Roasting coffee in Melbourne is what collecting and trading cards used to be like back in the '90s. But we've always been keen on the more rare finds (here's looking at you unassuming keyring collection) and so have decided to collate a list of Melbourne's more matchbox-sized coffee collectables — that is, the best specialty coffee in the city.
Notable mentions go to Assembly and Patricia who've started to roast their own beans, but this must-hit list captures the current top of the crops, some of Melbourne's smaller speciality roasters who are already doing some pretty big things. Fingers crossed that flaunting our new favourites just means we'll be trading cups more often.
RUMBLE COFFEE ROASTERS
Having trained in the dark arts of coffee for the past decade, the Rumble cohort (Stan Bicknell, Matt Hampton and Joe Molloy) are mixing up some fine black magic beans. Their use of bird branding isn't just a flourish of bright and striking plumage, but reflects the bean's country of origin — not to mention it's a bold and welcome change to the otherwise simple, and colourless, character of a lot of coffee branding. That alone is reason enough to ruffle some feathers, but don't just take our word for it. Join their Friday afternoon cuppings, where caramelly Brazilian blends and exotic Columbians collide. You may even get the chance to sample the El Limonar from Guatemala, a pesticide-free bean that's placed twice in the Cup of Excellence.
Collingwood's Everyday Coffee has been roasting most of their own espressos and filters for a while — both through Supreme and community roasting space Bureaux Collective — and we're all a tizz for the Guatemalan and Colombian espresso blend. With hints of chocolate and butterscotch, it's a perfect shorty for any weather. Mark Free and Aaron Maxwell are leading the roast, with past filters including beans from the Kenyan Kainamui Factory, which brings together 1800 farmers, 700 of which are women. Everyday retail plenty of brewing equipment, so you can bag their take-home beans and bypass the Johnston Street bustle if you like.
WOOD AND CO
Another working out of the Bureaux Collective shared roasting hub is Wood and Co. Their Twin Peaks seasonal blend is currently half Ethiopian, half Columbian and melds together a fudgy flavour with a cherry pop finish. Roaster Aaron Wood is an old hand at the coffee game, so knows how to get those Columbian filters fruity with notes of kiwi, apple and maple. Find them at hand selected cafes, such as Kines and All Day Donuts. Or swap some of your old penny collection for their delivered-to-door beans (via their online store).
TIN MAN COFFEE ROASTERS
Queensberry Pour House specialises in black, white and short — and we're not talking about the resident dog, Phyllis (she's a good metre tall, so wouldn't fit into your cup anyway). Puppers aside, their house-roasted Tin Man Coffee is top notch. Natalie Kirwan closes the cafe on weekends so co-owner Ben Stronach can roast the weekly grind out the back which, he says, can be anywhere from 'a little bit' to ten kilos of the green stuff. Rotational single origins seem to favour Ethiopian varieties and can cover notes from honeysuckle and peaches to buttery toast and jasmine. The batch brew is served bottomless (just pay $4 for a cup), so it works out to be a steal, especially if you tuck into their free Wi-Fi.
MAKER FINE COFFEE
After selling Kew's Ora Specialty Coffee, partners John Vroom and Stephanie Manolas headed over to Richmond to roast their own beans under Maker Fine Coffee. The half-honeycomb half-science project taste cards are as well rounded as their rich apricot, soft grape and black tea sips and slurps – and provide the journey from plant to palate, so you get why you're paying $22 per bag. Keen to hear why the coffee's so good straight from the roaster's mouth? Then head to a Wednesday evening cupping, where Maker showcases not only their own, but other locally roasted coffees.
Published on April 07, 2017 by Kayla Larson