Welcome to the first of my BEAN There Done That series! Where the focus of my reviews is more on the coffee beverages.
When I think of Melbourne, great coffee is what comes to mind. Everything I've heard and read points out to this lovely city being Australia's coffee Mecca (possibly the world). It's only in the last three years that I've come to appreciate coffee without the shot of caramel syrup or white chocolate in it. Now, a flat white or a piccolo latté are normally my choices. A drink called "magic" has also been added to this list and I will talk about it more later.
There is an abudance of cafes in the city of Melbourne. But picking awesome places for coffee can be daunting as there's just too many. So here are some places I have visited and enjoyed on my recent trip:
Patricia Coffee Brewers
I have heard raves from many Melburnians of Patricia's coffee including a review I read from Ms. I-Hua's blog. So I decided to get my first coffee hit from this "standing room only" café. Yep, I stood and sipped on my coffee like a hipster. It can get really packed so if you are claustrophobic, beware. They source their beans from roasters like Seven Seeds, Proud Mary and Market Lane.
I wanted my first coffee hit to be magical and so, I ordered Melbourne's coffee drink called "magic" (Yes, it's a real drink). It's not normally written on the menu and you just have to ask for it. Basically the coffee to steamed texture milk ratio is 1:4. It's either served in a 160ml cup with double ristretto and steamed milk or in a 200ml cup with double ristretto and 3/4 steamed milk. Here in Patricia, they do the latter. Expecto Patronum! The texture of the velvety steamed milk in my magic was amazing. As there is only 3/4 milk in this drink, I could really taste notes of nuts and milk chocolate embedded within the creaminess of the milk. I definitely enjoyed it.
This was also the first time I've come across a French pastry known as canelé and I fell in love with it in an instant. It is baked custard with rum and vanilla. It has soft custardy innards with a caramelised outer layer. I could taste hints of rum from its caramelised layer.
Patricia Coffee Brewers
Cnr Little Bourke & Little William St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Monday to Friday 7:00am - 4:00pm
A Little Bird Told me
A Little bird is a new-ish cafe tucked within the laneway of Little La Trobe. It is owned by Caleb Heaney (former head roaster at Seven Seeds) and Rebecca Notley. Mr. Heany is also a Q-grader accredited by the Coffee Quality Institute.
The interior design by Rebecca is somewhat a cross between a studio gallery look and modern Scandanavian vibe. It felt like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city within the city. Caleb's vast experience in the coffee industry is very evident in the coffee served here.
The milk on my flat white had a good texture and temperature. A Seven Seeds house blend was used for my drink. The body of the coffee was somewhere between medium to full and was a tiny bit on the fruity side.
Since canelés were on offer at the counter, I cannot let the opportunity pass me by!
They only offer coffee and pastries/baked goods at the moment. Like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter to get more updates. If you get your timing right, you might just be able to get your hands on their salted caramel donuts.
A Little Bird Told Me
29 Little La Trobe Street
Monday to Friday 7:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday 9:30am - 4:00pm
Market lane is another popular specialty roaster and coffee shop. I went for a quick stop at their store located across the Queen Victoria Markets. The shop is both a cafe and coffee retail store where they sell their blends and single origin coffee beans. The cafe store had a classy industrial feel and staff members were also quite helpful when I purchased some coffee beans.
As I was on the go, I went with a piccolo latté. As I took my first sip, I noticed the notes of fig and butterscotch from their seasonal blend coffee. I love it when notes of flavours cut through the milk. It just goes to show that the beans are of high quality. It had a medium body so it was very easy on the palate.
Market Lane (Across from Queen Victoria Markets)
109-111 Therry Street
Monday to Thursday 7am - 3pm
Friday to Sunday 7am - 5pm
Last but not least is the awesome Plantation Coffee. This joint is conveniently located on Level 2 of the Melbourne Central Shopping centre. It is also the perfect spot for a coffee break from retail therapy! Plantation is brought to us by the people of Sensory Lab and is part of the St. Ali group. The beans are roasted by the awesome people of Sensory Lab and specially packaged for Plantation.
They are serious and passionate about their coffee. It is also a coffee retail shop that sells beans and coffee extraction gadgets. It is heaven to caffeine geeks like me!
As it was the day before I left Melbourne, I opted with a cup of magic. It came in a 160-180ml cup with nicely textured steamed milk. The coffee had a full body and was little bit sweet that cuts through the milk nicely.
Shop 253, level 2, Melbourne Central
300 La Trobe Street, Melbourne
Mon to Wed 8am-6pm | Thu 8am-8pm | Fri 8am-9pm | Sat 10am-6pm | Sun 10pm-5pm
So does Melbourne really serve up amazing coffee as the hype suggests? In my opinion, they definitely do sensational coffee with great passion and care.