Coffee Wars

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The Spot Cafeteria

215 Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North4/5 beans

The Spot Cafeteria is the spot to be: super friendly service, decent coffee and tasty treats.

Having recently refurbished, the Spot is looking spic and span; polished concrete floors, white-washed walls and comfy benches out the front make this little cafeteria a welcome fixture in Caulfield North. The proximity to Caulfield Park is also a welcome bonus for weary post-workout punters.

The bubbly barista, Roni steams and pours a mean short macchiato complete with a little cream starfish on top.

Genovese ‘Super Brazil’ is the house blend of choice here. Robust and full-bodied, it is the perfect pick-me-up.

Dark, bold flavours such as toast and chocolate are key with a lovely hint of caramel to round off.

There are a number of nibbles available too; with your popular muffins, pastries and cakes satisfying the three o’clock munchies.

 

Combi Coffee

84 Ormond Road, Elwood

5/5 Beans

Bright and airy, the Elwood branch of Combi Coffee calls merrily from the pavement of Ormond Road. Their choice of the Organic Fair Trade blend from David Moon at Yarra Coffee compliments their bubbly personality perfectly. The blend is freshly roasted each week and the high standards imposed by both roaster and coffee house are instantly recognisable in each brew. A complex flavour profile that incorporates dark chocolate, sweet caramel and velvety syrup that sits softly on the tongue and glides smoothly down the throat. Easily drinkable and pleasantly acidic, Combi Coffee offers a blend expertly matched to their location and clientele.

 

Wild Organic Café

122 Ormond Road, Elwood

2.5/5 Beans

Boasting Allpress Espresso, Wild’s unique selling point is their devotion to all things organic and local. Their choice of the organic blend uses 100% Arabica green beans, which are roasted in small batches for quality control. The blend itself is unremarkable: clean and smooth, but without any of the punchy personality I have come to expect from Melbourne’s coffee culture. Very delicate with hints of nuttiness, it would do in a snip, but it won’t revive a sleepy afternoon, and at $3.80 for a short mac I like my roast to be pretty spectacular.

 

 

Phamish

30 The Esplanade, St Kilda

5/5 Beans

Phamish boasts Melbourne stalwart Coffico’s Dolce blend – the essential medium roasted 100% Arabica beans. Coffico is renowned for their ultra-consistent espressos and the exceptional quality and durability of their machines. My short mac was surprisingly fruity and fresh, with stone fruits and floral notes on the palate. Hints of caramel made themselves known without making it too sickly. Smooth and aromatic, this blend is dangerously drinkable. Hotshot barista Antoine is able to put his expert skills to good use here, hitting every target and exceeding others. This blend is ideal for Phamish’s seafront location, a fresh coffee mixing beautifully with the invigorating sea air. In all, Phamish provides a cool yet comfortable atmosphere and the perfect coffee without a pretentious twist. I might have found a new favourite.

 

Grindhouse

217 Carlisle Street, Balaclave

4/5 Beans

In the heart of Carlisle Street is Grindhouse, a slim café that is a temple to everything the St Kilda regular adores: modern, shabby chic interiors and the perpetual growl of the coffee grinder. Grindhouse’s espresso blend is Coffee Supreme’s Boxer; a dark roasted, chocolaty brew. Coffee Supremes values hinge on respect for their product, all the way from grower through to purveyor and eventually the drinker. A blend that uses beans from four well known coffee growing regions, it is creamy yet bitter all at once, with the walnut tones mixing well with the low acidity. The Boxer blend prides itself on being hearty and I certainly felt that. An ideal coffee for our fast encroaching winter, Grindhouse will surely become the save haven from the cold with their reviving coffee and central location.

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