After being all Snooty McSnootFace in my last post you’re probably wondering, what do I look for in a cafe and their coffee? I like it smooth and rich, flavorful but not too bold, not bitter, and absolutely no burn taste. I like my coffee in a ceramic mug with a handle, not in a glass. I like me some exceptional, charismatic service (maybe it’s the American, former server and bartender in me?). I want knockout food, whether full meals or nibbles. A place where I can whip my laptop out and comfortably get some writing done is a bonus. Turns out, you can have it all. In my humble opinion, these are the places that will give it to you. I went to all of these more than once because I just couldn’t stay away.
3. Manchester Press: How can a back alley be skeevy and urbane and edgy but still feel perfectly safe and welcoming? Hipsters! It’s literally, literally around the corner from Brother Baba Budan. Why people don’t skip that place and walk down the alley, I couldn’t tell you.
I got my enthusiastic, charismatic service with a smile about eighty percent of the time, with the other twenty percent still being good. Overall, exceptional. The first young lady who served me has my mom’s name, so super duper extra points there. She was also a big giant sweetheart and I just wanted to put her in my pocket and protect her. Especially since she dreams of going to the US and visiting Texas. Mercy.
The first time I had their coffee, everything was great except for the burn. The next couple of times, there was no burn and it was so good I had to have seconds. Perfectly executed. Apparently the second, third, fourth and fifth times are the charm. Also, the bacon maple bagel; sorcery and witchcraft. I don’t know what they put in it, but doggone it, I could barely keep from sliding off my seat in ecstasy. I miss MP already.
2. Ora: Ah yes, so nummy. Ora got everything right. Their mocha hit all my marks-except the put it in a glass. Oh well, still delicious and beautifully presented. Their mocha has a much more chocolatey flavor, which made it stand out from the others. That was neither good nor bad, just a matter of preference. Kudos, Ora.
Once again, orgasmic food. Like, mind-blowing. Shoot me dead. Holy sh*t.
It was spacious enough to pull out my laptop! Yes! The vibe was peaceful and relaxed, but still buzzing with activity. It was less hipster and more small town, down-home, mom and pop. That was one of the few things that put it in the number two spot; the atmosphere was exceptional, I just prefer the hipster buzz.
1. Industry Beans: They win. they did everything right. Plus, it was so pretentious and self-important and properly coffee-snobby I almost died of self-indulgence. I loved it.
Now don’t get me wrong; you’re in for expert service with a big smile here, along with some serious knowledge of coffee. The people are lovely. They just did not come to play when it comes to coffee. First of all, Industry Beans wasn’t directly on hip, busy, lively Brunswick like I expected. Nope. It’s tucked away on Fitzroy Street in an old warehouse, surrounded by other red-brick warehouses covered in graffiti, which is damn good, I might add. Their deck is made out of old wooden pallets painted black and stacked on top of each other, and inside you can see where they store their beans and watch them doing all the important bean-stuff to them. There’s plenty of space to park your buns for a few hours and write to your heart’s content.
Excuse me while I have a frickin’ hipster-loving meltdown.
They do a “deconstructed” coffee where they literally bring you components and let you suss it all out for yourself. Some people find this over-the-top; I saw it but never tried it. Too next-level for your girl. The coffee menu was so indecipherable I just asked the servers to bring me whatever mocha they thought was best. I can’t remember for the life of me which ones they picked, all I know is that they gave me my life. They were perfect. It wasn’t just the absence of things I dislike, it was also the presence of a flavor that was…it felt like I was getting away with something. That’s a good way to describe it. No other place I went to matched their coffee, ever. It was perfect every time.
Not only was the food crazy delish, but it was complex and sophisticated. Let’s discuss how I never really understood or gave a damn about texture in food before. It was interesting and…shall I say, stimulating…to eat the desserts with the texture they had. I can honestly say that in the sweet and savory dishes, the textures came together to add a whole ‘nother dimension to food and was already hella good. Plus, just look at it. Have you ever seen anything sexier? Like I said, Industry Beans wins. Hard.
Moral of the story? When in Melbourne, you must immerse yourself in the coffee culture. Linger in it. Lavish in it. Treat yoself.