The winter solstice has come and been. In this half of the world, we can look forward to longer days and supposed associated warmth. I say this because while winter in Melbourne is really rather mild, the equatorial I am, my preference is always for hot over cold, and these 13°C days are not my cup of tea.
They are, however, perfect for bottomless mugs of rich, dark coffee. I was no reluctant customer when Mr. Meow suggested a coffee at his favourite haunt., the deal further sweetened with promise of a muffin.
Industry Beans is a specialty coffee roaster in Fitzroy with a delightfully unassuming café that serves up a mean brew. As much as I’d love to lay claim to discovering this gem, it is no secret-waiting-to-be-unearthed judging by the lengthy queues we have seen on every visit (but amazingly just escaped).
It appears almost suddenly on a narrow one way street, the neatness of its outdoor seating area making some contrast with its surrounds. The warehouse insides are cleverly dressed up with pallets and furnished with minimalist wooden furniture. It’s got a clean aesthetic about it. An open kitchen is set to the side of a long room that terminates in a roasting area – something about this makes the whole place feel familiar and comfortable. I could easily perch myself at the end of one of the tables, order me cup after cup of the different blends on offer, writing and reading away. I’d be oblivious to the rest of the world, occasionally coming up to cleanse my palate with a peanut butter brownie or apple juniper muffin (to keep the coffee taste buds fresh of course).
But on to the topic at hand – our outing today. Having previously enjoyed a cup (or two) of the winter blend, I knew I was in safe territory going in for a repeat. I was not disappointed. A cup of this stuff takes me back to languid days at my local in Nairobi. It has smooth chocolatey notes and complexity like the mellow acidity/fruitiness of a soft and woody cabernet. For me, the best bit is the clean finish. Naturally, I am partial, but if you ask me the AA-grade Kichwa Tembo marries well with the tannic and fruity notes of the Costa Rican. And, it loves soy as much as regular milk. Must be something about the volcanic soil . . .
Mr. Meow also had a cup of the Fitzroy blend which he loved. I have to mention the cup in which my flat white was served – it is so comfortable to hold. I know it’s a silly thing to get excited about but I do appreciate a cup you can, well, cup! Bonus marks for the latte art despite soy’s disinclination to be beautified.
Ok, this was wasn’t as purrrty but the taste more than made up for it.
Of course we had to eat and it doesn’t hurt that Industry Beans has a decent menu. At last visit, we enjoyed the roast pumpkin & chevre open omelette which came with a beetroot tuile, rocket, and balsamic reduction. This was delicious and I wish I had had the forethought to take a picture before we destroyed it.
Not wanting to share this time, we ordered separately. He asked for the scrambled eggs on sourdough with homemade relish. I went with sweet and got the fruit french toast which is served with a fruit compote, mint cream, maple syrup and a delightful coffee caviar. I’d comment more on the food but my focus is on the coffee so perhaps I will write more on this another time. But suffice to say that both were as tasty as they looked and we licked our plates clean.
We rolled out, full happy bellies and all, despite no muffin (perhaps next time). We wandered over to the Rose Street market next door which has quite the selection of cute and quirky things – jewellery, home decor, dog blankets, candles, clothing and potted plants. It’s worth a visit.
I’d say you should go down to Industry Beans if you haven’t bean already (see what I did there?). I’d say you’ll be looked after by the attentive and friendly staff. I’d say you’ll get a great coffee. But I don’t even need to. It’s just been named the Best Boutique Roaster in Melbourne by the Good Cafe Guide. You really should go.
p style=”text-align:justify;”>What’s your favourite coffee place? Why do you keep going back?