Join the 8:15 am commute and follow the tram lines along Sydney Road. Take in the vibrant vintage of the Brunswick bustle, heritage buildings and their ornamental architecture rise over this hemisphere’s longest shopping strip. In contrast, sleek glass shop fronts, hanging plants, and electric confetti, whizz by in a blurred yet wonderful mix of old Melbourne and our modern morning mayhem.

Just a quick turn off Sydney Road awaits the sunny Edward Street, where the drumbeat of Brunswick softens and a new serenade of sounds begins. The tap of a latte glass placed on the drip tray, the thump of a group handle over the dump tube, and the ‘clink’ of an optimistic pair toasting to the good day ahead. A morning song, written by Clinker and performed by soul drummer, Damian Watt.

In this small and shiny coffee bar, you’ll find Damian, perfectly in sync with the morning rhythm, his smiling service never missing a beat.


Locals may remember Wilbur’s Café on Brunswick Street, where, since 2011, Damian had been drumming out Brunswick’s favourite brews! But times have taught him that by refining his focus in hospitality, he could build a more resilient business model to face the reality of today. After closing Wilbur’s doors and reducing his staff to just one, himself, Damian cut things back to his passion. Good coffee.

Despite Clinker’s doors only being open for a couple weeks at the time I write this; regulars already know to follow the familiar smell of Zest’s Corcovado Blend and to expect a neighborly greeting as they step from pavement to paradise. From behind his self-built circular counter, Damian will look up, greet your day with his signature smile and ask, ‘just the usual’. A nod is enough of an answer and after what feels like only a couple of seconds, you’ll have your warm cuppa in your hands.

As Damian explained, people love his quick coffee stop because there’s no pressure to sit down or eat in, and no waiters asking you ‘was that a table for two?’ On the other hand, for those needing to take a moment of relaxation, you can perch up on a stool by the window bench and enjoy an almond croissant along with the morning sunshine.


While most of the credit goes to Damian’s bubbly personality and the amazing work he does behind his La Marzocco, we are super pumped that he is using our Corcovado Blend. It has been a massive hit with his customers so far. This blend is a mix of premium grade Brazilian, Colombian, and Peruvian coffee lots, boasting a palatable mix of nutty and chocolate flavours courtesy of the Brazilian and Colombian lots, with that interesting citrus addition from the Peru.

Rather than trying to find the biggest shop in town, Damian chose to let his coffee speak the volumes for his café. To add to an already great coffee experience, the café itself boasts an ambiance that feels open and fresh, thanks to the abundance of natural light flowing in through a full shopfront of glass. Look up and you’ll appreciate some of this buildings’ history, beautiful stained glass line the top of the main pane. The building itself is made from old red ‘clinker’ bricks, which is where, the name Clinker, is derived from.

Proving the power of a fresh coat of paint, this space bounces all that natural light around the room through the reflective metallic silver paint spanning floor to ceiling. If you’re one for a bit of contrast, then you’ll love the way Damian’s rounded counter compliments the rectangular café space. Lining the innovative inbuilt shelving space, Zest’s retail range, a mix of 250g Corcovado house blend, and seasonal micro-lot tins take centre stage, and my, don’t those flavour terrains pop!

It’s not all flavour terrains and flowers though, Damian has himself a serious coffee machinery setup. Armed with a La Marzocco Linea PB 3 group machine, an Anfim SPII+ grinder for his house blend, and a Mahlkoenig EK43 for his single o’s, this man has his mighty ‘on bench’ team to thank for his incredibly fast turnaround on coffees!


The Clinker experience is an irresistible combination of friendliness and fresh brews, and for a guy who has never once split a coffee shot, Damian can sure get you splitting your sides with laughter! Whether it be the newest addition to your morning commute if you work in the area or an escape and recharge from the day’s madness, Clinker is the perfect experience that pays homage to what great specialty coffee-on-the-go is all about!