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Red Cup Café


A: 1124 Whitehorse Rd Box Hill VIC 3128

T: (03) 9899 1893





Coming from a chef’s background, Michael Olsen started his coffee journey with mobile espresso carts at the Falls Festival in Lorne back in 1999. Adding to the catering operation that he and his wife Kelly were already offering, their initial plan was to stay down to the coast and be able to run a business servicing events and festivals, with the flexibility to enjoy the coastal lifestyle, sun and surf. But the events were so successful that they were quickly flowing from one into the next, becoming a full time gig, so much for surfing!


Having already bought a Wega espresso machine through Genovese, Michael contacted Adam Genovese to borrow another machine and a coffee cart, and when the machine suffered technical issues in the middle of an insanely busy festival Adam rushed down with a replacement machine and saved the day. This act of service cemented the relationship, and Michael has been a loyal supporter ever since.


The business took another leap when Michael worked with Peter Roland catering for the Grand Prix and built immense coffee carts that were essentially mobile cafes.


At a Polo event at Werribee in 2003,, they heard a whisper that the foyer of The Reserve Bank in Melbournes CBD was earmarked to become a café and with a bit of research managed to find the estate agent and secured the site. Officially it was called Corporate Café, although there was no branding and the public usually referred to it as the Reserve Bank Café. This quickly became a thriving business. Another venture Michael ran for three years was the coffee cart out the front of The Victorian Arts Centre, which is now known Cento Espresso. Next was 120 Collins Street.


After selling their CBD businesses, Michael and Kelly embarked on their mission of setting up in a more suburban venue. Out riding his bike one Sunday morning, Michael came across a practically abandoned washing machine repair shop called WAM, in the middle of a residential area in Box Hill. On close inspection this premises had all the elements they felt were required for a successful local café.


Michael approached the owners, and a deal was done. After two years of planning and development, Red Cup Café was born. Within a short time they were very busy all the time so the hunt was on for another premises. A few kilometers away the Peddler café was opened in a former accountants office and although the business has been sold Michael and Kelly remain the landlords. This was what he calls “The Holy Grail” of hospitality. They have now purchased the entire building at Red Cup also, and live in a converted warehouse space above the café with their daughter. To create a haven from their working life, the upstairs residence has a very strict “No Shop Talk” rule!


Michael always wanted to use locally roasted product, and appreciated the fact that Genovese was a true family business, like their own. Their philosophy has always been to provide great quality coffee and food, without the fuss. Apart from his hospitality skills (he is also a chef), one of Michael’s great strengths is his ability to work with people to create a common ground where all will benifit.


“There is a big difference between fads and trends. We are aware of evolving trends although definitely not jumping on every fad. We just want to provide a well made and trustworthy product to our customers, weather it is food or coffee. I enjoy the specialty side of the food and coffee industry too but most days and nights I just want to keep it simple.” – Michael Olsen


We concur, Michael!


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