Captains of Industry. Suspenders. White shirts. Clean and short haircuts. Cufflinks and everything between. Fine clothing with a classic yet modern twist.This is one of those hidden places that whenever they are mentioned in anyone’s writing it becomes another Melbourne cliche. I had to say that. I also have to say this. I am in love with Captains of Industry (not an overused comment at all).
There is a barbershop inside with the sign ‘hairdressing’. Giant safes. 1920s lamps, tables accessories, vinyl lounge chairs and metal fold out chairs. Are you getting the picture?
Visually I am in love with this place. The clothes and wallets and belts are all up my alley in terms of taste but the poor mortgagee Mise en bean must wait for payday. Why am I going in to so much detail about the objects and the visuals around this place? Visuals play an important role in how you enjoy your time at a place. Remember the origin of the name Mise en bean. Everything experienced and everything seen when drinking coffee is all part of the experience.
Double espresso. Bailey Coffee. Very very short and it looks like a ristretto. It’s a strong drop. Bitter edges with classic roast tastes. Tangy caramels. Acidic on the nose (can be a good thing). Over all, it’s a low range Category 2. By no means is is bad coffee, but by no means is it the syrup-like nectar you will get at places like Padre or Seven Seeds. So it is hard to compare, BUT comparisons are what make us survive or aiming to get better. Then at the same time I think this (because I know this) Captains of Industry is not trying to be a Padre, they are in actual fact, a institution whereby men can get custom made clothing etc. The food and coffee is a side thing.
Men with mustaches. Buttons done up to the collar, no tie. Black framed glasses. And some guy has just bought a macbook and is settting it up on the table in front. If you like Thousand Pound Bend, if you liked St. Jerome’s and their food, then you will love Captains of Industry. The food is tasty and simple and well priced. The longer I stayed showed me just how many other people know about this secret. The views of Elizabeth street from the top are something the Dark Mistress would sigh for. Come here to hide and enjoy yourself. Level 1, 2 Somerset Place Melbourne
Now everyone’s an expert when it comes to their local area’s best coffee, but how do you know where to go when you find yourself in foreign territory and craving a decent latte.
Since our inception at the beginning of the year we have spent too much time enjoying the best and not so best of Melbourne’s coffee trade.
It seems that everyone has an opinion when it comes to judging coffee and a quick scan of online reviews and ratings will tell you one thing’s for sure - Melbourne has copious amounts of options for bean lovers.
Rather than write in depth reviews and have a top one to forty list, we’ve decided to divide our favourite forty coffee destinations into regions and grade them from A+ which is the crème de le crème, to B, which we still regard, as first rate coffee.
There have been plenty of coffee reviews before us, and there is no doubt that there will be even more after this is published, however we think that we have nailed our list and done so in a sharp and concise manner that doesn’t worry about whether or not the wait is long or the waitresses are rude. Because, let’s face it, for genuine coffee enthusiasts we don’t care if we have to wait a little while for a brilliant coffee – it’s always worth it.
Don’t look at our list and think that this takes into account the food and overall experience of these places. This is a coffee ranking only. And although we enjoy a side of dukkah eggs or bircher muesli with our morning coffee, or a chicken schnitzel open sandwich with our lunchtime coffee, don’t forget that point.
For the group of coffee lovers who like to know what beans or machines their favourite cafes use to produce their cup of brilliance, we have included these important details.
Now before we let you properly scan through the list below, its vital to remember that just like a champion full forward, the form of even the very best can flutter from time to time. But back our proven winners because you won’t find a consistently ordinary coffee from this short list.
Brother Baba Budan 359 Little Bourke St, City Machine: Synesso Beans: Seven Seeds Grade: A
Patricia Corner of Little Bourke St & Little William St, City Machine: Synesso Beans: Sevens Seeds, Proud Mary, Market Lane Grade: A
Cup of Truth 12 Campbells Arcade, Degraves St, City Machine: Synesso Cyncra Beans: Axil Grade: B+
Find a seat: Brother Baba Budan is one of the city’s hottest coffee haunts.
Little Bean Blue 15 Little Collins St, City Machine: La Marzocco Mistral Beans: Market Lane, Proud Mary, Seven Seeds Grade: A
League of Honest Coffee 8 Exploration Lane, City Machine: Slayer Beans: Padre House Blend Grade: B+
A house name when it comes to Melbourne cafés, St Ali prides itself on handcrafted specialty coffee. With single origins spanning Santa Ana, Mt Kenya and Cauca there’s a cup to suit every taste, not to mention the best chai in town. The quirky and scrumptious food menu features manifestations like “My Mexican Cousin” (secret recipe corn fritters), “Happy Ending” (waffle sandwich) and “Mr Girello” (shaved salt beef bagel). The converted industrial warehouse space is constantly packed with people…and there’s no question as to why.
If you’ve followed me for long enough, or at least know the basics of good cafes in Melbourne, then you should know who and what Market Lane Coffee is. If you don’t, then it’s time we had a good sit down.
The two main things you need to know is that they know what they are doing - and I don’t say that about many places. They are also lovely, polite and informative. Understand?
Their main command centre is located in the Prahran Market, which is always a hive of a all things that are delicious - coffee, coffee and beans. This younger sibling is pretty close to the action of the Queen Victoria Market (QVM). I’ve never had a good coffee at the QVM. Never. Things are about to change for the better.
Open for business.
Open for pleasure.
The benches in the windows are a great place to sit and watch the action, not to mention ‘that’ feeling of getting the sun on your back. The space is pretty cosy, so there isn’t that much room for tables and chairs. Think of this branch of Market Lane Coffee as a type of pit stop. The life line in our darkest moments. The helping hand when you’re changing a car tyre. An editor when our prose are more purple than ever. You get the picture.
Espresso. Guess Espresso - Herbazu - Costa rica. While a lot of single origins can be heavy on the palate, this Herbazu is light and thin. To expand on that, it has a low viscosity that lets the body of flavour roll around your tongue a lot more. The lime and butterscotch flavours are present and make it refreshing drop of nectar.
The chocolate brownie was a lovely accompaniment and I’m sure it still is a lovely accompaniment in a parallel universe at this very moment.
Other than coffee and all things related to the Dark Mistress, I love conversations between people. Especially if those people are baristas.
Coffee Fan: How many millilitres in a ristretto?
Barista: The second commandment should be that all ristrettos should have 15mls.
Sleek and polished best describes Nathan Toleman’s latest venture, Two Birds One Stone. From the team that brought us Apte, Liar Liar and Three Bags Full, Two Birds One Stone sits nestled in the back streets of South Yarra bringing a burst of light and air to the otherwise concrete strip. The down to earth yet exciting menu features cod and potato fritters, twice cooked marmalade French toast and eggs anyway you like it, and as with everything else the food is crafted with absolute attention to detail. The coffee is Rwandan and roasted by Five Senses or occasionally, in Two Birds’ own back room, and is perfectly matched with a pick from the wide selection of pastries and cakes (including their famous cheesecake brownie!) Just what the neighbourhood has been craving, Two Birds One Stone will undoubtedly guarantee your return.
Two Birds One Stone
The Avalanches began playing as soon as I stepped into Two Birds One Stone. “Since I left you, I found a world so new”, actually, to tell you the truth, since I met you I also found a world so new.
Saturday mornings have a great vibe. 11am, breakfast or brunch or lunch, it’s hard to decide. Gym clothes with the stroller or Ray Bans and pepper grinders? These are kipple that fill sidewalks and cafes and corners and pavement speckled with shade from yawning leaves above.
Two Birds One Stone is owned and run by the same folk that brought you APTE and Three Bags Full and connections to Liar Liar. So needless to say, we’re in good hands.
Two Birds is arranged quite nicely, benches around the windows facing the street, booths on the walls, tables in the middle, cakes and slices under the counter and the rest that follows. Staff are busy zipping around keeping their cool and doing their thing.
I did my thing with the menu, settling on a melon, brioche and passionfruit medley and their Black Coffee blend. I was kind of hoping for the coffee to come out first but the meal beat the coffee by about 5 or 10 minutes, that being said, they were being slammed quite hard with coffee orders so my sympathy went out towards them all.
Watermelon, rockmelon, cantaloupe, brioche, macadamia and passionfruit. Rereading what I wrote as the title for the meal I had sort of sounds like a fruit salad, but it also had a few hunks of brioche too and and some mint. Well, what can I say, I love a good plate of melons. This was extremely fresh and cooling. Very light and much like Edith Piaf, after I ate this I had no regrets. This was marriage material.
Black Coffee Blend. Espresso. Honduras Jorge Alberto and Elsalvador Santa Rita.
Goodness me. This too was light and very very clean. As I kept sipping and searching I found light hints of citrus-like saltiness at the end. It was light, fluffy and creamy. Magic.
The next decision was whether to have the Ethiopian Hachira Aeropress or the Iced Jorge Alberto? Such a dilemma!
Ethiopia - Hachira. Aeropress. This smelt and tasted like (get ready for my stream of consciousness) licorice, aniseed, juicy mango or was it grapefruit. Grapefruit. That’s what it was. It had that plump tartiness that only a grapefruit could get away with, knocking over your glass, turning around and apologising but winking at you at the same time, and when she leaves, her perfume stays in the air long enough for you to recognise her if she ever came back again. With an $8 price tag, it was worth every dollar, just as good as the Geisha that comes around every now and then.
Whilst snapping and sipping away a young lady next to me commented on my pictures and asked whether I had a blog. After a lovely chat, she confirmed the awesomeness of Two Birds, recommended a few of their dishes and also said how fantastic the staff were. So readers and lovers, as you can see, I am not the only one who thinks they have it in the bag here. The White Coffee blend they offer is roasted by 5 Senses and their black coffee blends are roasted by them, so they are very much skilled up in and in the know.
This should be obvious but just in case you don’t know me well, you need to come here and then you need to come back. Not far from the train station or far from the hubbub that surrounds the shops.
12 Claremont Street. South Yarra.http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/Monday-Friday: 7am-4pmWeekends: 8am-4pm
Master Roaster Ross Quail knows a thing or two about coffee. Sourcing the world’s best beans and roasting them on state of the art equipment, the result is Sensory Lab (from St Ali) a house name when it comes to the city’s coffee destinations. Located on the ground floor of the David Jones Melbourne store, here you can try sensory tests with tasting notes, or just absorb yourself in the aromatic space. Serving up eight to ten different coffees daily, there is a cup to suit every taste. Features include an active takeaway window, marble-topped communal tables and the newest must-have coffee accessories. Experience absolute skill in the science of coffee at Sensory Lab.
Threefold - Foodstore & Eatery.
A place that serves wholesome-looking food is one thing, but a place that looks wholesome and also serves wholesome food is something else.
Threefold is a very nice looking place. They have lovely looking food and most importantly, lovely tasting coffee. Some of their food is out on display in the centre of the counter, pay close attention to the taste-styled salads that you should set your tastebuds on to.
The staff are fresh, polite and attentive (even if one of them forgets your espresso order just that once).
They have wine, water (but can they turn water into wine?!!!), cakes and desserts. But you know what I’m here for.
Their coffee is supplied by Syndicate coffee, who are relatively new in the big bean of things. Syndicate do the house blend for Threefold as well as supply them with a single origin. Shall we?
Espresso. Costa Rica. Syndicate.
This would have to be the warmest coffee cup I have ever come across, which is something that tickles me inside. The nectar within this cup? Neat and tidy flavours. Very efficient flavours are coming through, it’s strange to say, but this is a very compact drop of nectar. As Tuco in Breaking Bad says “That’s tight tight tight!” and then he would slam his fists on the table (only I can’t do that). Light bright flavours stretch themselves across my palate; citrus and possibly a blossom. I can also taste a dash or two of a clean caramel, as opposed to harsh and tart roasted caramels.
Pie of the day!
As a surprise I didn’t ask what it was at first. It was delicious though! Pork mince with rosemary or thyme and a boiled egg in the pie too. It was sort of like a meatloaf pie. Not heavy at all. The pastry would surely make Gary Mehigan pull that ‘Ohohohoh’ face, you know the one when he turns around to George Colombaris and invites him over to eat the contestants food. Yep.
This place gets very busy. In the oh I don’t know…hour that I spent there…people were coming in non-stop. Sure it is in the CBD and it was lunch time, but it got to the point where people were being turned away OR the staff were making do with rearranging tables and chairs to accommodate as best as they could.
381 Flinders Lane. Melbourne.three-fold.com.auMonday to Wednesday: 7am-4pm. Thursday to Friday: 7am-Late.