Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eating Out

It has been a hectic past few weeks, what with end of exams and moving up to Sydney for a few months.  As a result, I have been abdicating my self-imposed coffee responsibilities - roasting and extracting.  And it hasn't been all bad.  I thought that my readers might be interested in a comparison between two very different, but equally great, CBD coffee places.  Particularly seeing as they are in different cities and therefore not very easy to compare.

Brother Baba Budan, Melbourne

Brother Baba was just the sort of laid back place that I needed to get me through my exam period.  For one reason or another, I always had things to do that left me stuck in the city for a few hours.  Or maybe I inadvertently organised it that way ;P  The crew at brother baba were very hospitable during this time, grinning and putting up with me taking up one of their precious few seats for an hour at a time.  But, to be fair, I consumed a hell of a lot of coffee!

There are usually only two people working at BBB at a time - one barista and one person taking care of the retail coffee side.  Seeing as there are always two espresso offerings, one or two clover offerings and a galaxy of different roasted coffees, BBB does a fantastic job of exposing people to the coffee equivalent of a sommelier.  Laid back beats create an environment that is easy to relax in.  Perhaps a little too easy - they have less than a dozen seats, so perhaps I ought to be more considerate and move on faster!

Mecca, Sydney

In many ways, Mecca and BBB are polar opposites.  Whereas BBB has a million different offerings and thereby almost draws attention to the roaster, at Mecca the focus is clearly on the barista.  Tony at Rio in Adelaide handles the single blend on offer.  Meanwhile, in Sydney, in an area the size of a postage stamp, you have a Kees van der Westen Mistral, a two group Synesso (for when it gets busy), two Roburs and a Swift.  More impressive than that, though, is the people behind the machine.  The baristi have an incredible mix of experience, competition results and raw talent that has to make them one of the best teams in the world.  In fact, you can bet that even the guy behind the cash register could run rings around your average barista.

With one blend and multiple espresso machines, the focus at Mecca is on getting coffee out quickly without dropping the quality.  The guys do a pretty good job of it, too.  Though the serving area is often overflowing with marked takeaway cup lids and saucers with cryptically arranged spoons and dice, the wait is seldom more than a few minutes.


At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Framey said...

Is the preheat boiler on Mecca's Mistral from Kees or Schomer?
I'm sure I'd heard Paul bought the Mistral from Schomer... Could be wrong.

BBB has given me a renewed impetus to get back down to Melbourne.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger Luca said...

Hey Stephen,

I think that Schomer added the preheat boiler.



At 9:40 AM, Blogger chris said...

the preheat was added after the fact.


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