I love Italian coffee culture; I even find lots of excitement in the Hungarian coffee scene. But what I’ve experienced in Australia exceeded my already high expectations.
I found good coffee places in Sydney as well, but what surprised me is that while in Europe most of the “progressive” fine dining restaurants follow the new waves in coffee brewing (e.g. French press, chemex or use of other equipments), down under, even at places where they follow the latest wine trends (sometimes even the non-sense ones), they have espresso based coffees only.
But Melbourne rocks. It’s really full of restaurants and coffee shops, everything is crowded and everyone is eating and drinking like there’s no tomorrow. At the restaurants, bars, cafés you need to queue before getting in. It’s likely that the number of specialty coffee shops is only exceeded by the number of the top lists of the best specialty coffee shops. I visited quite a few in the end and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I saw professionalism everywhere. It wouldn’t make much sense to rank them, so I will just present my favourite ones through pictures. I drank mostly espresso, which is special, but obviously you’ll find a flat white, Australia’s favourite, or different types of filter coffees almost everywhere.
There are a few signs, which indicate that you are in one of the coolest coffeehouses. If some of these are true, then it’s guaranteed that you are at the right place:
- long queue
- the place is difficult to find, hardly recognisable, there are no signs, it’s far from the street
- standing room, no seats
- the barista lady has tattoos and piercings
- the male barista has a beard and/or tattoos
- in front of the place, lots of people are sitting on things, which were not meant to be sat on, e.g. on beer crates
- there’s a separate coffee menu
- the coffeehouse has its own roasting machine
- the guests are hipsters
- everyone is dressed awfully
- the interior design is very minimalistic
- there are guests with strollers
- the graphic design (if there’s one) is of high standard
- lots of people are taking selfies, or are posting on instagram
- and, last but not least, the coffee is very good!
(this was maybe my favourite, I even got to taste their filter coffee after my espresso, when they saw that I am interested in the topic. From the street, the place was completely unrecognisable; you could only see the people sitting outside. Since there are no seats inside, they hang the newspapers on the wall to make it easier to read them - very clever idea.)
This is how they work at Patricia:
(They also do wholesale, and you can even eat in the huge cafe. The graphics, colours, pictograms are mesmerizing.)
This is the way they work at Seven Seeds:
MARKET LANE COFFEE
(they have several stores)
THE VERTUE OF THE COFFEE DRINK
(It’s a very hipster place, there is only one tiny sign in a dead-end street behind a petrol station. But inside, the ambience is very lively and they have a huge breakfast menu as well as their own roasting machine.)
(The coffee is great here as well, but the spirit of the place didn’t come through.)
(They are closed now, the building has been emptied)
(They didn’t put much emphasis on the interior design but their coffee is amazing.)
Here is my flight over Melbourne with Picture This Ballooning, enjoy it with a nice coffee of your choice: