Along the quiet cobbled laneways of West Village, hidden behind a flourishing cluster of pot plants is a café with a story to tell.

Artista Coffee is a tale of togetherness, creativity and passion as written by West End couple Stewart Shuker and Julie Trace. While it was a local tango dancing class that first brought Stewart and Julie together, it’s their shared passion for art, coffee and travel that has kept them united on their path to opening Artista Coffee.

“I met Julie at dancing in West End. We both were between businesses and the idea of an artsy cafe was born. Julie loves to travel and has travelled extensively, recently visiting Buenos Aires to dance tango,” says Stewart.Wandering through the café, it is clear the duo have poured more than coffee into this project. Stewart’s artistic touch is obvious; framed creations and expressive murals decorate the walls, complemented by Julie’s choice of eclectic accoutrements. “I have a background in science, police, outdoor education and medical

management [and] have always had an interest in art but no formal art education,” she said.

Julie’s extensive experience as a café and bookshop owner in Melbourne has enabled them to acquire much success already. In a nod to their first encounter, Artista Coffee even hosts tango nights frequently, where West End locals gather to swing and sway across the historic building’s expansive decks. “Both Julie and I are really excited at the way that the cafe is coming along, making great coffee, building the business and bringing other relationships into the cafe, like the one we have with Tarcisio from Rio Rhythmics. Our tango nights are truly amazing.”
Though both Stewart and Julie have spent time exploring the string of cafés offered by other cities, they felt West End was the ideal location to open their dream coffee house. “The laneway, the cafe, the music, the dance, all here in West End, all open to the public. It brings our loves together with the people we

love in the place that we love.”

A visit to Artista Coffee does not only indulge the sense of sight. Smells of roasted coffee float through the space while unique flavour combinations dance across the plate. The pair are particularly proud of their jaffle menu, an apparent favourite amongst West Enders. “It has been a fantastic journey creating Artista; it is lovely to wake up each day and head off to do something we love. We both love the eclectic mix of people, the dancing, the street life, the street art; West End has a pulse!”

When it comes to coffee, Artista offers something special. The café has become the flagship for homegrown Melbourne coffee brand Zest. “Zest is a young family owned and operated roaster from Melbourne and once we met the family and tried the coffee, we were won over.” If you fancy paying Stewart and Julie a visit, you can find Artista Coffee at 97 Boundary Street, in the laneway leading to West Village’s Bromley Room.