Coffee Wars September 2015

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batch Batch
Shop 1 / 320 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Rating 4.5/5 beans

Not a surprise that the Kiwi loving cafe, Batch, would serve up an independent specialty coffee with ties to New Zealand as well as Australia. Cafe Supreme’s South Blend is reported to offer a ‘Dry spice aroma with a low-acidity finishing with strong notes of malt and chocolate’.

Batch has been doing its thing for over 10 years and has a super strong following. Located in the Balaclava end of Carlisle Street on the fringe of the hustle and bustle – Batch has a sturdy weapon in its coffee arsenal, a Slayer coffee machine – a handcrafted beast that handled professionally can produce some of the best coffee you will ever taste. The Batch barista consistently delivers a dreamy, heart warming and filling drop which I particularly enjoy in the heart of winter.

Expresso ($3.30) – I found the Expresso too dense and harsh on the palate for my taste – it packed a real punch; so would be ideal for hard core caffeine lovers.

Latte ($3.80 + .50c for Soy) – I drink my lattes with soy, Batch uses Bon Soy, which lends itself perfectly to this powerful caffeine hit – melting the hard edges and creating a richly flavoured and chocolatey drink.


jerrysJerry’s Milk Bar
345 Barkly Street Elwood

Rating 4/5 beans

Jerry’s is a favourite amongst locals and is certainly a St Kilda institution. Positioned on Barkly Street towards the beach end, the cafe stands out amongst all of the neat houses. There is a growing trend in Melbourne for cafes to pop up in residential areas and Jerry’s pre-dates this, serving its local community for over 40 years.

Jerry’s serves a Genovese coffee – one of my favourites for many years. It is a light but flavoursome coffee which I find is more suitable for the warmer months.

The Genovese Super Brazil blend has been designed for an Australian market that focuses on a ‘milky’ coffee, while attempting to retain a good espresso with body, strength and sweetness.

Espresso – produced right on mark. This was an easy drink with low acidity and lots of smooth taste’ and a high note of caramel.

Latte – light and delicate. It may be a bit pale for some who are used to the heavier bean of designer coffees being offered through specialty local roasters at many cafes these days. There is a risk of an over milky taste but the Jerry’s barista managed to save the day with slight depth filtering though.


monarch-cakesMonarch Cakes
103 Acland Street, St Kilda

5/5 beans

Come for the cakes, stay for the coffee. This cake shop has been in St Kilda for more than 80 years. When you walk in you are transported back in time to the last century somewhere in Central Europe like Vienna or Budapest.

Did I mention the cakes are great? They really are! It is the only place in Melbourne I know that serves a Sacher Torte, a type of chocolate cake made famous by and named after the Hotel Sacher in Vienna.

Not only are the cakes world class but also the coffee. They use Gravity coffee. It is uniquely Australian in style, and flavour. It is smooth, rich, full-bodied and complex, designed for both superb cafe latte and stunning espresso. Monarch uses the 6 Degrees Darker blend, which is a mixture of beans from Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Nicaragua, India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Mexico and East Timor.

This blend has excellent acidity, bright and sweet front palate with intense creamy mouth feel. The middle palate is fruity and full. The blend has amazing clean complexity with rich, deep chocolate notes mellowing out to a smooth persistent aftertaste. It is designed to highlight the benefits of freshly roasted coffee.


neighbours-cafeNeighbours café
42 Chapel St, St Kilda

5/5 beans

Presumably this place has nothing to do with the TV show. Instead it is an exceptional little café with pleasant and attentive service, great food, and really good coffee.

The outside walls are covering in beautiful street art, and when you walk in the layout and airiness reminds of a really hip Brooklyn eatery. But there is nothing New York about their coffee – that is very Melbourne, which is to say excellent.

Currently they are brewing up single origin coffee from Las Mercedes, Columbia. It is big bodied, vibrant and juicy, with subtle notes of plum, nectarine, mango and honey – translation: it is sweet and fruity.

Most importantly for this reviewer the baristas get the consistency of the foam just right, the temperature is spot on, it is not too milky, and the coffee has the right consistency to coat the mouth and leave a wonderful aftertaste.


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