After six years in the CBD – and a years-long search for the right site – Elementary Coffee Roasters is taking on the suburbs. Next month, owners Brad Nixon and Carly Humphreys will open a lofty cafe and roastery in Torrensville (in the former Canopy site on Jervois Street).

“We’ve been looking for a site for about four years,” Nixon tells Broadsheet. “It’s kind of hard to find a combination of a site that’s big enough that it doesn’t cost too much in terms of rent, is not too close to residential but close enough that we’re not in an industrial area … So as soon as we saw this one we jumped on it.

“It wasn’t the best timing – we were just coming out of Covid and everyone’s just starting to get back on their feet. But … sites like this don’t come along very often.”

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The spacious, light-filled building, which sits around the corner from Henley Beach Road, is “very similar in feel to our CBD store”, says Nixon. “It’s warehouse-y, with exposed beams and concrete floors, that kinda thing. So it’ll be good to continue that vibe.”

He and Humphreys have brought on designer Rhea Koumi of Umoki Studio and furniture maker Matt Pearson of MJP to bring their vision to life. “We hadn’t worked with an interior designer before for any of our shops … We’d sorta done it ourselves and it was very much bootstraps,” says Nixon. “With this one we definitely want to step it up a little bit. We gave Matt from MJP a bit more free reign in terms of putting his own spin on the design. And with Rhea we gave her a very open brief. We still wanted it to be practical and follow the design aesthetic of the CBD store, but we wanted to take it to that next level in terms of look and feel and materials.”

A feature of the site will be a central service bar where customers can perch to watch the baristas in action. “It’ll put the baristas centrestage,” says Nixon. There’ll also be bench seating against the walls built by Pearson and custom furniture designer Peter Fong.

A 12-kilogram Probat roaster – double the size of the one at the city store – will be set up out the back and viewable through glass panes, so you can watch the roasting process while you sip your coffee. (Nixon is equally transparent about the origin of the coffee: “Our aim is to shake the hand of every coffee producer we use.”)

“We’ve definitely outgrown our city store with the roasting side of the operation,” he says. “We’re still going to keep the current roaster at the CBD site, and we’ll just be doing smaller batch single-origin things and the like there. So that’ll still be operational.”

The unhurried nature of the suburbs will inform the venue: a more relaxed, dining-focused cafe that’s “completely different” to the fast-paced city store, says Nixon. It’ll also give him and his team the time and space to focus more on filter coffee (pour-over, served in ceramic mugs made by Jordan Gower of Aburi Ceramics) and trying out new coffee techniques and service styles, including single-origin frozen coffees.

There’ll also be a much greater focus on food, with a menu by head chef Sam Ferguson who’s come over from his Findon cafe Clement & Herron, which closed over the weekend. “He’ll be bringing his team across from Clement & Herron,” says Nixon. “The food still needs to be finalised but … there’s going to be a heavy focus on making everything on-site, from hot sauce to sourdough breads and all the cakes and biscuits.”

Eventually, when they get their liquor licence, there’ll be cocktails and wine, too.

The new cafe is the latest move in a steady evolution for the Elementary brand, which began with its Young Street flagship before expanding to two more city sites – a hole-in-the-wall in the Adelaide Railway Station (now closed) and Flinders Street Project (since sold).

“When we first opened, we were coming back from Melbourne. We wanted to bridge the gap between where Melbourne was and where Adelaide was, and bring what we were seeing over there in terms of coffee quality and roast style back here,” says Nixon. “But Melbourne is its own city and Adelaide is its own city. As we’ve matured as a business, we don’t look at Melbourne or other companies anymore in terms of what they’re doing … we do our own thing.”

Elementary will open at 2 Jervois Street, Torrensville, in early September.