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Two Brothers – Mitcham, VIC

558 Mitcham Road, Mitcham, VIC, 3132

It has certainly been a long, long, long x 10time since my  last review – and basically, I have no other excuse other than to say that life has been busy. Life is busier in Melbourne, than it ever was in “heaps good SA.” But putting that aside, I had a day off, some reading to do and so I went in search of a good coffee.

As I have lamented to friends around the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, I have been missing Adelaide coffee – having been unable to find a good consistent coffee since crossing the border – at least in my neck of the woods.  So when the caffination urge hit me (not to mention the quantity of Masters reading I had to do) – I had to search for a coffee in my area (within 5kms) that came recommended.  I searched Facebook and Beanhunter and came up with the Two Brothers in Mitcham.

Only opening in July this year, the Two Brothers would fit very nicely into the excellent coffee culture of the Adelaide Eastern Suburbs – perhaps even in its South Australian suburban namesake. Decked out in traditional café garb (read: polished concrete floors – polished timber fittings and fixtures – exposed brickwork – a bright expresso machine – in this case a gorgeous blue WEGA – and an opening front window) the Two Brothers also comes equipped with a rear courtyard, a family friendly attitude and a substantial breakfast/lunch menu.  It may also be a mecca for the local Christian community – as the people two tables down from me were having a very vocal evangelical conversation. and were known by one of the two brothers behind the machine.   Read the rest of this entry

Urban Social Cafe – North Balwyn, VIC

6/321 Balwyn Road, North Balwyn, VIC, 3104

John “Hannibal” Smith was noted as often saying in the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together,” however it is often just as good when the plan goes totally and utterly pear shaped!” as I discovered in relation to Urban Social.  I had attended the Manningham Prayer Breakfast at the Manningham Club in Bulleen and being a complete nube when it comes to Melbourne – when leaving I did the Adelaidean thing and avoided the line up of traffic, that was obviously not going where I wanted to go and went around them, only to discover that they were lining up to get on the Eastern Freeway, which is where I needed to be.  Next thing I knew I was over the Eastern and into a leaving green hilly suburb that was completely unfamiliar. So I turned down the nearest street, grabbed my phone to find my bearings.  Once satisfied that I hadn’t fallen through the looking glass and could quite easily make it back to the office by another route, I grabbed Beanhunter to find the best coffee along my way – and that is how I found Urban Social in the back streets of leafy North Balwyn, but 10 minutes from my desk.

This is a very trendy place to hang out – perhaps skewed toward the upwardly mobile soccer Mums – with good parking and plenty of space between tables for pushers – its comfortable, clean, stylish – and I am sure, a mecca for the two wheeled lycra set on the weekends.  I liked this place!

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First Pour – North Adelaide, SA

111 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

This is another one of those reviews that comes at the end of a long period of anticipation.  Having been a subscriber to BeanScene Magazine for a while now, I read with interest the development and opening of First Pour in Melbourne and then Brisbane – and hoped upon hoped – that one would come to Adelaide.  Low and behold, the announcement was made – a location was sought – and an opening date semi announced of the first week in November.  Then it was December – and then because of those damnable ‘unforeseen  circumstances’ that always crop up when developing an older building it opened to raucous acclaim in the third week of March, adding another feather into the coffee cap(ucino) of  North Adelaide’s burgeoning speciality coffee scene.

The redevelopment of their building has been done well – with a clean, crisp interior that incorporates a subtle nod to the building’s past.  A central island, featuring all the coffee wizardry is the store focal point and beneath our feet (or bottoms if you found a seat), is a subterranean cupping room – or so the legend goes.  Greeted upon arrival by polite, friendly staff – the various blends and processes were explained – then you can select, purchase and enjoy.

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Taylor blend – Stoneyfell, SA

1/34 Hallett Road, Stoneyfell, SA, 5066

Taylor Blend was one of the very first speciality coffee places recommended to me to review when I started this blog – and after nearly three years and 99 other coffee reviews, I finally made it.  Yes – for those who are good at maths, this is my 100th coffee review – congratulations to me, and congratulations to Taylor Blend for making the 100th review such a [spoiler alert] positive experience.  Nestled in the leafy green, well to do suburb of Stonyfell, Taylor blend is exactly what you’d want and expect from a speciality coffee place.  It is inviting, comfortable, spacious – has a great outlook, friendly staff, skilled staff, coffee conscious staff – and other than it being out of the way – it is up there with my other favourite locations.

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Caffeteca Espresso and Panini Bar – North Adelaide, SA

53 Tynte Street, North Adelaide, SA, 5006

I am not sure how happy I am with this place.  It has nothing to do with the coffee – which is great (see below) – it has more to do with their timing.  For four years, I worked in an office literally across the street from them – and back then, Caffetecca was a continental deli – if it has been this great little cafe back then – perhaps my coffee addiction would have started years earlier. Situated on the corner of Margaret Street – about half way down Tynte towards the hills – Caffetecca – is quickly building a good reputation for quality coffee and great panini – although I have only had the coffee.  Perched on a high stool, in the window seat I was able to enjoy my latte and ristretto while taking in views of my old red bricked office – and the people who were out and about enjoying the Adelaide Cup day sunshine. Read the rest of this entry

a mother’s milk – Unley, SA

105 Unley Road, Unley, SA, 5061

I have waited so long for this place to open – I even made an aborted attempt a few weeks back only to discover I had chosen the only day in seven that they are closed (Tuesday) – and today, with my friend and colleague David in tow – the threshold of a mother’s milk was crossed.  Now remembering that this place has only been opened now for about a month….The first thing you notice about this most recent addition to the Adelaide speciality coffee scene, is that it is warm and inviting – and that is not just a comment on how it appeared during the cold, wet and wintery final day of summer on which I first entered – because the aesthetic is trendy, yet comfortable – and then there is the customer service. We were greeted like long lost brothers – “Glad you could make it” was the greeting.  Now, while I have met the owner (Stef) on two occasions at his previous place of employ – the chances are that he wouldn’t know me if he tripped over me – but with such a simple, yet sincere greeting (rather than a person behind the counter looking up from their facebooking, inwardly groaning and then plastering on a fake smile) Dave and I were able to relax, shrug of the stresses of the morning and peruse the substantial menu before deciding just on some coffees (assuming that six constitutes ‘some’).  Like all the speciality coffee places across Adelaide, a mother’s milk had a number of coffee types on offer – and this was the first time – ever – I was asked which bean I’d like to try – and you’ll find out which if you read on.  Read the rest of this entry

Coffee Branch – Adelaide, SA

32 Leigh Street, Adelaide CBD, SA, 5000

 Not sure how long the Coffee Branch has been open for – but for quite awhile it has been the place of legend.  Even amongst the quality baristas that are popping up all around the city, they speak of the coffee experience at ‘the branch’ in hushed, awestruck tones…and finally – much like Bilbo on his way to Smaug’s Mountain – I made it to Coffee Branch.

Nestled in a ‘hole in the wall’ on the very trendy Leigh Street (complete with tree growing out of a Volkwagon Beetle – I kid you not) – this is one of Adelaide’s premium speciality coffee houses – it even has bicycles hanging on the wall – that is how premium it is!!  What you can’t see from the photo – just off to the left – is a ‘gate’ style architectural feature which will remind worldly travellers of a poor man’s ‘Nottinghill Gate’ – or similar, that you will find dotted all over London.

I arrived at 10:45am on a working Wednesday – and the line was still out the door.  I had been warned not to arrive in the peak hours of before work, lunch time, smoko, and after work – because the line is ridiculous – but I was surprised, and yet at the same time not – that the line was still out there. Once getting in the line, it took of all three minutes to get to the front and place my order – and I ventured out back into the tree lined street to commandeer one of the tables (there are only 2 of them) – there is some bench seating inside and a few tables at the back – but I suspect that most of their business is take away.

I thought to myself, based on previous experiences in 2012 – that this could take awhile – so I, checked into Foursquare, opened my book and before I got to the bottom of the first paragraph (about 3 minutes) my latte was being delivered – and soon after that, my ristretto… Read the rest of this entry

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