Travel vlog here:
This post covers only coffee, food wise will be covered by Claire.
WELCOME TO THE KOPI CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!
Well, that’s what a lot of online publications calls Melbourne, Australia. Me and Claire were there for a week, and I average 5 cups of coffee per day. I said ‘I’ because Claire usually would share with me, and why my number is that high is because she will drink maybe half her coffee then have me finish the rest of it..
I did my research online and most people say its almost impossible to find bad coffee in Melbourne and I agree! I was so surprise that everyone in every eatery, be it a small independently owned food stall or some atas restaurant, you will always find in a corner behind the counter, there’s a heavily used commercial espresso machine sitting there. Back at home I usually see those ‘press-button-coffee-machines’ that kinda just mix 3 in 1 powder with hot water and spit it into a paper cup. Nasty. But in Melbourne, everyone knows how to pull a decent espresso shot, its like a requirement to live there, you have to be a barista before you buy or rent a property there. That’s madness!
And so without further a do, let me show you the coffees we had during out stay there. I’ll be rating the flat whites or latte I ordered.
1. Higher Ground – 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
We were FAMISHED at this point and was really eager to fill our stomachs. I saw Higher Ground nearby on my map and since Claire wanted to come here so here we are. We were greeted warmly, something an introverted asian guy like me can never get used to, and shown to our seats. The interior feels like a warehouse with walls of plants and people sitting on 3-4 storey decks. The latte was well balanced IMO, nicely frothed milk with no hint of overheating and the beans taste like its around blond to medium roast.
Latte – 4.5/5.
2. Breakfast Thieves – 1/420 Gore St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
A cute little cafe in the suburb. All the wooden furniture and recycled glass jars given a second life as condiments containers littered every table. This will be my first flat white (FW) in Melbourne and the latte art is perfectly executed. I always take a sip without stirring, I like it that way, drinking it just the way it is served. Stirring seems rude to me. Dark roast, my favourite type! Comparable to Higher Ground but well its not exactly the same (latte vs FW).
FW – 4/5.
3. Gloria Jeans Kiosk (Southern Cross station) – Collins St, Docklands VIC 3008, Australia
We were freezing from the icy winds. Totally unlike the locals, as much as we wanna fit in, our tropical climate blood can’t resist the winds. So the urge for a hot cuppa is irresistible. We were supposed to go board a train to Upper Ferntree Gully station, but we feel that we might die before we even reach the platform, so I pushed her to go order a cup of coffee from the kiosk. I think the milk was overheated, it has that burnt taste with a dry aftertaste which I don’t really appreciate.. At least its scalding hot, great for the cold…
Latte – 3/5.
4. Hammer and Tong – 412 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
Like a communist themed all-day diner, I meant the signage looks like communist with a twist, I don’t think the people here are… Anyways, we had breakfast here after a long walk from our BnB, we finally found Hammer and Tong and on top of our heavy brekkie here, we of course ordered coffee. The usual FW and Mocha. Is it getting boring here? Its ok, I know I’m freaking boring for a fact. So on to my FW, the milk was steamed perfectly so its actually really really smooth… to the point of tasting.. how do I describe it? Hollow? Emptiness? I guess the coffee lacks ‘body’, well it still does its job for me, satisfied my addiction.
FW – 3/5
Looking at you~
I can read your mind~
That’s what’s playing in my mind when I see the shop sign, I can read you mind, you guys are falling asleep with this long winded post.. Well, not really a coffee place, but I ordered coffee anyways. A latte, and it tasted like the Starbucks back home…
Latte – 1/5
6. Industry Beans – 3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
Industry beans was an afterthought because we were actually in the city centre already when I told Claire we missed out Industry Beans because it was nearer to our BnB and for us to go back will be a detour. But in the end we made that detour anyways and had our lunch there. We’re glad we didn’t give it a miss, the ambience was very appropriate to its name because its like a converted warehouse to cafe space. Seems like this is the hype at the moment. The coffee was a darker roast with a rugged smoothness that I liked very much.
FW – 4/5.
7. Everyday Coffee – 33 Johnston St, Melbourne VIC 3066, Australia
Everyday coffee is another place that made its mark in my poor memory. It was early in the morning and that was the first thing in the morning we had. I know right, coffee before any food is bad. But it was really good, the balance of acidity from the espresso and the smoothness of the nicely steamed milk combines to give us a perfect cup of FW in the morning to kickstart our day.
FW – 4.5/5
8. Mr Tulk Cafe – State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Mr Tulk is situated inside the State Library of Victoria, an excellent place to soak up those books and get caffeinated at the same time. But Claire and I are not really bookworms, so we’re just here to get the caffeine, and a cake. The flat white I got was one of the few without a latte art. Well what matters the most is the essence under the (milk) foam, and thats what I went for. Well.. I can only say the coffee gives off the same feel as how it looks. Meh.
FW – 2/5
9. Little Blue – St Kilda Pier, Pier Rd, St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia
This is like the icon of St Kilda! A cute little hut right in the middle of the pier! The Little Blue is about 500m from the mainland and its sitting on a pier/breakwater so its like a hut in the middle of the sea. The walk to the Little Blue was grueling to us tropical islanders because the morning sea breeze is freezing us to our bones. Lucky me I bought a heavier jacket from Uniqlo but poor Claire thought her faux leather jacket can shield her.. Well we had our breakfast here inside the little bistro/cafe and I’ll of course rate the FW we had here. The lack of latte art seems to be a good indication of the quality of the coffee…
FW – 2/5
10. Market Lane Coffee – 109/111 Therry St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
By now, Claire and I are pretty much overdosed with caffeine already but as long as we’re in Melbourne, we have to drink coffee. We were walking around Queen Victoria Market aimlessly, after our meal at the foodcourt. Wasn’t really looking for coffee, but we happened to walk pass Market Lane Coffee. I remember shortlisting this place but we are really caffeinated so we hesitated for a good 5mins outside the cafe. But its closing in 30mins (close at 4pm, yeah everything close early in Australia.) So I thought heck we should just give it a go. Well I at least didn’t regret my decision, the coffee was excellent. With my dulled taste buds (from too much coffee) I can actually appreciates the nicely pulled expresso shot in this FW. Right balance that you don’t find that often.
FW – 4/5
11. The Knife Shop Cafe – 287 Wellington St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia
- Starbucks – Bourke St
- Jardin Tan – Royal Botanic Gardens
- Black Panther Cafe Bar – 99-101 Grampians Rd, Halls Gap VIC 3381, Australia
- Hudson’s Coffee – Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport)
I mostly like to drink flat whites (FW), I dunno why I just liked the smooth and milky microfoam-steamed-milk with a couple of espresso shot. FW and Lattes are similar but tastes so different! As for Claire, if possible, she would want to have cocoa powder in her coffee. So its always mocha mocha mocha. LOL.
But we both agreed that the coffee we had at Higher Ground seems to be the best of the lot. Its a close fight mind you, its not as clear cut as it was back home in Singapore. Because if a regular chain coffee house at home is a level 5 grunt for example, Nylon Coffee would be level 999 mega-boss. But in that context, cafes in Melbourne generally ranks around level 800-900, so its difficult to differentiate them. Higher Ground might be just a few levels higher than Everyday Coffee or Industry Beans. Almost all cafes there are better than our espresso based coffee options here, even those I rated 1/5 tops our local multi-national-chain-coffee-house in my opinion. But now that I’m back, I’m finding nothing that can replace the good ol’kopitiam kopi (siu-dai), Nanyang styled coffee that’s close to our hearts as Singaporeans (or Malaysians). Singapore, our home. Its ok to puke, I know I’m disgusting.
No need to thank me for this long-winded post, go check out the coffee places I listed above, your mileage might defer though.