Coffee Wars

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Spout

48 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea

4.5/5 beans

This little café, short and stout, is ragingly popular. The typically trendy clientele pour in for breakfast, brunch and lunch seven days a week. It would be easy for this tribeca-esque space to become overwhelmed, but the friendly and efficient staff seem to have a handle on things.

Using AllPress espresso blend, the coffee here has a perfect toasty-caramel balance of flavours.

Short macchiatos arrive looking like a tiramisu: a multi-layered glass of creamy coffee, with a nutty finish.

Lattes are crowd-favourites here, providing the perfect pick me up for early birds or those who partied a little too hard the night before.

Prana chai is also the perfect spicy treat to have with a pastry or muffin, and the blueberry muffins are phenomenal; light, fluffy and saturated with blueberries.

The menu features a Middle Eastern twist, featuring: lamb, Moroccan chicken and sumac eggs.

For funky surrounds and fabulous food and coffee, Spout is a Ripponlea destination.

 

Follow the Leader

65 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea

4.5/5 beans

A hip, comfortable café in the middle of Glen Eira Road, Follow the Leader is one of many quirky cafes and eateries that line its bohemian pavements. Follow the Leader offers St Ali’s ‘Chompy’ blend, with beans from Brazil, Guatemala and Columbia. A South Melbourne local, this particular blend is not for the faint of heart. Being a bit of a wuss myself, I tested this brute with a short mac and found it to be exactly what it says on the tin (or packet of roasted coffee beans). Huge body is created with cocoa flavours and a light acidity finishes smoothly with echoes of butterscotch.

A definite go to for an early morning coffee or a quick pick me up in the late afternoon, Follow the Leader provides complex and tart aromas for the discerning coffee aficionado.

 

Itali.co

1/173-177 Barkly St, St Kilda

4/5 Beans

Barkly Street is home to some of St Kilda’s favourite eateries and on this particular day I had decided to test one particularly excellent restaurant on Melbourne’s finest: the coffee. Itali.co offers Di Bella, in particular their Felici blend, made with 100% Arabica beans. Di Bella prides itself on sourcing beans that are grown with only ethical and sustainable farming procedures, an essential for the environmentally responsible coffee drinker. My short mac, marked with foamy milk, was sweetly spicy and layered with chocolate overtones. The richness was cut through with a pleasant floral aroma and the large windows facing onto busy Barkly Street made for an incredibly pleasant coffee break. The staff were keen to stand and chat, a great plus for a chatterbox such as myself, and even joined in when I had a little English moan about the hot weather. Itali.co hosts a lovely blend that finishes off a rich pasta or pizza perfectly – I am renowned to need a little snooze after a particularly heavy meal and Di Bella would be ideal to wake up even the most lightweight of diners.

 

Monkey

157 Chapel St, St Kilda

4.5/5 beans

A recent acquisition for amiable owner Harry, I arrived on the cusp of a new era for this well established little café. In a week or so the establishment would close for a few days for a refit and redecoration; “I still feel like I’m working for someone else” he told me with an excited laugh. Keeping with tradition, Monkey has retained the Red Star coffee that is so popular with regulars. Roasted in Port Melbourne with the highest grade Arabica beans, Red Star is another responsible local coffee company (they are ethical, sustainable and carbon neutral). The blend is simply named ‘Organic’ in keeping with the growing methods and offers one of the most distinctive flavours I have experienced here in Melbourne, characterised by the unusual aftertaste. The blend offers a particularly fruity taste, berries and citrus taking centre stage. Lively and incredibly drinkable, Monkey provides a pleasant coffee experience sure to stick in the mind.

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