Salvatore Maletesta CEO, ST. ALi Family (ST. ALi and Sensory Lab)

Salvatore Malatesta is one of the most influential people in Australia’s speciality coffee, micro roasting and innovative dining industry. An entrepreneur, expert commentator and television presenter, he is the creative force and CEO behind the ST. ALi Family (ST. ALi and Sensory Lab).

More than a decade ago, Salvatore sparked a coffee revolution in Melbourne that has expanded to Sydney, Indonesia and the UK. He opened his first café on campus as a law student at the University of Melbourne. ‘Caffeine’ was a success because Salvatore was his own target audience. This business philosophy became the secret to his success – each project responds to the wants and needs of the end user, and Salvatore is generally the end user.

Salvatore is a World Barista Accredited judge who champions the single estate coffee business. ST. ALi has been an industry leader in direct relationships with farmers and fostering partnerships and relationships that support a sustainable future for coffee producers and their families. Salvatore says “these considerations are key to our philosophy as a roaster, retailer and employer.”

Culture is also essential to Salvatore’s approach and he puts creativity and creative minds at the centre of his businesses. ST. ALi’s team works towards a ‘rock and river’ philosophy: there are parts of the brand that remain rock solid – the things you expect from ST. ALi – and the rapid river – the crazy, unpredictable part that brings up the question of “what’s coming next?”

“I like to think of creativity as the foundation for the preservation of fantastic possibilities or two words: magical thinking. We are searching for the unicorn.”

Since his university days, Salvatore has owned 88 food and beverage venues that have won multiple awards and featured in global design and trend forecasting forums, including Future Laboratory, Global Design Report and Monocle.

Salvatore has made guest appearances on a number of difference food and lifestyle programs, including The Living Room, The Project, Postcards and Poh’s Kitchen.


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