Melbourne is one of the planet’s coffee capitals, exporting top-quality products and industry expertise to the rest of the world. But when Salvatore Malatesta opened ST ALi cafe in 2005, he found himself at the forefront of the city’s burgeoning speciality coffee scene.
In the 13 years since, that one cafe has turned into a small empire of outlets and roasteries in Australia and Indonesia - including one of the first Australian Mercedes me lifestyle locations that blends Melbourne’s food and coffee culture with refined Mercedes luxury.
Malatesta’s brand recently took over our @MBV Instagram. Their photos featured a weekend road trip in their eye-catching Vito to Victoria’s surf coast, delivering beans to some of their favourite customers along the way.
We asked Melbourne’s coffee kingpin why the Vito is their van of choice, and to tell us more about his strong bond with Mercedes-Benz.
Why is the Vito the perfect van for ST ALi?
“Well, it’s a good looking van to start with and is backed by Mercedes engineering - so it’s super reliable. It is comfortable and safe for our drivers and we can fit loads of coffee in the back. It has always been our first pick.”
What’s your favourite feature of the Vito?
“It drives like a Mercedes sedan.”
Your vans stand out on the road. Do lots of people ask you what you’re driving?
“All the time. We cover them with different wraps to celebrate whatever our creative team is working on at the moment. They are a billboard on wheels.”
What’s been the best thing about collaborating on the Mercedes me project?
“We have learnt that dedication to excellence can be achieved at scale. We keep learning from the Mercedes me team, and we get to play with some of the best cars on the road.”
What was the highlight of your recent Mercedes-Benz Vans Instagram takeover?
“I think the photo we took at Brae, which is in the Otways just inland of the Great Ocean Road. It sums the whole journey up. We can travel regionally in comfort, then deliver coffee to Victoria’s best restaurants.”
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