When someone, anyone, waxes lyrical about cafes in Melbourne, their raving can generally be taken with a grain of salt. But mention Patricia Coffee Brewers and your barista’s eyes will take on a dreamy sheen. It’s the kind of place that every coffee pro dreams of opening.
Patricia sits on the eastern side of Melbourne’s CBD, a stone’s thrown from Flagstaff and Southern Cross stations. You’ll find it down Little William Street, on the corner of Little Bourke.
Standing room only, Patricia is all about the coffee. With expertly trained staff and discerning customers – Patricia is a cosy little haven in from Melbourne’s mercurial weather that knows exactly what the hell it’s on about. It was started by St Ali/Seven Seeds vetaran Bowen Holden, read his story here and try not to fall in love with his passionate, commonsense approach.
Patricia sources, serves and beautifully repackages (for take home) coffee from Melbourne’s cream of the crop; the likes of Small Batch, Proud Mary, Market Lane et. al. are well represented here. Since its standing room only, you may as well order your coffee in a ceramic cup (black or filter $3.50, white $3.80), stand at one of the bars that line the narrow room and sip away.
For those who absolutely must sit, there are a few milk crates strewn around the laneway outside. There are a few pastries, cookies and the baked-treat-of-the-moment, caneles, but other than that, it’s coffee or bust. For me, it’s rare not to included Patricia in a visit to Melbourne.
Patricia Coffee Brewers
Cnr Little Bourke & Little William St.
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Monday – Friday 7:00am – 4:00pm
03 9642 2237
For an espresso-free caffeine experience that’s more akin to a meditation than a coffee break, Melbourne’s Assembly may be just what the coffee guru ordered. A compact minimilist caffeine shrine in inner Carlton, Assembly is about all things coffee- all things, that is, except espresso.
We arrive on a blustery Saturday morning well and truly ready for a warming brew. Assembly is a small, whitewashed, wood-panelled and filled with light. At the front of the space sits a small communal table that seats 6, temptingly laden with cakes as if we’d arrived just in time for morning tea. I spy Matt Forbes doughnuts amongst the cookies and cakes, almost impossible to resist, and there are arch-shaped indented wall shelves stocked with one of each and every third-wave coffee gizmo I know of.
Assembly’s mission is to spread the word of non-espresso brews. To this end, they source, and beautifully repackage, a range of teas and coffees from the likes of Reuben Hills, Market Lane and Small Batch. They painstakingly prepare the brews in-store, but you can also purchase beans and relevant coffee geek paraphernalia to take with you.
We’re run through the flavour profiles of four different filter coffee options. There are also 9 teas on offer. We try are the Los Nubes Miramar from Guatemala, roasted by Market Lane and the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere roasted by Market Lane, both black, as well as the Candyman blend, served with milk and roasted by Small Batch Roasters. There’s also the Finca El Naranjo from Honduras. The coffees are brewed one at a time, but for those who don’t have time to wait, there’s a cannister of batch brewed coffee ready to go, so you can help yourself to a paper cup and be on your way.
My partner in crime and I taste the two black coffees, and, serendipidously, I prefer the Los Nubes Miramar, with its gorgeous flavour of stone and dried fruits and nutty undertones, and he prefers the Yirgacheffe Kochere’s citrus and berry tones. The two couldn’t be more different, and we buy 100 grams of each for some further aeropress experimentation.
What I love about this concept is the ability to purchase tiny lots of beans – as little as 100g or even 50g, which means you’re buying what you will use in its optimum state – a dose of coffee is about 15 grams, so 100g will get you about 6 filter cups. It also means you can try a bunch of different beans and see what flavours tickle your fancy.
I’m surprised to find that I like the small space, and appreciate the communal feeling of sitting at the only table in the house and chatting to your neighbour. Assembly also have an online store, and you can join their ‘Coffee Fellowship’, in other words, buy a coffee subscription, either for yourself or as a gift for someone super caffeine-mad. *Hint hint*
Assembly Curated Coffee & Tea
60 Pelham Street Carlton VIC 3053
Monday – Friday 7:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday – Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm
Manual brewing, alternative brewing, whatever you want to call it, it’s time to give it a go. DIY brewing methods such as aeropress, cold brew, pourover, syphon and their more well-known cousins such as French press and stove top coffee form another frontier in the exploration of coffee flavour. What’s more, they’re portable, cheap and easy to learn.
Still not convinced? Then check out my Q&A with Campos’ resident black coffee fanatic David Ruslie above. He talks black coffee culture in Australia, who’s ahead in the Sydney vs. Melbourne black coffee game and why you should give a damn about hands-on coffee brewing.
So apparently there’s a rumour going around that I’m multiple people, I *think* this might be because if you follow me on instagram I’m all over the place lately. Fear not, chums, I am the one and only Lauren Quinn of Corridor Kitchen, I’m just *ahem* between projects right now, and that gives me ample time to drink coffee all over. In the last two months I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Newcastle and surrounds, Canberra, Bendigo/Castlemaine/Daylesford, the Great Ocean Road, and even good old Melbourne town. And I bet you wanna know my go-to for espresso magic (and no, I don’t mean that bullshit flat white concoction) in Melbourne. ‘Cause good coffee in melbs is so hard to find.
The last couple of times I was in the Melbourne CBD, I made a beeline for Naked Espresso, a cute and well known place on Little Bourke Street. These guys use naked portafilters for their espresso (hence their name) but they also tick the specialty coffee box with their selection of ‘new brew’ techniques such as aeropress and pourover.
This place is a coffee nerd’s paradise; their blackboards list the day’s brews complete with tasting notes, and they sell enough different beans, gadgets and paraphernalia to keep the caffeine-obsessed happy for yonks. The coffee menu changes often, with appearances from the likes of Market Lane, Axil Coffee Roasters and even Naked’s own house blend. On my most recent visit, there were couple of Market lane single O’s on offer for syphon/pourover/aeropress, the house blend for espresso-based coffees and an Axil single origin as their guest coffee.
I sample the market lane Juan Ticona brewed as an Aeropress, it has a lovely chocolatey flavour, mild and delicious. My companion and I also go macch-wild on the house blend – vibrant, vivid, deep and bittersweet, it is an absolute pleasure to savour. Even the aftertaste is sublime.
The menu is a simple affair. There are a a few brekky things- toast and its cousins, baked eggs, porridge and an array of jaffles. They charge 50 cents for swapping/changing ingredients, which I think is fair enough. But this place is really about the coffee. Our house of worship, we are devotees at the caffeine alter. Freshly ground beans are our processional incense. I could sit here forever.
390 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
03 9670 3569
When I say coffee, I mean espresso. So it’s easy to forget that there’s more than one way to brew a bean. Luckily, the Black Coffee Pop-up is in Sydney this week showing off the ins and outs of non-espresso coffee methods, brewing pour-over, siphon and the aero-press coffees from 19-22 April at Outré Gallery in Surry Hills.
Black Coffee is exactly what it sounds like. The brainchild of Seven Seeds barista Mark W Free (the one in the hat), Black Coffee has appeared at Somewhere Store Gallery in Melbourne and serves nothing but black coffee – no milk, no sugar, no espresso, and, according to their website, ‘no bullshit’.
The focus on the coffee part of coffee makes sense to me. And I have to admit it’s nice to savour more than a thimblefull and really drink in that aroma. We tried the Market Lane Boa Vista from Brazil (pourover), its heady aroma of roasting chestnuts drawing us in. The taste is far mellower than the smell, far from the concentrated hit I’m used to, but it grows on you.
Recently there’s been a growing trend towards coffee geekery and gadgetry (in fact, towards geekery and gadgetry in general), but also a renewed interest in no-fuss food and drink. The time is right for something like the ‘pay what you you feel’ Black Coffee pop up, proving that anyone can make coffee, you don’t need a fuck off espresso machine, a commercial grinder or a crash course in barista basics.
It’s a good time to be a caffeine addict, however you take your coffee.
I’ve spent most of my working life in cafes, and the work ethic of the people who run them has always amazed me. I couldn’t do it. If I could have a cafe that only opened one day a week, maybe I could make a go of it. But what kind of clientele would you build up with only one day a week of trade? Plenty, if you’re cafe Ancheto.
I found out about cafe Ancheto through Footscray Food Blog, and I just knew I hod to check it out on my next visit to Melbourne. Cafe Ancheto runs on Saturdays at the Sunshine Masonic Hall in Melbourne’s Western Suburbs.
I arrive on a scorching dry Melbourne day and take a seat inside the cavernous (and thankfully, cool) space. The room is set out with vintage furniture, polished wood floors and toys to entertain the kids. It has a welcoming vibe and there’s plenty of space to spread out.
To say the staff are run off their feet is an understatement, but I’m in no hurry. Eventually a waitress rushes by and I order my macch. It doesn’t take long to arrive. It’s good, a bit on the frothy side but nice and short (you have the specify in Melbourne, otherwise you may end up with the feared long macch) and the vast old space is a nice change from the usual cramped coffee hole-in-the-wall I frequent.
People around me are in no hurry either but the food is taking a while to arrive. Eventually I go up to the counter and order some toast with jam from the harried waitress who brought me my coffee.
All in all, I would recommend cafe Ancheto, especially as there aren’t many cafes in Sunshine. I think it would be a good place for a group of friends to meet for coffee and maybe cake. The staff were really lovely, they just had a lot on their plates. When I left, the girl that served me said ‘You’ll have to try the breakfast next time.’ I told her everything looked delicious but I just didn’t have the time.
93 Hampshire Road,
Sunshine, VIC, 3020
0419 015 072
Saturdays, 9:00am – 2:00pm
Whenever I get the chance, I make the pilgrimage to Melbourne, or, more correctly, to Western Melbourne. The shrine I seek has nothing to do with religion, but it has a spirituality all of its own. I seek something no Sydneysider can find on their back door step, something no amount of Harbour Bridges and sunny (ish) days and schooners and middies can make up for. I seek…injera.
For those of you who haven’t had the exquisite pleasure, injera is a large crumpet-like flatbread that forms the foundation (literally, it sits under all the other food, tablecloth-like) of Ethiopian and Eritrean food. Stews (wats) are daubed on top of it and you tear of bits of the injera and scoop them up by hand. It is traditionally made using teff flour and thus has a delicious sour flavour.
On my most recent pilgrimage, I caught up with Lauren of Footscray Food Blog, which I’ve been reading and eating from ever since my brother moved to the outer edges of Footscray. She offered to meet up at ‘lovely local place’, Adis Abeba. I could almost smell the fresh sponges of injera and feel them squish between my teeth. I couldn’t wait.
I arrived at the lime green Addis Abeba for our late lunch to find Lauren already there and no other customers. Lauren ordered (she’s the guru after all) and we proceeded to delve into talk about life, blogging and, of course food.
The veggie combo was amazing. For $12 there are 6 delicious curry-like stews to scoop up and munch. As we eat, the injera underneath get deliciously steeped in juices. But don’t worry, we have a whole massive bowl of injera in case it gets too soggy.
The other dish we order is the spacial tibs ($12), a gorgeous buttery lamb dish that comes out sizzling. We ladle it onto the platter as well, pinching up handfulls with the fresh injera.
After my visit to Adis Abeba, I feel like I’ve graduated from Ethiopian food pilgrim to devotee. So much so that my brother and I return the next day and ordered the exact same dishes. And we also hit up Mesnoy Injera Bakery afterwards, so we could serve injera at bro’s house party.
A big thankyou to Lauren Wambach for hosting me in her ‘hood. See Lauren’s post for a better description of the dishes we ate.
What food would you travel halfway around the world, or at least across town, to savour?
220 Nicholson Street
Footscray, VIC, 3011
(03) 9687 4363
Two things that I think are overrated – puns and pan-fried haloumi. At Seddon Deadly Sins I got both, didn’t mind the first and fell in love with the second.
To be fair though, it was impossible not to fall in love with the haloumi, as it was actually deep fried and beer battered, like a kind of savoury cheesecake donut. This was accompanied by a perfectly poached egg, just-crispy-enough fried bacon and some kind of relish that tasted like figs.
My so-cool-it-hurts Melbournite chum ordered an equally stunning breakfast of herbed polenta, which came with poached eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, grilled haloumi and harissa. This was photogenic to say the least.
Seddon Deadly Sins, located in Seddon (funnily enough) also boasts decent, if a tad too hot coffee and incredibly friendly service. While I waited for my friend to arrive I sat in the front part of the cafe, spellbound by the cakje fridge, as regulars came and went for coffee and breakfast. We soon moved to the relaxing little courtyard out the back to order breakfast from the Little Golden Book encased menus.
Seddon Deadly Sins has one of those menus that makes decision virtually impossible as the choices are varied, creative and yet somehow familiar. I tossed up between the the beer battered haloumi, the sweet potato latkes and the thai pork skewers for a while before making my choice, but to be honest, I was pretty much tossing up between most of the menu. FYI, they also have a decently priced beer/wine list.
The decor is thematic and not really to my taste (a bit Lord of the Rings/Dungeouns and dragons meets the local organic food co op). But that’s pretty much irrelevant. I’m still dreaming of the perfect, gooey cheese encrusted with crispy bgolden beer batter…
Seddon Deadly Sins
148 Victoria Street
Seddon, VIC, 3011
Tuesday to Sunday 8:00am – 5:00pm
For your caffeine hit
Cafe Dov, Potts Point
Bang Bang Espresso, Surry Hills
Becasse Bakery, CBD
Bourke Street Bakery – All stores
Clipper Cafe, Glebe
Coffee Trails, Haymarket
Double Roasters, Marrickville
Gnome Espresso, Surry Hills
Petty Cash Cafe, Marrickville
Raw 101, Castle Hill
Reuben Hills, Surry Hills
Room 10, Potts Point
The Little Marrionette, Annandale
For a bite
Charlie and Co, CBD
El Loco, Surry Hills
Gelato Messina, Darlinghurst
Jackie M, Concord (bookings required, txt 0424 260 494)
Ms G’s, Pott’s Point
Quarter 21, CBD
The Dip, CBD
Toko, Surry Hills
Rockpool Group Restaurants
For your caffeine hit
3 Bags Full Cafe, Abbotsford
Coin Laundry, Aramadale
Market Lane, Prahran Market
Monk Bohdi Dharma, Balaclava
Ora Cafe, Kew
Red Door Corner Store, Northcote
Yellow Bird Cafe, Prahran
Know somewhere else to eat/drink that’s open today? Comment below and I will add it to the list. Happy Australia Day, chums!
Something you will never, ever hear me say about a café, bar or any other place is that it is ‘so Melbourne.’ I know what people mean when they say that. I can even see what they’re talking about in my mind’s eye. It’s some kind of kitch, bentwood chaired, astro-turfed, bicycle-wheels-dangling-from-the-ceiling, exposed-vintage-lighbulb-studded hole-in-the-wall with hipster clientele and fashionably–mussed student waiters. It’s zany. It’s ironic. It’s ‘more european’. But I refuse to use this term.
I’ve never understood the Melbourne/Sydney rivalry, mostly because it is so one-sided. People from Melbourne will always try and sell it to you, as if Melbourne invented any or all of the following things: coffee, hipsters, black clothes, laneways, graffiti. They’ll give you one million reasons why it’s better than Sydney. But Sydneysiders don’t give a damn, and I in particular don’t give a damn as long as the coffee’s good. We all like upcycled vintage sideboards, we just don’t talk about them all the time. Oh and p.s.- there ain’t no such thing as a long macchiato.
Klink Handmade espresso is the kind of café that would be right at home in Degraves street or equivalent, but I won’t hold that against them. You’ll find it in the foyer of the Gaffa gallery, housed in a strawberry ice cream coloured heritage building. It’s on Clarence street, near the astro-turfed Grandma’s Bar and a couple of other coffee places with good reps. There’s not a lot of room to sit, so if you’d prefer takeaway you can order through the window.
Klink, like The Kick Inside uses Golden Cobra espresso. I wasn’t disappointed with my macchiato as it came complete with a jug of frothed milk, just to be on the safe side. That was helpful as my coffee companion found her espresso a tad bitter and so ended up with a macchiato after all. Sit down coffee is expensive here- $3.40 for a macchiato. But it’s a good place for a quick coffee and a chat.
So, what’s an expression that drives you mad?
Klink Handmade Espresso
281 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000
(04) 1511 8505
Monday-Friday 7:00am – 3:00pm
- Aerpress means no more shit #travelcoffee and #workcoffee
- Why I write and four ace bloggers who do it better
- The five best things I ate in London
- Shoreditch is awesome, airports are not
- I quit sugar? Do I bollocks.
- Cubao Street Food, Alexandria
- The Reformatory Caffeine Lab, Surry Hills
- Brewtown Newtown
- Stay caffeinated over Christmas
- Gumption by Coffee Alchemy, Sydney CBD
Popular posts this month…
- Café review – Flint and Steel (Coffee Alchemy), Marrickville posted on March 1, 2011
- Cubao Street Food, Alexandria posted on May 26, 2014
- The quest for Mex part 2 – Feisty Chicken Burritos posted on December 21, 2010
- The Reformatory Caffeine Lab, Surry Hills posted on February 14, 2014
- How not to order a takeaway coffee posted on March 15, 2011
- Sparkling Long Black posted on May 10, 2011
- Kosher Whole Orange Cake posted on July 5, 2011
- Desert Island Potatos posted on December 3, 2010
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Disclaimer:All opinions in this blog are mine, an everyday, real-life person. I do not accept payment for reviews and nor do I write sponsored posts. I do not endorse the content of the comments herein.