Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What Makes An Amazing Coffee Phenomenal?

Walking the streets of Perth to find theperfect coffee has taken me years to narrow my list down to just a couple.Though in saying that, just about every month there is a new venue opening withthe promise of that perfect cup of Joe.

And just as a quick aside, did you knowthat Joe and his cup is actually a real person? According to the highly trusted(please note sarcasm) Wikipedia, the saying dates back to 1913 when Joe was theSecretary of the U.S. Navy. It’s said that he got rid of the officers winemess. In turn coffee became the strongest drink aboard the ships and hence thename, “a cup of Joe”, was born.

Useless fact out of the way, let’s getsback to this phenomenal cup of Joe.

I have a café I like to visit for whatever sideof the city I’m at to silence my caffeine craving. They are places I knowprovide not only a strong coffee, but a coffee with taste like no other at theperfect temperature. Café’s you’d be happy to take your mum to.

But what separated these amazing cup’s ofcoffee is that they know my name. They have a conversation with me and offer mea taste of a new coffee they’ve just brewed from the far reaches of the earth thebean unraveled from monkey droppings.

But recently my work place moved and I hadto start from scratch to build up a friendship with my coffee and the guys thatmake it.

I spent weeks… Okay I spent about a monthtrying different café’s. Café’s at different times of the day when the baristachanged over. I compared them against each other on price, taste, service andconversation. Then I went back and tried them again just to make sure.

After my month of intense testing, I foundit. I was able to drink coffee again. Coffee that was everything I ever wantedin a cup. But there was something missing. That amazing cup of coffee wasn’tphenomenal and I couldn’t figure out why.

I spoke to my work mates explaining mysituation but they couldn’t help me. It wasn’t until one morning making my owncoffee at home it dawned on me. They don’t know my name.

And so the second phase in finding thatphenomenal cup of coffee began. I needed a way in with these barista’s. Theywould have banter with everyone around me. I just hadn’t been there longenough. So I found them and the café on Twitter and tweeted about them.

On the next visit I ordered my coffee asnormal, he already knew the buttons to press on the till before I said myorder. And as he hands me the change, boom, “Thank you Jason”.

He knew my name.

I smiled and in my head, though possibly itwasn’t in my head, I fist pumped the air. I’d done it. But there was one last challenge;will they spark a conversation with me?

It took a couple of weeks, but we gotthere. I knew the barista was from Kathmandu and I knew the other guy played a bit of sport. But finally my amazing coffee was now phenomenal and Ican concrete them into my list of café’s that pass my phenomenal test.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Little Willy's - William St, Northbridge

This cafe is the spawn from the little willy of the Dancing Goat in Swanbourne. And it comes with the same vibe; chilled, off beat and a little quirky. 

The cafe is easy to find with the old beach shack chairs out the front, ever so close to the road. In addition there's a setting for tiny people.

Inside the decor matched what most hipster cafe's, which seem to be popping up everywhere in Perth at the moment, look like. Old tables and chairs and random things stuck and posted to the wall. Or maybe, just maybe, there is a method to the madness. 

The orders were taken quickly by Mr Coffee Man with the small talk taken out of the transaction, the feeling that they sensed my need for a coffee fix and small talk wasn't a part of my plan.

Sat outside flipping through a surf magazine, I welcomed the strong bitter taste in the form of a long black, my usual cup to test the power of the coffee.

What this Little Willy failed to do is compare. The coffee lacked flavour, it has nothing to remember about it. Don't get me wrong it was drinkable, but there was no defining feature about it. It was just a nice coffee, and that's all there is to it. 

Overall the cafe was pleasant, people playing cards in the windows, friends having a catch-up over coffee. The coffee was pleasant though not amazing and the food looked delicious (I didn't try any). There just wasn't anything memorable about this visit, however the perfect place if you just want a plain and simple coffee/cafe visit.

 Little Willy's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Low Down, Perth CBD

I can't believe I've not posted about this place yet. I mean this place is a gem! I discovered this place earlier this year when I was working close by and happened to be walking down the far end of Cloisters Arcade and there it was a shining beacon of hope in and happiness in a cup LOW DOWN.

The first thing you can appreciate about this place is its small, all they do is coffee, they don't have to worry about making the food perfect (though it is) because their focus is making the perfect cup of coffee every time. And that's what they do. Adam and Mark have come into an area where to be honest there is an abundance of cafe's and coffee shops, but what set's them apart is their talent for making not just a cup of coffee, a perfect cup of coffee every single time.

I make my usual orders of a Long Black and these boys know exactly how to make a real long black and the tastes from the cup are full and vibrant and sweet and perfect in every possible way. I managed to get my co workers onto Low Down as well and they are impressed as well. So much so that when I said I was doing a coffee run my manager poured her cup of coffee from somewhere else down the sink to get another cup fro Low Down.

They do minimal food options, sandwiches, muffins and little cakes, nothing too fancy but it hit's the spot.

If I was to fault anything about Low Down it would be the waiting time for your coffee. Which in fairness isn't their fault, it's just they are too good. But early in the morning and around afternoon tea time you could be waiting anywhere from half an hour for a coffee, but it's all worth it!

Check them out for a perfect cup of coffee, but who am I too say?

Low Down Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 22, 2010

T5, Joondalup

On my quest to treat myself to lunch everyday and find that perfect cup of coffee I decided to head North. After walking around for a while I found what I was looking for, T5.

T5, is a small little cafe with a very simple and plain set up. I get the feeling they had all the ideas in their head but never quite found how to express it. Messy black strings of mesh hanging from the door way (of which I got caught in) and tables and chairs that to be honest, looked like a dining hall at a University.

So as you may have guessed by now, this wasn't a very good visit for me. But alas I will tell you all about it.

I was greeted by a friendly young lady who took my order of a long black and a veggie burger. I didn't have to wait too long which was a good thing as I started to notice all the things that just upset me about this cafe. The long black was a watery dull coffee that was something I would have made when I was first making coffee.

The problem with Perth is there was such a rush and explosion of coffee lovers which lead to coffee shops and cafes springing up, that a lot of people were just thrown in and given the quick way to make a coffee. And in such missed all the real techniques on how to produce a great if not perfect cup of coffee.

The food came and sadly I couldn't finish it. When I get a veggie burger I get quite excited as most of the patty's are home made with all the spices and little extras to make it a taste journey for your mouth. However this patty was bought from Coles in a air tight 2 pack, something I have in the back of my fridge for one of those days when I don't want to cook.

I rushed out of T5, and my advice to you is if you are going to make the journey to Joondalup or you live close and want a good cup of coffee. Head up to the Shopping Centre and get yourself a Gloria Jeans, I hate to say it, but they produce a better cup of coffee.

One good thing out of all this, was apart from the great friendly staff, there is a bar next door. My next passion... Beer.

T5 Espresso on Urbanspoon

The Lounge Room, Guildford

Its not easy to stick to a healthy eating plan when the food is so good. That is why I over indulged at The Lounge Room in Guildford.

I have been working a lot of late and when I had a week off I decided I would treat myself to lunch every day. And turned that into a quest to find that perfect cup of coffee along the way. As I had already done a lot of sampling of the delights of the West of Perth I decided I would stick to the East this time which brought me to Guildford.

Guildford is a 'cute' little area full of nick naks and wicked old houses. But right smack bang in the middle of the high street is a gem. The Lounge Room, I actually wasn't paying attention and walked right past it.
It has a nice outside area shaded from the heat of the summer to come and a very simple yet stylish interior that gives a really modern homely feel.

I placed my usual order of the long black (AMAZING) and I also ordered my lunch, stuffed mushrooms and palenta salad. The staff there were super kind and nice, I couldn't fault their service or general friendliness. I decided to sit outside and people watch, a pass time I have mastered. The wait for the coffee was not long at all, and as soon as it hit my lips, I was in.

The coffee The Lounge Room use 5 Senses coffee, which is a great brand I have to admit. But I also think it comes down to the Barista. It was sweet and full of flavour, and HELLO, he knew how to make a proper Long Black. Something not a lot of people for such a simple drink can master in Perth. You could almost pinpoint the flavours with each sip, it's fresh and sweet flavours overwhelmed my taste buds.

Now this is a BIG UP'S for the coffee, I can't say I have had that many cups of coffee in Perth that have made me so happy to drink it. But wait there's more. The food that came not long after was perfect. It was simple, stuffed mushrooms perfectly placed around the plate of a basic mixed salad with a slice of palenta in the middle. I had to stop myself from eating so fast.

I was so happy with my coffee that after I had taken in all I could take from the Lounge Room I got a take away Long Black.

If you live far far away from Guildford, it is worth the trip to The Lounge Room. Everything about it was perfect, even the muffins I bought as I left as well.

The Lounge Room on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Dancing Goat, Swanbourne

I have a friend that lived around the corner for years of this place and I still had no idea. Nestled in the middle of some offices and a restaurant just across the road from the Swanbourne train station if the Dancing Goat. A friend pointed me in the right direction, so after my morning walk along the beach a quick stop for a quick fix and I was on my way.

I love these tiny little coffee cafe's where they don't have the time to 'faff' over making people's meals nice and tidying the cafe up. The Dancing Goat was a petit cafe where their focus was on the coffee, and a good one at that.

They have a little kitchen where they can create a wrap and some muffins, the kind of food you don't want to wait for. I've since been told their beagles are amazing, try that for yourself.

I had the normal Long Black and the adorable little lady who took my order was super friendly and more than welcoming. As I sat back waiting for my order, she gave the same service to everyone, a very personal touch!

The cafe it's self like I was suggesting earlier is minimal, some pictures here and there, some big open windows to take in the surrounding suburbia. They even have a little deck out the front to take in the paper with your coffee under the sun's rays. A big table in the middle to share with strangers and some reading material. Simple yet comforting.

But let's get to the point, the coffee. It was tasty and even though it was maybe topped up a little too much. But I can't say any more about it. It was just right, the cafe was just right, the entire trip was just right.

But everyone's tastes are different, so try it for yourself.

Keep on keeping on...

Dancing Goat on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mooba, Wembley

I heard about this place over a year ago and never remembered where to find it. But lo and behold I parked to go to a goodwill store and as I turn around there shined the sign 'Mooba'. Without delay I headed for my fix, though it had only been 20 minutes since my last hit.

I placed my usual order of a 'long black', coffee and hot water, just me and the taste every time.

The cafe was small, it barely fit the three girls working behind the counter (maybe this is the reason). The coffee took about 10 minutes to get I entertained myself taking in the cafe. The three or four tables with chairs. The one random bar stool and the group of people waiting on the stairs that seemed to lead to BankWest, but there was no door.

One thing I love about the long black is you can tell the cafe's that care about their clients welfare. As the drink is so hot some cafe's double cup the drink so as not to scald the hand. I personally find this a major waste of cups and appreciate cafe's that offer the cup. Now I hate to say this but Starbucks got one thing right and that is the 'sleeve'. Not all drinks require the sleeve but it is perfect for the hot long black.

My first sip was the sip I take notice of. It came across weak in coffee taste and a little higher in water taste. You can't taste water, but alas Perth water is terrible you can taste it. The second sip is the sip that defines the rest of the drink. Much like a nice glass of water. The first sip is to prepare the pallet the second opens up with the flavours and tastes. Sadly this coffee lacked on it's second chance to win over my mouth.

It was a watery coffee that lost it's taste after the first couple of mouth full. It was such a boring cup of coffee I was tempted to throw a half drink coffee in the trash like an irregular 'raggy doll'. I didn't however as I craved any hit I could get from it.

Overall, the hype didn't match the experience. The venue looked dated and needed at least another bar stool. The coffee was weak and lacked any resemblance to a 'decent' coffee.

HOWEVER... I have never heard a bad thing about Mooba, so I have decided to attempt another visit. I don't know when, but I do know in this instance the second chance is granted.

Who am I to say these things? I'm no one, I just love coffee and I know when it's good.

Mooba on Urbanspoon