COVER STORY

LINDY ALEXAN­DER

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

We look at what trends are brew­ing in a na­tion that’s ob­sessed with cof­fee.

What type of cof­fee would you like? The ques­tion used to be rel­a­tively sim­ple, but no longer. In cafes around the coun­try the choices are end­less: from sin­gle ori­gin to mi­crolot, fil­tered to cold drip, siphon to batch brew.

De­spite the fact Aus­tralians are not the world’s big­gest cof­fee drinkers (the Finns are num­ber one, con­sum­ing a whop­ping 12kg per capita an­nu­ally com­pared to our 3kg), we do have a cof­fee cul­ture that’s de­fined by in­no­va­tion.

Af­ter run­ning Mel­bourne Cof­fee Tours for 12 years, Maria Paoli says she has wit­nessed end­less trends. “We have seen de­con­structed cof­fee, brew bars, cof­fee beer and lately, colour­ful lat­tes,” she says. “Lat­tes are now yel­low (turmeric), green (matcha green tea), blue (al­gae) and rain­bow.”

Cof­fee trends are con­stantly chang­ing. We checked in with a few lead­ers in the in­dus­try to see what the ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence is right now.

Elixir Spe­cialty Cof­fee: There’s mys­tery around this cof­fee, which is a con­coc­tion made from fil­tered wa­ter and cof­fee ac­cord­ing to a se­cret method.

“It’s a brand new flavour pro­file,” says founder Lee Sa­far, who launched it in Syd­ney but is now based in San Diego. “There’s noth­ing else like it in the world.”

Elixir comes in glass bot­tles and looks like tea, herbal tonic or whisky. “You can taste the flavour pro­files of dif­fer­ent sin­gle ori­gin cof­fees in their purest forms,” says Sa­far. “It’s more like drink­ing a wine.” It is avail­able at deal­ers in Syd­ney, on the US West Coast or by sub­scrip­tion and is served ei­ther cold or at room tem­per­a­ture.

Sa­far, who has a science back­ground, ad­mits that like many great dis­cov­er­ies, it was an ac­ci­dent. She was try­ing to poach a pear in cof­fee and had the idea to use mu­sic to bring out its nu­ances.

“I was study­ing cy­mat­ics, the science of the phys­i­cal ex­pres­sion of sound,” she says. “As soon as I tasted the poach­ing fluid I knew it was the next big thing.” Bub­ble Cup Cold Drip: With a soft spot for bub­ble tea, the Tai­wanese-style drink made with fruit, milk and tapi­oca, the team at In­dus­try Beans in Mel­bourne came up with the Bub­ble Cup Cold Drip.

“We start with sin­gle ori­gin cold drip, then add con­densed milk and soy milk, fol­lowed by our sin­gle ori­gin cof­fee-soaked tapi­oca pearls,” says man­ager Clare Palmer. “As the pearls sink and the cof­fee floats, it cre­ates a beau­ti­ful lay­ered look.” Their new­est bev­er­age is a co­conut and kaf­fir lime bub­ble cup cold drip. Cof­fee on tap: While it sounds more like beer, cold brew on tap is com­ing to a cafe near you.

Places like Plug Nickel in Mel­bourne’s Colling­wood and Danes Spe­cialty Cof­fee in Brook­vale have been lead­ers of the trend, where cof­fee is cold brewed, chilled in a keg and in­fused with ni­tro­gen. Served from a reg­u­lar beer tap, it’s smooth, creamy and deeply coloured – just like Guin­ness. Ass­kicker: If your cof­fee comes with a health warn­ing, you know it’s strong.

Vis­cous Cafe in Ade­laide is serv­ing pos­si­bly the strong­est cof­fee in the world. The Ass­kicker cold-drip espresso packs in a whop­ping 5g of caf­feine per serve (that’s 80 times the amount of a reg­u­lar cup and 12.5 times the rec­om­mended safe daily caf­feine limit).

De­signed to be sipped over four hours, it’s def­i­nitely for those who like to walk on the wild side. Coco Cof­fee: At Syd­ney’s Dutch Smug­gler, even cof­fee has not es­caped the co­conut craze. “We were in­spired to cre­ate Coco Cof­fee af­ter mak­ing cold brew,” says co-owner Chewie Steven­son.

“We added co­conut wa­ter to the cof­fee to en­hance the flavour, then some co­conut ice cream and the com­bi­na­tion was amaz­ing.”

A sprin­kle of raw ca­cao nibs over the top de­liv­ers a choco­latey crunch. “It’s re­ally re­ward­ing when you play around with mix­ing dif­fer­ent flavours and some­thing works,” he adds. Cof­fee pops: Won­der­ing how peo­ple in Queens­land could truly en­joy hot cof­fee in a sub-trop­i­cal cli­mate, Penny Wolff and her hus­band Peter, of Dan­de­lion & Drift­wood cafe and Wolff Cof­fee Roast­ers, cre­ated cof­fee pops.

The cou­ple de­vel­oped six spe­cial­ity pop­si­cles – cafe latte, cap­puc­cino, long black, hot mocha, hot choco­late and chai latte. Each pop con­tains a dou­ble ristretto of cof­fee.

“We like to see our­selves as in­cu­ba­tors of the spe­cial­ity cof­fee scene,” ex­plains Wolff. “Our Queen of Pops brand show­cases cof­fee in ways never seen be­fore.” Hi-tech ma­chines: You may have no­ticed that your lo­cal cafe is pre­par­ing your espresso on in­creas­ingly hi-tech equip­ment. Much of this world-class ma­chin­ery hails from Italy and repli­cates au­to­mo­tive de­sign.

At new Syd­ney restau­rant Bacco Os­te­ria, the own­ers in­stalled a San Remo Cafe Racer, which is in­spired by Du­cati’s “Mon­ster” mo­tor­bike.

“We stand by Faema,” says Rolando Schi­rato, Vit­to­ria’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor. “The new E71 is ar­guably the best cof­fee ma­chine in the world.”

The E71, with its dig­i­tal con­trol sys­tem and er­gonomic fea­tures, was hatched by Gi­u­giaro De­sign, the com­pany known for its Lam­borgh­ini and Maserati de­signs.”

BREAK­ING GROUND

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