‘Coffee Wars’

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 So the battle for the foremost cup of coffee in St Kilda continues!

For the many caffeine addicts in our neighbourhood, the monthly St Kilda Bites food feature is proud to present another instalment of Coffee Wars, our regular coffee review section of the ever expanding database of restaurants, cafes, coffee lounges, bakeries and other breakfast and snack outlets that have a reputation for producing and serving excellent coffee in the greater St Kilda area.

Our new discerning coffee critic, Oakley Hunter, will be continually searching for and uncovering new coffee houses, and revealing her findings in each month. She is on a relentless quest to discover that quintessential cup of Espresso for our coffee loving readers. Not only in traditional St Kilda’s central Acland and Fitzroy streets, but under her stewardship, it now embraces St Kilda East, Middle Park, Elwood, Ripponlea, Elsternwick, Prahran, Elsternwick, Balaclava and even Brighton and Caulfield Park.

This continues to be a fascinating journey of coffee appreciation. Her assessment will be based on flavour, body, texture, strength and presentation, and each place’s example will be rated out of ’5 Beans’.

The Coffee Wars battle will continue for 12 months and in November, there will be a ‘taste off’ of all venues reviewed and a gruelling assessment conducted narrowed down to the 12 best coffee makers (baristas), who will then compete to achieve the crown of our best coffee maker, at a venue to be announced and be awarded the St Kilda Bites Golden Bean!

If you would like St Kilda Bites to critique your favourite coffee spot, please phone our head food writer,  the Food Dude on 0427 382 772 or Email: fooddude@stkildanews.com.

 

 

GARAGE ESPRESSO – 126A Chapel St, St Kilda – 3.5/5 Beans

Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not an actual garage – just think ‘industrial meets provincial’, and get yourself a spot in the window to relax in the stylish and buzzy atmosphere at Garage Espresso. Having been on my feet at work all day I was in for what my friends call an ‘emergency coffee.’ The staff must have known it was just that, because I had barely let the words ‘soy latte’ slip out of my mouth and seated myself before a steaming hot soy latte was in front of me. Their hopper is filled with Single Origin Coffee, that ethically and environmentally sound bean that gives you that vibrant, balanced cup with medium acidity and a medium body to complement the rest of its excellent rich flavour. The warmth of the coffee and the sunlight coming to greet me and to light up the breakfast bar where I was reading my magazine just rejuvenated me for the rest of my afternoon.

 

 

Jerry’s Milk Bar -345 Barkly St Elwood  – 4.5 / 5 Beans

In today’s pop coffee culture the brand Starbucks has become synonymous with the word coffee in many circles and has become iconic in some peoples mind to the point of insanity. Maybe I am being a little over dramatic, or maybe you might think I’m right on the spot, but I know the best coffees I’ve had were not chain-store coffee houses, but coffee from that little (or big) cafe or restaurant that you’ve driven past but never had time to experience. Well, bean hunters, get yourselves down to the big old-school milk bar, Jerry’s, for your next caffeine fix. The experienced and exceptionally friendly barista uses the St Kilda staple Genovese Super Brazil coffee to make their brew. I knew my coffee had been made with art and skill while watching the espresso fall through the milk to make that consistently rich, smooth, and familiar full body Genovese latte that everyone keeps coming back to Jerry’s for.

 

 

Cafe Two Ate Nine – 289 Carlisle St, Balaclava – 4/5 beans

Great name, difficult to forget where it is on Carlisle, whilst a little removed from the popular haunts closer to the railway bridge, Two Eight Nine serves a great range of breakfast & lunch options with some Italian flair. After an afternoon of shopping around Carlisle St, where I had no luck finding what I needed, I decided to rest beneath the big blue umbrellas that boast about their choice of Merlo Coffee. Here I found a great coffee. My soy latte was perfectly balanced and the Merlo grind had that rich velvety, almost fruity flavour and medium to high acidity. After a terribly unsuccessful day of shopping,

I was delighted to find a superb and calming cup in a lovely quaint little spot with easier parking than the rest of busy Carlisle Street.

 

 

Workshop -  1146 Glenhuntly Road, Glen Huntly – 4.5 /5

A brand spanking new café perched neatly at the end of Glenhuntly Road, right alongside the Glenhuntly Railway Station, with very easy access by tram or train – a little out of the way, but It’s definitely worth the trip.  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, Fair-trade 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, quite the best coffee I have tasted in a long time.

Affable and with dynamic staff that know and love their coffee paired with an extensive, mouth-watering menu, Workshop will surely become one of St Kilda’s favourites.

 

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