Melbourne Coffee 2012 – 2013

Similar to my Sydney coffee retropost, this one’s for my two past trips to Melbourne. I was lucky that in my first trip, I was acquainted with some baristas well enough that I didn’t feel too embarrassed or awkward to ask for a list of places to visit. They were incredibly helpful, and I was kept busy and highly caffeinated during my visits!

I managed to pretty much walk into Sensory Lab without looking for it, as it was conveniently located in the David Jones building. It had coffee equipment on the right, a brew bar and beans in the centre, then their machine and dining area to the left. What I found really cute was the set of single benches – what a great idea! I am more often than not exploring and dining alone, so seeing things like this makes me happy.

Their blends during this were called Chompy and Champion, however since then they’ve renamed them to more sensible names – Steadfast and Seamless. I preferred their old names better simply because you can’t get a cuter name than Chompy!

Brother Baba Budan, a Seven Seeds cafe, which is another easily recognisable cafe, and has one of the most photographed ceilings… in the world? Don’t quote me on that though. It is the first thing you notice when you walk in, that there are chairs hanging from the ceiling. It’s so cute! Like a lot of Melbourne cafes, the branding of this place isn’t that prominent – you just kind of have to know it’s there. The first time I walked past, my coffee senses actually did tingle, as I saw the Seven Seeds Keep Cups lining the window. Once I had confirmed this was indeed BBB, it was unmissable.

It’s a tiny little space that’s also fairly dark past the counter, so photos in here are actually rather difficult to take. I love their cold brews here, mainly because they use the massive ice cube! The first shot was from 2012, while the second is from 2013. Same cubes, different presentation, same delicious coffee.

A place that wasn’t on the list of places my Sydney baristas recommended, but was on my own, was League of Honest Coffee. I discovered this place after spending too much time on the internet obsessing over Slayers. It turns out their coffee is quite nice, too! They serve coffee under the Padre brand, which apparently has several cafes throughout Melbourne. This particular store was pretty cool – they have a portafilter design made of vertical wooden boards (you can see a glimpse of this on the top right hand of the first picture). Their pastel green Slayer matches their pastel green Mazzers.

Their brew bar is also very sleek, with a whole variety of methods. At the back, a lot of coffee gear! A pretty cool place!

I’ve only been to the Market Lane at the Queen Victoria Markets, and picked up an aeropress travel pack from here. This place has distinctive vintage spoons which are adorable! They also had the cutest heart shape on their macchiato, which is still one of my favourite pictures of a macchiato. Being a Sydneysider, I was rather surprised at how natural it is for Melbournian baristas to ask whether you prefer it short or long. I’m a short mac person, if I choose a mac at all (I don’t like the balance of them very much); if I wanted something longer I’d just order a piccolo. Not that names mean too much, I just know how much milk I want with my espresso.

I visited St Ali before I actually knew who or what a Matt Perger was. Oops. What it basically meant was that I had no idea what an EK variety of grinder was, what this place was famous for, or what a “coffee shot” was. There was a fantastic Colombia El Silencio three ways on the menu, which I believe included a coffee shot, a long black, and “EK spresso” which was espresso into a frozen coffee cup to bring the temperature down quickly. Either way, all three were tasty even though I didn’t understand the philosophy behind what I was drinking. They had a great food menu too – black pudding, prawn, egg; and what I think were eggs and a crab cake. I could be wrong about that second one though.

When we walked out, we saw their “Drug Courier” cars, with hilarious comments such as “Dolphins Kill Hipsters”.

Ah, Patricia Coffee Brewers. This place is great, it’s standing room only. It’s also a very difficult place to find – tucked away in a side-side street alleyway thing, and really, the only visible indication there’s anything located around the corner, is the group of people all sipping away at their coffee, standing around or sitting on the few milk crates that are outside. Once you’re in, it’s a simple, minimalistic space with coffee and a few pastries. They also have coffee beans from various roasters for sale here, stored in their own style of canisters. It’s a lovely place that I’ll visit on every trip to Melbourne.

Auction Rooms, a cafe that was on my original list that I didn’t visit until 2013. While I did consume coffee here, I thought the food was very pretty! Scotch eggs with cabbage and caviar salat, and a french toast with rhubarb and berries. What great looking breakfasts!

And now the heavy hitter: Proud Mary coffee. This is the place to go, to see the hectic organised chaos and the line of people waiting for a table. Then you see the inside, with a massive chalkboard scrawled with the most different types of coffee I’ve seen served in a single cafe (3 different estates of Colombian coffee plus 2 blends, and then some?!). Though the most prominent feature is their 6 group Synesso, which looks like it extends on forever compared to your standard coffee machines. Everything here is crazy – crazy tasty.

In 2013, that’s when they had a Colombian showcase. So naturally, I ordered the espresso flight! Then I sampled their two blends. That was 5 espressos in a single sitting (1 hour). I then did something silly and consumed yet another espresso by accidentally stumbling upon Dead Man Espresso, but I don’t have any pictures of that. This was actually pretty cool because I could taste the difference between the first three coffees in the tray, though I wouldn’t be able to tell you which was which. The list of coffee is as follows:

Colombia “Bruselas”, caturra washed: Marzipan, crisp apple, apricot, impeccable structure.

Colombia “Alto del Obispo”, caturra washed: Buttery, honey, apricot skin, great depth.

Colombia “Etelvina Diaz”, cattura washed: Sweet almond, orange zest, honey.

Eagle Vision: Honduras, Colombia, Panama.

Wild Touch: Guatemala, Honduras.

That was some extreme caffeination!

Oh, they do some amazing food too. This is a picture of their rice pudding with mango and passionfruit. As a bit of trivia, Proud Mary was the first place that I noticed blue cups being used. So now every time I see blue cups, I think of the colour as “Proud Mary Blue,” which leads me to incorrectly guess several coffee photos to be from there when they’re actually not!

In future visits, I look forward to visiting Aunty Pegs, their black coffee bar!