Melbourne feels familiar, like an old friend - a city of coffee, welcoming me back with open arms. Just that I had never been to Melbourne until my most recent trip there. Maybe it is having read so much about Melbourne and its (glorious) cafe culture that makes me feel like I'd already been there. Or it may simply be that home (to me) is simply where the good coffee is. I used a cappuccino as a basis of comparison - I find that it strikes the best balance between the quality of espresso and milk. Australia may be the home of the flat white, but the few I did try were so milky that I couldn't truly appreciate the coffee.
I had the impression that the coffee in Melbourne was going to be on the acidic side, similar to how the Scandinavians appreciate their coffee. I'm not much of a fan of the lighter roasts as I struggle to get past the bitterness to appreciate the flavours in the coffee. But Melbourne surprised me - even the lighter roasts were tastefully done, and very enjoyable. It might have to do with the fact that the coffee culture in Melbourne was fuelled by the arrival of Italian immigrants in the 19th century - bringing their mighty espresso with them.
I'm going to break my coffee diary into a few parts, to keep things exciting and *~digestable~*. Also because I would like to keep my blog updated and I'm currently working, so it would probably be September by the time I get everything up in one post. On another note, I'm rather excited about the fact that Taylor Swift is back on Spotify. Guilty pleasures, just like my hazelnut cappuccinos.
1. The Hardware Societe
This was our first coffee stop in Melbourne, a two-minute walk from our apartment. It was 2pm on a Monday afternoon yet there was a long queue for a table. That said, we were lucky enough to get a lovely table outside away from the noise, and the weather was perfect. I ordered a flat white, and Nat, a cappuccino.
The coffee had a chocolatey, balanced flavour - it was neither too sweet nor bitter, and the sharpness of the coffee comes out in the aftertaste. I found the milk overpowered the taste of the coffee a little in the flat white; but I guess that's how flat whites run the risk of turning out sometimes. Nat thought this was the epitome of a flat white, though! I enjoyed the cappuccino a little better, as the flavours were more pronounced.
We also shared the lobster benedict there, but I'll share more about that in my food diary post!!~
120 Hardware Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Mon - Fri: 7:30am - 3pm
Sat - Sun: 8am - 3pm
2. Patricia Coffee Brewers
Patricia is a hidden coffee joint with standing room only, which was the first thing that stood out to me when we finally located the elusive cafe. The focus is on their coffee, with a small selection of pastries to go with your coffee. As you can see below, there is a small menu with only black, white, and filter options. I imagine it is a convenient takeaway joint for the lawyers in the area, given that the Supreme Court of Victoria is just down the road!
We settled into a little nook by a window, and someone served us sparkling water - such a lovely touch! It was very cosy and although the space was so tiny and relatively busy, we had more than enough space to really enjoy the coffee. The coffee had a thick and creamy texture (thanks to the milk), and I enjoyed the dark chocolate notes. It's simple yet complex at the same time - easy on the palate, but there is something more going on underneath.
Little Bourke Street and Little William Street, Melbourn VIC 3000
Mon - Sat: 7am - 5pm
Sun: 9am - 5pm
3. Market Lane Coffee
The coffee cup is probably what Market Lane is famous for - other than the coffee itself, of course. Everyone with an Instagram account knows Market Lane, but to be fair, I first found out about Market Lane through Instagram. The wonders of the world of social media! I visited the branch in Queen Victoria Market, where it stands out amidst the more traditional-styled eateries.
My friend told me that this was one of the stronger coffees she had in Melbourne, and she was quite right - their coffee felt bolder and a lot more organic. I really enjoyed the fruity aftertaste - swish the coffee around in your mouth for a bit, and you get this lingering peachy aftertaste which is very delightful!
Queen Victoria Market
Tue, Thu: 7am - 2pm
Fri: 7am - 4pm
Sat: 7am - 3pm
Sun: 8am - 4pm
Closed Mon and Wed
4. Seven Seeds
Located down the road from the University of Melbourne, this is a convenient coffee joint for all the university students. I do envy them; living in a city where good coffee is so readily available! Seven Seeds has an interesting atmosphere about it - on first glance, it looks and seems like the kind of place you could kick back with a good book and a warm cup of coffee, but there is an undercurrent of busyness about it. The air is laidback, yet buzzing. Is this what living in a university town feels like?
Our coffee was made with the Golden Gate espresso blend - sharper and brighter, with a lovely caramel flavour to it. It had a hint of tartness and fruitiness to it, which is probably attributable to the stonefruit (as mentioned in the tasting notes). I don't know what stonefruit is, much less how it tastes, but I could taste the caramel and chocolate, so that is the logical conclusion. We drank this on the way to the Melbourne zoo and it certainly was refreshing!
106-114 Berkeley Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Mon - Sat: 7am - 5pm
Sun: 8am - 5pm
If you can only go to one place on this list,
Definitely Patricia Coffee Brewers. Drinking coffee is an experience, and Patricia was a lovely experience with its unique standing-room-only culture, sparkling water and delicious coffee to top it off. A great place for both the busy CBD people and tourists alike.
I've decided to introduce this section as I'm splitting up my coffee diary into parts, and it would help if you only have time to go to a few places! It also helps to sift out my absolute favourite places in Melbourne as reference for future trips (on a platform other than in my head).
See you in part two!! x