It's easy to miss Seven Seeds on Berkeley Street, hidden in one of the quieter pockets of Carlton. This micro-roaster, cafe and retailer is hidden behind a wood panelled door, which serves as humble ruse for one of Melbourne's most marvelled cafe creations. And it truly is one aromatic, if slightly overwhelming, marvel. The interior design, the haircuts of the some of the waitstaff, the crumpets, the lamingtons, the coffee lab — these are all little sensations that piece together a giant applause-worthy creation, that comes with a tasty caffeine hit, no less.
Takeaway or dine in, Seven Seeds is an experience either way. No matter where you sit, stand or wait, you'll have a clear cut view of where your coffee is being conceived. Get a look-in at the barristers working busily behind their machines, or the roasters, with beanies atop, in glasses you can't afford, sporting science-fair stares of intrigue at vats of dense, brown liquid: coffee. The team here are renowned for bringing the best and tastiest characteristics out of a bean, and are one of the few roasteries to cup what they roast on a daily basis. There's only one size for coffee here, purely so these craft masters can delicately balance your shot in a proportion to water or milk that suits best. At a glance it seems ostentatious, but at a sip, it seems unquestionable.
Seven Seeds is meant to be all about the coffee, but the food doesn't just sit on the sidelines. Though small and compact, their baked goods cabinet can't be missed on arrival. Lamingtons, brownies, a sweet and savoury muffin selection, croissants, and strangely addictive pretzel blondies make for a selection that'll have your hands drifting to your wallet while your eyes stay fixated. (A word of warning though, confine a pastry to a Friday morning treat if you know what's good for your waistline and blood sugar. It can become a dangerous habit.)
The dine-in menu is just as tasty, and comes at half the calories. From salads to sourdough, muffins to mushrooms, each meal is as hearty as a breakfast should be, with the delicate flavour balance synonymous with Seven Seeds. At the very least, you have to admire any cafe who can pull off homemade crumpets and serve it with coffee-infused butter, toasted hazelnut crumb and coffee caramel.
Yes, Seven Seeds tattles on the side of pretension, but if when you've got a skill down to a tee, you deserve a little leg room to flex. Come here for the coffee, but stick around to lap up the full experience of Seven Seeds. After all, when your postcode begins with three, it's your God-given right to be a coffee snob once in a while.
Image: Cormac Hanrahan/Visit Victoria.