Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Latte, 65 Degrees, City

The original owners of the award-winning chartplace-getting head-turning champion-barista-toting 7 Grams of Richmond have moved on. Their new venture is now open in the city, and is named after another crucial number in the world of espresso: 65 Degrees. That's how hot you want your milk to be, Celsius-wise. If it's any hotter than that, you must be in Perth. You could have fun brainstorming a list of names they'll be able to use at the next five cafés they open. Actually, I could have fun with that too. And I will.
  • 8 ounces
  • One Saucer
  • No Sugars
  • No Sleep
  • Fifteen MacBook Pros
  • Free Wifi
Regarding those last two points, they don't apply at 65 Degrees. That was one of the most curious things about this place: no café folk. It's usually unavoidable: whenever you go to a place with great coffee, it's always accompanied by dudes with assymetrical haircuts chained to Macbook Pros and doing something complicated in Photoshop. But they were nowhere to be found. Everyone I saw (except for me, and Luke who I was sitting with) seemed to have a real job: wearing suits, travelling in groups, talking about important work-related stuff. The place looks just CBD lunchbreak-y enough to ward off the Wayfarer set. This is one of the few great-coffee/non-hipster haunts in the city. And it's a win-win situation: there's more likely to be somewhere to sit, and 65 Degrees don't lose any business because, by-and-large, those guys sit around for longer without ordering more drinks anyway.

“But Ryan,” I hear you say, “that's impossible. The coffee must not be very good.” Well, let me tell you a story. My latté came out to the table fairly quickly. I had time to take one sip, when the waiter came back, apologised, and took it away again.
“Sorry, he wasn't happy with how he poured it.”
The barista made me another one.
That's some dedication. It wasn't even taste-related. Just presentation, and dedication to the job. I would have been totally happy with the first one. He could have quite easily moved on to the next order, but even at first-coffee-break-of-the-day rushhour, he knew he should do it again, and did so. Thumbs up.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Short Black or Espresso?

Much has been said -- on this blog and elsewhere -- of espresso's identity crisis in Australia. Everyone knows what an espresso is, even if they spell it with an 'x', but for some reason we also have the crude, lowbrow expression "short black". They are synonymous, and both universally accepted, though it can lead to surprising complications. You need only try to order one of them to see how confusing it can get.

"Can I get an espresso?"
"You mean a short black?"

"I'm still waiting on a short black."
(to barista): "Is that espresso on the way?"

"Just a short mac thanks."
"A short black?"
"Mac."
"Oh. Mac."

"Just a short mac thanks."
"One espresso...that'll be $3.00."

"An espresso thanks."
"Long or short?"
"?!"

"Sorry, did this table order two short blacks and an espresso?"

Well, if that's not enough, Nescafé seem to have confused the playing field even more. Take a look next time you're at the supermarket:


Check out the price per 100g. And I bet you thought Espresso would cost more than Short Black? Me too. The lowbrow Australianised term should be cheaper, right? That's just not how it works at Nescafé it seems.

Of course, this would all only be worth bringing up if I was also going to do a blind taste test.

(I'm just going to leave that one hanging...there's no way I'm spending $9 on 80 grams of Nescafé instant coffee...I probably wouldn't even spend $6 on 5000 grams of Nescafé instant coffee if you paid me $12 to do so)

Latte, Kent St, Fitzroy

Oh man. It's 2.10pm and this is my first coffee of the day. Remind me not to bother experimenting with this again. It's actually 26 hours since my last coffee, not including that Jägerbomb at Cherry Rock last night. But that doesn't count. Or does it?

While we're on the subject:


Like everyone else in Melbourne, I'd heard a rumour that Slash was going to get up with Rose Tattoo. There was no sign of Slash, but like everyone else at Cherry Rock, I was pretty blown away by Rose Tattoo. From Wikipedia:

“Rilen had apparently taught himself to play bass while in prison...”

 Who exactly is teaching bass in prison?
And furthermore, who exactly is allowed to actually own a bass in prison?
Just think of of how dangerous those strings alone would be.
(here's some evidence - I'm not sure it's Ian Rilen, but still there's some damage being done)