Coffee Wars

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Antipasto Delicatessen & Fine Foods

Shop G8, Acland Court

156-158 Acland St, St Kilda

Ph: (03) 8598 9384

4.5/5 Beans

In a caffeine driven society such as ours, it is a difficult task to stand your ground as a thriving cafe and no less in Acland Court. Very simply furnished and free of all fancifulness, Antipasto is a straightforward coffee joint that many would not venture a second look at, but for your sake I hope you do! Using Piazza D’Oro’s Sustainable Original blend; a wonderful blend of high quality Central and South American Arabica beans with a touch of fine African Robusta, my long back macchiato took me to coffee heaven and back. The Sustainable blend by Piazza D’Oro is medium roasted so there is a hit of light acidity but it is almost overcome by a nutty, buttery finish. To add to the fun, this particular brand is fully traceable to the regions where the coffee beans were grown by anyone. Mine in particular were grown in Trinidad, and yes, I’m feeling that tiny bit more pretentious but unabashedly fancy.

 

Wall Two 80

Rear 280 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Ph: (03) 9593 8280

3.5/5 Beans

Wall Two 80, resting just beneath the bridge in Balaclava, captures the essence of St Kilda perfectly. Bold artwork draws the eye and the stripped down yet comfortable interior flashes its own, yet very Melbourne, personality. The bean of choice for fuelling many a caffeine addiction is Melbourne go-to Genovese – this brand, popular for its consistency and familiarity, will be recognisable to most for its elegant logo scrawled across a wine red background. I was pleased to see as much attention to detail put into my short mac as my companion’s latte; espresso, crema and milk fetchingly layered in the durable glassware. The blend is sharp, with a look-at-me attitude and a surprisingly soft finish, it is easy to see why Wall Two 80 joined the ranks of St Kilda coffee houses plying this brand. This is a coffee that will wake you up from that mid-afternoon slump, and with such a ubiquitous flavour, remind you of the vibrant locality that buzzes outside the cosy walls.

 

Hawke and Hunter Small Batch

Glen Eira Avenue, Ripponlea (opposite Ripponlea Railway Station)

Ph: (03) 9523 0798

4/5 Beans

Hawke and Hunter Small Batch, occupying two shop fronts, sits in spitting distance from Ripponlea train station, just off Glen Eira road. Popular for its delicious food and extensive cake collection, this quirkily decorated café has patrons queuing out the doors on the weekends. Hawke and Hunter Small Batch offers Red Star coffee, a particular favourite of mine, and does it well. An army of baristas extract this Melbourne based brew with practiced efficiency; drizzling the fruity, punchy blend into brightly coloured crockery. The blend is like a drop of summer in a cup; light yet extravagant, the stone fruit flavours really come through on the clean, acidic finish. The ideal espresso for those a little daunted by coffee, but still bursting with personality, Hawke and Hunter Small Batch offers a reminder of those lazy summer days that are drawing ever further away.

 

Workshop

1146 Glen Huntley Rd

Ph: (03) 9078 9055

5/5 Beans

A brand spanking new café perched neatly at the end of Glenhuntly road, Workshop combines modern, arty interiors with easy eating and drinking, all with the reassuring clatter of passing trains in the background. With eye catching, swirly sugar skulls, Fairtrade coffee brand Cartel offers an extensive range of expertly sourced and perfectly roasted beans. Not just carrying one blend, Workshop presents different combinations that hail from across the globe, resulting in the perfect coffee for every customer. What’s really worth noting, however, are the single origin choices carefully chalked on a column. Santa Sofia, sweet and juicy with delicate cherry notes and a herbaceous after taste, offers an adventurous alternative to your everyday organic blend. With staff that know and love their coffee paired with an extensive, mouth-watering menu, Workshop will surely become one of St Kilda’s favourites.

 

Dining Haul

86-88 Ormond Rd, Elwood

Ph: (03) 9531 9771

4.5/5 Beans

Off the beaten track, in deepest darkest Elwood, is Ormond road. A pretty, eclectic road with friendly locals and curious newcomers, Ormond road plays host to Dining Haul, pun (I’m quite sure) intended. With a gorgeous menu and an exciting drinks list, I was sure I’d find the same attention to detail in my coffee. I was not to be disappointed. My short mac was creamy and slightly acidic, with an abundance of glorious foam sitting prettily on top. My companion remarked how his latte, while the milk was smooth and the pattern charming, still retained the hazelnut twist and bright finish. Dining Haul also allows for a highly pleasant coffee drinking experience. We sat in the window and watched the world go by, as the confident staff bustled around us. As the afternoon drew to a close, we ordered another to go with our nibbles. Recommended for gorgeous coffee or fabulous food, Dining Haul is a perfect all-rounder for keeping us warm in the winter months.

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