Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Slayer Espresso, St Ali, South Melbourne

Slayer has arrived in South Melbourne.

We are of course talking about the Slayer espresso machine that recently arrived and had its launch party at St Ali last night. I was unable to attend, but felt it was my duty as a coffee blogger to get there within 24 hours to see what all the hype is about, and hopefully get to have a taste too. I was looking for an excuse to get down to South Melbourne, and then, as if by fate, Dave called and said he had the day off, and was walking the dog around South Melbourne, and would I like to grab a coffee?
Hell yes. It was Slayer time.
After ascertaining that that outdoor-looking bit is still not dog-friendly, we chained up Shandy out the front and had a seat. Even through the window, I could see the Slayer set up on the bench in there. I hadn't seen one in person before, but there was no doubt that was it. It was big, it was shiny, it was metal, and above all it was black. Very. Not only was it painted black, but it was also a source of such potent caffeinated energy that even light could not escape its surface. Every time you thought you caught a glimpse of it from outside, you were wrong. It was just a void, with two grinders next to it. Even the light from the polished shiny non-black bits actually bent on the way across the room, warping the image somewhat. I was going to have to get a closer. But later. I could see there were beans in one of the grinders, so this thing was obviously in action. According to the waitress, they have a blend specifically for the Slayer, called Black Magic. Dave rolled his eyes a bit, as if to say, "Yeah, cool name, but what's it actually like?" I sure wanted to find out, even though I thought the name was a little disappointing. Black Magic sounded more like a blend for a machine called Fleetwood Mac or Santana or something. Not Slayer. Some potential Slayer blend names:
Actually, any Slayer song or album works okay, either with or without a coffee pun inserted.

Anyhow, we ordered some short black magic. It was a whole lot of taste. I'm lucky to hang around with a lot of people who can sum up flavours pretty well in one sentence, and Dave is no exception.
"It drinks like a meal!"
He also was getting a lot of thyme and rosemary in there. I wasn't. My nose isn't quite that clever yet.
So it was fantastic, but was it the beans or the Slayer? We went inside for a closer look.
Slayer in person is a thing to behold, a marvel of design, a beautiful hand-made industrial thing, evoking at once Professor X's wheelchair, Marvin the Martian's spaceship, Darth Vader's helmet, the steam-powered spider thing from Wild Wild West, and Sputnik, while still feeling like it was all hammered together by a blacksmith. And that's just the metal bits. The wooden paddles over the groupheads are the kind of luxurious wooden craftsmanship you would expect to see on a luxury Italian speedboat. Paddles that Tom Ripley would be glad to clock someone over the head with in the middle of the Mediterranean. Paddles that Indiana Jones would think nothing of as they got chewed up by a propeller while he punches on with that guy in the fez with the tattoo. So if one had to put it in a box it would be 50s/60s/70s/80s/90s/prehistoric/sci-fi/steampunk/postmedievalpostpostmodern handmade chic.

So the taste checks out, it looks fantastic, but what about seeing it in action? Well luckily for us, our interest in the machine was noticed, and we were given honorary backstage Slayer passes.

The iPhone camera didn't quite do the moment justice, but you can see the four major elements at play here:
  • the naked portafilter
  • the barista
  • the shot (it made me want another one)
  • the angled mirror so the barista can watch the shot come out.
Okay. I'm convinced now. I'll have to find more excuses to come to St Ali more often. Oh what the hell. Slayer is its own reward.


  1. Wooooooo. Slayer.

    Fuck, I lol'd at this post.

    Ryan, next TCE gig you guys do in Sydney, cover Raining Blood or South of Heaven, or Silent Scream... or ANY SLAYER SONG.

    You could easily pull it off.

  2. slayer album 'Show No Mercy' track 6 "Black Magic"

  3. Ben: I was thinking the same thing. We might have to slow them down to make up for our lack of guitars, but a lot of those songs, at half speed, still go for only about four minutes. Could be fun.

    Woody: Yeeah! Nice Slayer knowledge. It still reminds me of Santana though...

  4. Haha, indeed they do. The entire Reign in Blood album is only 29 or 30 minutes, isn't it?

    If you're seriously going to do it, record it! Just in case I don't make the show (could be 18+, etc. Hope not though).