Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Contemplating coffee

One thing I've been fascinated by in the first 10 days or so of life in the CBD, is the coffee experience. It's a whole new world. Back in East St Kilda, I bought my coffee (large skinny cafe latte) from the same cafe every morning -- Monkey, $3.50. It was easily the cheapest coffee in the area, plus was organic free trade, really delicious, and closest to the office. An absolute no-brainer.

In the CBD, the situation is completely different. It is impossible to comprehend how many cafes and coffee bars must be crammed into the jumble of buildings. They perch on every corner, line every laneway, crouch in every basement. There is simply coffee everywhere.

If I walk from Southern Cross station to our office (less than a block) I pass a coffee cart at the station, Gloria Jeans on the corner, the lunch spot with the girl hanging out the doorway with a tray of pre-made coffees calling "cafe latte, $2" in a thick Asian accent, the Sparkling Cafe, and then at least three different places selling coffee in the basement Food Emporium in our building.

And I couldn't even count the coffee options along my route down Flinders Lane from Flinders Street Station.

So I have made the decision to experiment and try them out. Coffee from somewhere different every day until I find just the right one. They range in quality, size (some cafes have three sizes, including jumbo, others just the two) and considerably in price. The best value so far seems to be $3 for a "large" in the basement of our building (unless you count the $2 pre-made cafe lattes), but I'm not convinced they're the way to go yet...

I don't know how I'm going to decide, because there also seems to be some variation in consistency from those I have visited more than once. But this project -- the project to find the perfect coffee -- is one I'm willing to undertake.


  1. As a veteran of city coffee shops, I'd say consistancy is the real issue. Some do their best coffee when busy. Other when quiet. Some just can't do it the same way twice ever!

  2. I had read a couple of articles recently saying that Melbourne cafes had become complacent when it comes to making good coffee and that customers were increasingly underwhelmed by the (lack of) quality. But given that there are so many coffee places, it may very well be that you have to find the diamond in the rough. I look forward to hearing the results of the project :)

  3. I found out today about a blog focusing on Melbourne coffees, so will have to check it out.
    I agree that consistency is essential. That will of course necessitate return visits, but I'll get there eventually.
    It wouldn't surprise me if some places in Melbourne are getting a little slack on the coffee front - but I'm sure that there will be many that pride themselves on quality and consistency.