Before Australia became an espresso drinker’s paradise, how the hell did we fill our time? What reason did we give for popping out of the office at 10:30am, a quick… juice? And what of those who don’t drink it? Something tells me the Aussie psyche is evolving a distinct distrust of the non-coffee drinker. We’re learning to look on them with the same suspicion we traditionally reserved for the teetotaller – eschewing coffee will soon be ‘unastrayun’.

But lucky for caffeine addicts like me that our nation’s passion ensures that every five minutes a new, hip café or coffee roaster pops up. I may be biased as an inner-westie, but a large number of them crop up in the inner-west. Ok, so they’re in places like Alexandria or Marrickville, the so-called ‘warehouse suburbs’ (so-called because I just called them that), and that has more to do with a post-industrial (literally) gentrification than a compass. But there’s no doubt I’m one lucky Lau to live in such a pocket of coffee wankery.

Double Roasters stands on the threshold between the part of Marrickville I’d consider living in and actual Marrickville. Halfway between Marrickville Road and The Factory Theatre, it’s an all grey building with lurid neon stencilling spelling out its name on the windows. When my bro and I arrive, I’m pleased to see it’s a big place and there are plenty of tables both inside and out. We join the queue and it’s not long before a pleasant young fellow is enquiring if we want to have in or takeaway. We tell him ‘have in’ and he invites us to sit wherever we like. We do.

The windows in this place are floor to ceiling, which gives the café good light. There are your usual knick knacks scattered around and there are also bag of coffee to buy ($9 each – not bad, if it’s any good). The interior is painted the same bluish—grey as outside. The counter is brick and behind it sits a roaster, tables and chairs are wooden, arranged diagonally on the painted concrete floors. Considering its 10:30am on a Saturday morning it’s not too crowded, there’s the mix of inner-west families and student-types you’d expect in this part of town. We order coffees.

The menu looks good. Prices are more than reasonable with sandwiches (roast pork belly, poached chicken) at $7.50 and nothing on the breakky menu for more than $12.00. I note that they use Sonoma bread and the much-praised bonsoy soy milk – ticking two boxes straight up. Bro orders the roast pork belly sandwich and I go for the brekkie special – Zucchini and corn fritters with avocado salsa, rocket and a poached egg.

Weirdly, our brekkie arrives prior to our coffees. The glutton in me is disappointed by their size, but the proper grown-up recognises they portions are perfectly adequate, especially given the price. Bro loves his pork belly sandwich. I have a bite and its pretty dandy – fresh bread, some kind of apple relish and possibly aioli accompanying tender pork. My fritters are perfectly cooked and the perfect size, but I realise while I’m eating them that I’d prefer a little lower zucchini to corn ratio. The avocado salsa is a mash, so more like a guac, the egg is slightly too poached (very slightly). I would say my brekkie is almost perfect.

Our macchiato and double macchiato arrive next, and they are smooth and tasty. I don’t add any Colombian organic sugarcane to mine and neither does my bro, but I guess that’s just our personal preference. While I enjoy the coffee, it’s weirdly milky for a macch, more of a picciatto if you ask me. Nevertheless I order a second.

The only thing that slightly spoils our morning is how long it takes to pay. The guy at the register is chatting away with the customer in front of us, apparently frozen with the customer’s $20 bill in his hand. As they chat away we’re standing there, thinking he could just put the money through, then settle our bill, and then go back to his chat. A few minutes later he comes to us but, as if to try and make up for it, he runs through our order piece by piece, looking at us expectantly, urging us to deliver a verdict. This actually has the opposite effect- we don’t feel privileged to give our opinions, we feel forced to praise the (admittedly delicious) meal when we should have been walking out of the café to get on with our Saturday and the one million and one important things we had to do, hideously busy and important people that we are.

Double Roasters
199 Victoria Road
Marrickville NSW 2204
02 9572 7711
www.doubleroasters.com
6:00pm – 3:00pm

Double Roasters on Urbanspoon

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21 Responses to Café review – Double Roasters, Marrickville

  1. Kitty says:

    I’ve observed this with curiosity as my bus goes past every morning. I was suspicious of the crappy cardboard-lookin’ sign on the window. And the name. Usually a lack of imagination is a sign of things to come. Good to see my snobbery is unwarranted!
    Kitty recently posted…Soupe au Pistou

  2. Steve says:

    “Before Australia became an espresso drinker’s paradise, how did we fill our time? And what of those who don’t drink it? The Aussie psyche is evolving a distrust of the non-coffee drinker. Eschewing coffee will soon be ‘unastrayun’.”

    Yeah. That’ll be the day!

    The “Cappucino Divide” is so named for a reason.

    Coffee is not unknown, but in much of the country neither is it given a second thought.
    Example: For 25-30 people, there IS a tin of instant coffee here somewhere, but it hasn’t been brought out in ages, except when there are visitors.
    I can’t remember the last time I saw someone actually drinking coffee.

    Heck, the word “guy” (which you use so prolifically) reaches further into this nation than does “cafe culture”.
    Steve recently posted…Road Train

    • Lau says:

      I can always count on you for a new perspective. I’m trying to imagine you sitting at your kitchen table, a cup of *tea* in hand, perhaps?

      I guess when you live in a world of coffee obsession, it’s easy to forget the whole country doesn’t share it. Especially when everywhere I go, espresso runs riot. But I clearly haven’t travelled Australia to any great extent.

      That said, there have definitely been huge changes over the last 60 years since Italian immigrants brought espresso to Australia. I’ll take your word for it that there are many parts of Australia where coffee isn’t given a second thought.

      If I’m ever in your neck of the woods, I’ll be bringing a kilo of beans and my espresso machine, no doubt.

  3. Gaby says:

    Love the look of your meal. Great angle for the photo, too. Yeah, the egg seems a bit over-poached but not too much.
    Gaby recently posted…Bistec a lo pobre (poor-style beef steak)

  4. Great write up. A world without coffee would be a world not worth living in. I was chatting to someone about their recent camping weekend & would you believe they took an espresso machine with them? Now that’s something I just may consider if I ever go camping again. The best place for that jar of instant is the bin.
    john@heneedsfood recently posted…Coffee and the City

    • Lau says:

      That’s one of many reasons I don’t plan on going camping any time soon. Maybe glamping.

      And I would agree with you, except apparently 70% of Aussies still drink instant! (View from 4:18 onwards). But that is changing.

  5. Sigh. I feel so cheated living over the bridge in the North. There just is not the abundance of fantastic cafes that there is in the inner west. Might have to make a special trip here….

  6. Steve says:

    “I’ll take your word for it that there are many parts of Australia where coffee isn’t given a second thought.”
    Does not reconcile easily with:
    “…apparently 70% of Aussies still drink instant!”

    Italian immigrants brought espresso? And here I was always believing it to be Zimbabwean immigrants – post 1980 – who were responsible for the explosion in espresso drinking in Australia.

    The Italian angle makes a good story though. I’ve seen clueless journalists write it about North Qld. One of those stories where they journey north, “discover” that NQ is shoulder-to-shoulder with people who are 2nd & 3rd generation removed from Italy, & then write a fabricated story about how they consequently got the “first decent coffee north of Brisbane”.

    Garbage! Espresso has rippled outward (not very well either) from Sydney & Melbourne.

    The change in coffee habits is much more recent than 60 years. Even 15 years ago, when espresso bars were starting to really get under way, & people were drinking espresso coz it was “cool” to do so, the quality was, at best, mixed.

    The average standard of coffee was an embarrassment to the coffee distributors, who spent a lot of time & money trying to educate the worst of the bars, and in extreme cases would withdraw their brand from a bar, as they were trying to build quality brand recognition.

    There were some well run espresso bars in the CBD’s & a few elsewhere, but most of them didn’t have a clue what they were doing, were scared to death of serving bitter coffee, caused by over-extracting, consequently they cluelessly would grind their beans too coarse. Result: Coffee was under extracted, & tasted like weak mud.

    Cappuccino was just as likely to be a “Mont Blanc” as a proper one, and incredibly, many “espresso bars” were making flat white with instant coffee!

    The standard has improved to the point where now just about every coffee shop in a CBD will serve a long black that is drinkable. It is a wonderful feeling, being able to walk into any old coffee shop & being able to drink black espresso without grimacing.
    Steve recently posted…Sandshoes & Dinner Hobbles

    • Hi Steve,

      Firstly, I only found out that 70% of the country drinks instant coffee a couple of days ago, so actually, yes, those ideas actually reconcile pretty bloody easily for me. It builds on your observation, which I’ll have to take your word for, that there are parts of the country where coffee isn’t given a second thought. I don’t know those parts of the country, so I can’t disagree with you there.

      I don’t think anyone here would disagree with you that espresso has come a long way in the last 15, or even 5 years. Although the first coffee plantations in Australia were planted in the 1800s, the first espresso machines came from Italy in the 1950s – 60 years ago. The majority of the first coffee bars sprung up in Melbourne, although of course I cannot comment on their quality as I was not alive in the 1950s, nor do I live in Melbourne. Neither can I comment on Zimbabwean immigration and its effect on coffee drinking habits in Australia, it’s not my area of expertise.

      And maybe journos are writing bullshit about ‘the first decent coffee north of Brisbane,’ but it is the first decent coffee THEY’VE found north of Brisbane, so its more of a generalisation than a lie. Unless people like you (ie, those ‘in the know’) get writing and let us know about these ‘undiscovered gems’, unfortunately, you’ll have ‘clueless’ Sydney and Melbourne journos and bloggers all over the joint, writing about stuff they know nothing about for years to come.

      I guess what I’m saying is, get writing; about the history of coffee, or damper, or rural transport, or…god knows what. ‘Cause with the price of travel in Australia being what it is (and I know you’ll take issue with that, too), our metropolitan centres will continue to dominate the dialogue about what Australia is, has been and will be.

      • Nicole says:

        Gosh! Im exhausted after reading these posts.
        Do you ever wonder why certain people take the time to read your blog then even more time to comment? I’m sure they could use their time in a more positive way.

  7. Thomas says:

    Have passed this place by on many Saturday driving to the recycle place in Marrickville, will have to stop off the next time and try some of their coffee

  8. […] But lucky for caffeine addicts like me that our nation’s passion ensures that every five minutes a new, hip café or coffee roaster pops up. I may be biased as an inner-westie, but a large number of them crop up in the inner-west. Café review – Double Roasters, Marrickville | Corridor Kitchen […]

  9. Big fan of this cafe. Love the decor of it, especially the sink in the corner and the animal in the middle… think it’s a dog? Love their coffee and their poached chicken sandwich.
    Dressed and Eaten recently posted…Birthday Time

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  11. Nicco says:

    Stopped here on a Saturday morning around 11:45. Ordered a latte and an ice chocolate after asking if they could do such a thing. Latte arrived true to its name but not true the needs of a Sydney caffeine addict. Looked like a glass of hot milk with a dash of caramel flavouring and some elegant froth. Clearly I should have ordered a double shot latte which I then did – don’t you think its confusing in Sydney? Where I have coffee Monday to Friday (Peoni, Surry Hills) a latte is a double shot ristretto and perfectly strong enough without having to order a double, but at Double Roasters, a regular latte is a sad looking affair. Meanwhile, the iced chocolate arrived with a large globe of unrequested ice cream floating in it and a few dashes of chocolate syrup stuck to the inside of the glass but otherwise very little evidence of any chocolate. My partner drank it quickly but there was no contented sigh to follow. A few minutes later the double shot latte arrived – it was great. Creamy and very drinkable but not really qualifying as ‘strong’ coffee despite having to pay for an extra shot.

    As we didnt eat anything I can’t comment of the food but it looked good. I think for somewhere that roasts its own coffee they could serve stronger coffee as their base line (especially in what was a pretty small latte glass)and like most places they need to do something about their iced (and possibly) hot chocolate. All you need is some decent quality cocoa – not a few squirts of chocolate syrup. If it leaves the counter still looking like a glass of milk you know something is wrong.

    • Lau says:

      Hi Nicco,

      Doesn’t sound like you had a great experience. Thanks for letting me know. It’s always disspointing when you get a weak coffee! I always order macchiattos so it’s good to get feedback from a latte drinker. Although I will say the macch I had at Double Roasters was a tad milker than the norm.

      On your point of a double ristretto shot – that’s not standard for most cafes, but I have noticed it’s very much in vogue now. And I think that is a place prides itself on its coffee, even going so far as to roast their own, you’d expect a decent caffeine jold for your buck. Did you have to pay for the second latte or just the second shot?

      I will have to argue with you about iced chocolate. Iced chocolated has cream, that is the ‘icing’. Otherwise it’s just chocolate milk or, with crushed ice, a frappe.

      I am adding Peony to my wishlist, thanks for the recommendation! Where is it located?

  12. Some great photos here (the egg looks so tasty, and the close-up of the coffee is nice composition. Something about that spoon really grabs me).

    Interesting that this is the persistent-most-popular post. I guess the locals want to know what people think of it.
    Detective Chow recently posted…Fish & Co, Annandale — or — I can’t believe it’s not fish puns

  13. Nicole says:

    I’ve enjoyed several cafe lattes from Double Roasters. The pork belly sandwich is delicious. A little on the fatty side but that didn’t stop me from eating it. :) With all the good coffee places now in Marrickville, they are all so busy on the weekend. My husband and I tried to have breakfast one saturday morning but we had to wait, which we didn’t.

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