Words and Photos by Jye Barclay
An industrial neighbourhood of converging cultures, West Footscray is proudly defined by its diverse migrant communities. Since opening its doors in October 2019, Migrant Coffee has become a meeting place for conversation and caffeination.
Founded by best friends Melodee Malazarte and Stacey Earsman, the pair pooled their worldwide travel experience, love of hip hop culture and entrepreneurial drive to create a cafe in tribute to their Filipino and Thai mothers. That tribute lays the foundation of the business to provide a community space where everyone can feel welcome, share and connect through food and culture.
“We are all about being inclusive and the cultural hub of the westside. Businesses that operate on exclusiveness are one of the reasons we exist as a space,” says Melodee. “A lot of doors have been closed to us so we keep ours open for everyone. Everyone on the Migrant Coffee team has their own valuable story and culture to the space – acknowledging that is a super power for us.”
Migrant Coffee remained closed for longer than required last year. They didn’t see a soy latte as an essential item, choosing to furlough the business in the hope of further protecting people in the area. The whole team lives and works in the west so we really do make decisions that we want to benefit the community.
“We try not to pay much attention to what’s happening in the industry. We just know that good cafes are what makes Melbourne one of the best cities to live in so we use ours as a space to create something meaningful”.