick in, the coffee orders start rolling in, and Fat Freddy’s Drop is filling the distressed brick and wood interior. And it’s not coming from Pandora. There’s a turntable. And vinyl. Nice touch.


At Proud Mary you can feel their penchant for quality. From the ambiance, to the coffee to the food. The menu acknowledges local legend suppliers and makes a point of showcasing seasonal local ingredients.


There are some hefty breakfast and lunch options, such as bone marrow, beef short rib sandwich and pork belly sandwich and these are balanced with lighter dishes, such as seasonal fruit salad, bircher and fig and apricot toast for breakfast and fish tacos or summer salad at lunch. You’d be hard pressed not to find something that appealed.


And then there are the extras. Who starts their extras list with bagna cauda? Proud Mary does. Because they can.


They also list Ayomo raw pressed juices, beautiful specially teas, smoothies, Mork hot chocolate and Mrs Mia Wallace’s Shake, which will set you back $10 but has cacao, banana, peanut butter. And they make their own kefir juice, a fermented enzyme rich food resembling yoghurt and filled with friendly bacteria that your stomach will thank you for.


 Owner Nolan Hirte is passionate about coffee.”


Now to the the coffee. Owner Nolan Hirte is passionate about coffee and he and his team source beans from the best farms around the world. In fact, central to Proud Mary’s philosophy, beyond education and ethical business practice, is the desire to bridge the gap between farmer and consumer. They used to roast small batches of coffee for the café on the spot in a little one-kilo roaster but Aunty Peg’s roasting house down the road takes care of the beans nowadays.


There is a long list of single origin coffees and blends available, roasted to suit different brewing techniques from espresso to cold drip, pourover, syphon, clover, chemex, clever dripper, aeropress and the tried and true French press. And, if any or all of the latter was like a foreign language to you, Proud Mary want to help you. Their website has brewing guides for many of the above and they offer free Tuesday night cupping so you can taste a few different beans and ask any questions you might have. Their latest innovation, the Collingwood Coffee College offers classes to school you up on brewing coffee at home, green bean training, specialty coffee roasting and more.


I have to confess that I had avoided Proud Mary until now. It gets pretty hectic down there at the weekend and queuing and bustle is not my idea of a good time. But you know, sometimes (please read as: on an alarmingly regular basis) I am wrong. This morning Proud Mary made me smile and I will definitely be back.




172 Oxford Street, Collingwood



7am – 4pm weekdays

8am – 4pm weekends


Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.




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