Ristretto in Rosanna? Syphon in Spotswood? Cold-filter in Collingwood?
Over the past few months, I have been coordinating a bunch of writers-cum-coffee lovers to go out to Melbourne's top coffee spots. They have drunk hundreds of cups of coffee, written up their thoughts and sent them back to me to edit. Add to that some great photographs, overlay it wtih nifty design, and you have the definitive cafe guide: Melbourne Coffee Review: A journey through Melbourne’s top 100 coffee spots. This is the third time MCR have produced this guide, and it is a bit gorgeous if you ask me.
Before editing this book, I thought I knew a thing or two about coffee. For example, that a latte shouldn't be too hot (I have since learnt that 65 degrees is optimum - just a moment while I whip out my thermometer, barista!). I have always travelled with my two-cup stove-top espresso maker in my luggage. And I have been known to swoon loudly in public places over the perfect espresso.
But editing this book was a revelation. From underground hole-in-the-wall type places, to cafes housed in old coin laundrettes, the variety of venues out there is mind-boggling. And it's not just the inner-city folk doing a good coffee. From ristretto in Rosanna, to freshly ground beans in Gardenvale, there are some lovely surprises for those of us who need a decent caffeine fix in suburbia.
A lot has changed from the days when cappuccino was made with Nescafe -- an unfortunate experience in Warragul, circa 2002 -- with syphon and cold-filter styles featuring on the menus of many decent coffee shops. And then who would have thought that there is such an art to preparing the humble latte, from sourcing and roasting the beans, to decorating the tightly frothed microfoam? It's been a delight to wallow in the language of coffee-dom, which now rivals the language of wine appreciation for its colourful adjectives and sensuous descriptions – 'citrus notes' rub up against a 'velvety mouth feel', 'cherry hints' tango with 'blood orange' aromas.
All this affrims why Melbourne is renowned for its diverse cafe culture. Yes, I am a bit biased, and clearly this blog entry is more in the realm of marketing rather than musing, but if you want to know where to get the best coffee in Melbourne, check out the Melbourne Coffee Review website to pre-order your guide– soon available in hard copy, as an e-book and app.
*this quote has been attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte