In this schizophrenic weather that strays sporadically between the sweltering and pelting, there's a stickiness that tends to linger with no remorse for pores. The further you delve into the CBD, the stickier it seems to get, reaching sauna like temps and dews. And while weather-goddess Jenny Woodward says relief's not in sight, there's one remedy for the heat induced sweats that's well within range. Blackstar's little sister Contessa has opened shop on Roma Street, and as expected of any Italian countess, she's bringing pride to the family name.
The story of Blackstar is Brisbane is a familiar one to enthusiasts who've long trekked to West End for their fix. In a coffee-packed trip to New Zealand – made up of 14 hour roasting sessions, often seven days a week, as part of an education at the hands of Roast mater Mathew Lamason – the Blackstar boys returned and with little more than flavour memory tried to replicate the finely crafted coffee they left overseas. Alas, a hearty hoorah echoed through West End and Brisbane at their success in producing the coffee that's been liberally labeled our best.
West End has long held cosy home to Brisbane favourite Blackstar, but now they've finally expanded with Contessa – a just as snug little concave directly opposite the Transit Centre, with a simple, warmly charismatic set up. The Blackstar heroes – their coldpress coffees – stand neck up, in sinks of ice outside the café, with coloured caps that poke out like beers in an esky. If you can resist grabbing one, cracking the cap and pouring it over your body Flashdance style, you'll find a step inside Contessa is just as crisp as their cool, caffeinated refreshments. While seating and food is nigh, furnishings and pastries are well on their way, ensuring this little joint is going to be the next Java Coast, Merlo or dare we say Brew.
Contessa illuminates the success and the drive that's pushed Blackstar into a national spotlight. From the smooth, punchy coffees, to the crisp, cool coldpresses, they hold in their hand a very special formula for stomach-hugging drinks that softly coo a drinker into a state of tranquility that marries with a welcome buzz of caffeine. You can't and don't have to skim on quality in the morning now before work, between buses or if there's a train delay – brighten your day with Blackstar.
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