Coffee Wars

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By: Ravenous Renee

So the relentless quest to discover that quintessential cup of coffee in the St Kilda area continues!Our discerning coffee critic, Ravenous Renee, takes a fascinating journey of coffee appreciation, based on flavour, body, texture, strength and presentation, rating out of a perfect ’5 Beans’

 

Cafe De Cuba

69 Glenhuntly Rd, Elwood

An oldie but a ‘goodie’, Cafe De Cuba is an Elwood haunt that locals have been hitting up forever. Maintaining a laid-back, ‘chilled’ vibe (and by no means pretentious – despite its popularity), this place keeps the locals’ rolling in for the solid basics; a decent cuppa, a solid meal and some very lovely wait staff (that cheerily take your order with a genuine smile). Welcoming to all, by friendly service and design, this cafe attracts the mums with prams, cyclists, dog lovers, the boys hanging out for a good feed and the girls in spandex on their morning walk ordering their skim lattes to go.

Stopping by on a tranquil and quiet Monday evening to have a latte with a friend (after being out for dinner nearby), I was served up a nice cup of Vittoria ORO coffee that was not too caffeinated to keep me up all night, but rather maintaining more of a mellow digestive effect; warm, delicate and smooth. Producing a slight acidity on the palate indicating a hint of citrus, alongside subtle notes of vanilla; this 100% Arabica blend was an easy-to-drink coffee that hit the spot.

Beans: 4/5

 

 

Orange Cafe Bar

124-126 Chapel Street, Windsor

Italian and French inspired – evident in the menu options, the classic retro oak timber furnishings (inside and out), incumbent dark alluring interior, white-chalk laden blackboards with ‘specials of the moment,’ and much much more – this chicoh la la’ bistro (so to call it) is well established, with a true local following. Attracting a sometimes eccentric mix of patrons, of all ages, backgrounds and economic status, this renowned establishment is a hit with the baby boomers as much as it is with the younger hipster crowd. A full house on weekends and most weeknights, I was lucky to even grab a seat on one of their outside tables on a weekday morning. Ordering a skim cappuccino, the coffee came out not quite as I visually expected, but nice-enough. ‘Taste’ being the main part of the coffee-reviewequation, luckily, it held its weight! Employing CoffeeHead ‘Coffee 1961’ – a mix of Asian, Central American and African beans; the blend was fresh and invigorating, maintaining a honeysuckle, fruity-like sweetness and a clean, soft finish. Full-bodied and velvety smooth on the palate, if made well, this blend sure does compliment the natural balance of a milk based coffee.

Beans: 3.5/5

 

 

Abbey Road Café

129-131 Acland St, St Kilda

Maintaining a lively and entertaining atmosphere, Abbey Road Cafe is always ‘a-buzz’ in tourist-drawn, Acland Street, St Kilda. Showcasing an edgy, retro and fun decor and always playing funky ‘soul -moving’ tunes, it’s here that you can enjoy not just a darngood hearty feed (or merry bevy), but a decent good ol’ cuppa too! Utilising the Lavazza Supa Crema blend, this coffee washes down well. Ordering a latte (the pick of choice by the locals), I am content with my choice. Easy to drink, this blend of natural and washed Arabica and Robusta beans (from Brazil and Indonesia) makes for a decent, well-balanced cup. Not overpowering, but smooth, with slight caramel undertones and a short and distinct pleasant aftertaste, this blend makes a great accompaniment with food. So if it’s a ‘pick-me-up’ you’re looking for, in all senses of the word, look no further and be warmly greeted by the Abbey Road team! Soak in the ‘feel-good’ vibes and let the lovely John and Angie (a sister-brother duo with a love of food, people and music – as quoted on their website) have you feeling at home in no time!

Beans: 3.5/5

 

 

HUB Café – Hotel Urban

35-37 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Walking into what was a surprisingly large, open-air, modern-industrial space (with higher than high ceilings, potted dangling ferns everywhere you look and fancy-dangle elongated light fixtures hanging in unique groupings), I wondered how I had not seen nor stepped into this ‘cool-as place before. Later being told that the ‘Hub’ had only recently been renovated and refurbished a mere few months ago, the length of this place’s transformation unfolded. Pleasantly allured, I sat down at one of the prettily flower adorned tables (that was gently basking in the natural light of outer Fitzroy Street) and ordered myself a short macchiato, and for my friend; a latte. Extremely satisfied on both accounts, it was the nicest coffee I had tried all day. Utilising the ‘Genovese’ Super Brazil blend for their ‘blacks’ and milk-based coffee (choosing not to have a single origin), I was impressed with their choice. The profile of the beans matched both my macchiato and my friends latte perfectly (so much so, that I got latte envy and ordered one of those too!), but in reviewing my short Mac (equally as delicious), it was perfectly extracted with no traces of bitterness – only the delicate sweet flavours and aromas of cinnamon, citrus-orange and dark chocolate, delightful in every way.

Beans: 4.5/5

 

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

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