Sunday, February 7, 2010

Are these Sydney's 3 best coffee desitnations?

Yet another long-overdue post.
After my short stint in Brisbane I decided to fly home via Sydney, only having a few days I got the heads up on the must visit cafes - but already knew which three i'd be going to.

I got off the plane and took a taxi directly to:
Coffee Alchemy (Flint & Steel)

Not that the coffee in Brisbane wasn't great, it's just that my first coffee at Hazel's was memorable, a piccolo of Brazil Serra do Rola Moça (2008 CoE #20).
As a barista you know sometimes you just cant get everything right, well this was not one of those moments - there are some coffees you just cant forget and this was one of them.

On my first visit there was a 2 group La Marzocco Linea on the bench and a roaster out the back that didn't want to work.
2 days later I did a double take when I walked in, the Linea had grown by 50% and now had paddles and wafting in the air was the aroma from this thing...

Not only did I have my first coffee in Sydney here, I also had my last so for anyone visiting Sydney if you're taking a taxi it's not much of a detour on the way to the airport from the city.
A must visit coffee destination in Sydney, thank you Hazel and Dan.

Next day breakfast was at:
Mecca Espresso

Not a bad spare machine to have sitting around

A 5 minute walk from my hotel, Mecca on King St was the perfect start to the day and again I had one of those memorable coffee experiences here.
The Clover wasn't in service but pourover was available and the Honduras 2009 CoE #11 Otilio Hernández Cáceres - San Jorge ended up being the favourite at home for a few more weeks.

I also visited the Alfred St Mecca in Cirqular Quay, perfectly located if you're doing the ferry thing and need a coffee.
But it was King St that I kept going back to twice a day and even spotted Salvatore from St Ali having a coffee one morning - wonder if the Sydney rumours/plans are true...

Third on the must visit list was:
The Source
The first thing that you notice is how tight the space is with the roaster sitting next to the counter but I was soon distracted by some great coffees.
Interesting to note that the coffee equipment is all made in the US - Clover, Synesso and Renegade.

Again I bumped into some familiar faces including Emily Oak and Kiril and Josefin who were also making their way down from the QLD barista comp.

Had a fantastic clover coffee and lunch at the Source and then made my way back to the ferry.

The whole Melbourne vs Sydney debate still goes on, I believe the three cafes I visited are in the same league as Melbourne's very best but Melbourne has many more on that level and many more getting close, whereas in Sydney even others that were recommended weren't all that great.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I don't like the heat

Wanting to buy a cold drip coffee brewer for a while but not being able to justify the $100's I decided to have a go at it myself.

It can't be that hard, the massive one at The Maling Room looked pretty simple.
Cold water slowly dripping onto ground coffee, taking several hours to complete the extraction.

50 grams, a 500mL water bottle with a slit cut into the lid and at the other end for a breather hole, the bottom chamber of an aeropress and a couple of paper filters - 5 hours later the glass was full.

Tasted good, needs some fine tuning but i'm happy with the outcome, picked up some El Sal Siberia at Sensory Lab today and i'll compare the cold drip and pourover tasting notes.

BNE Brissy Brisvegas - Brisbane's best coffee

I haven't tried much coffee outside of Melbourne apart from in Europe, so needing a break from Melbourne I chose to head north for some coffee.

My trip happened to coincide with the QLD heats of the Australian Barista Championship where I had the pleasure of judging in both the Barista comp and Latte Art comps - unfortunately this meant I didn't have time to take any photos of the competition.

I had great coffee at 3 places, not quite as good as Melbourne's best standards when they're in the zone but not far off - I did only visit once though so not a fair comparison.

Veneziano - The First Pour

It felt like I spent most of my time in Brisbane here, a full days judging and an afternoon of coffee before I headed to Sydney.
Was treated to more of the Rwandan that was my fave of the weekend, caught up with Wolffy and drank one too - a double ristretto tulip.
If you've been to the Melbourne First Pour it's a similar concept but Brissy has food and it's definitely worth dropping by.

One Drop Specialty Coffee

Ben & Blaine doing great things in a fairly new cafe.
Had a great flat white and still recall the blueberry finish from the Harrar in the blend that's roasted locally by Clean Skin Coffee Co.
The Costa Rica Herbazu (guest coffee roasted by Veneziano) short black was one of my faves of the trip, just pipped by the Rwandan Josh used in the latte art comp.

Chic Espresso

Was given the heads up by Ben about this place but arrived too late for the cupping he was running.
Both coffees I had here a few days later were excellent, using 5 Senses Dean is doing his roaster and his equipment justice.
Wish them all the best and i'm sure you'll be hearing more about them soon.

Cup Specialty Coffee
One to look out for...