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Trying the Trifecta

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What started as an impromptu Saturday morning Bean Brewding get together, turned into an all morning coffee event at West End’s The Coffee Roaster. We had heard that The Coffee Roaster had a ‘Trifecta’ on-site and we were all intrigued and keen to try a brew or two from this somewhat hybrid, mash together of a machine.

One of the Beans had earlier that morning picked up a bag of ‘Mesele Haille’ Ethiopian Yirgacheffe from the CUP Coffee Roastery—roasted light for filter—which seemed like the perfect bean to put the Trifecta through its paces. Now the Trifecta is an interesting device: it’s got buttons, lights and an LCD screen like an automatic espresso machine, it’s got a clear coffee chamber like an AeroPress, it’s got a group head like a standard espresso machine, the group head has a metal filter screen like a French Press … it really is a unique mix!

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After grinding some of the Yirgacheffe beans the coffee was loaded into the Trifecta’s coffee chamber, then a simple press of the start button and the machine sprung into action. We watched the coffee through the clear chamber as it seemingly magically filled with hot water (we’re still not sure where the water appeared from!), then it sat for a bit to steep. Then the LCD screen declared that it was now creating ‘turbulence’, at which time the coffee and water in the clear chamber began swirl around like a mini spa bath! Then it sat again for a bit, then more turbulence. Once it had finished its automated process, a bright white LED lit up the base of the machine like a stage light, and the coffee began to pour out of the base of the chamber.

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Certainly a very nifty machine … but the ultimate test is how the coffee tasted. The best way to describe it was somewhere between an AeroPress and a French Press (plunger) coffee. The coffee wasn’t as clean and pure as an AeroPress and had a tiny bit of sediment left over in the bottom of each cup we poured. The guys at The Coffee Roaster said they we’re still experimenting with the Trifecta, so it’s possible that tweaking a few of the settings might yield an a more impressive result. Still, it was a fascinating process to watch and it’s definitely a very unique machine in an already diverse industry of machines and techniques.

Where’s the best shlong in Brisbane?

The shlong is fast becoming one of our favourite black coffees, so it was no surprise we went on a quest to answer the question, ‘where’s the best shlong in Brisbane?’ It’s not uncommon to get some weird looks if you’re game to ask for a shlong … check out our Bear Bones Espresso post for a classic reaction!

So what is a shlong? In essence, it’s a short long … usually a double shot with equal amounts of hot water. Not quite a long black and a bit more than a doppio. View our guide to getting to know your coffee. Sometimes called a ‘long black, low tide’… but shlong is our flavourite! Here are our picks for the best shlongs in Brisbane:

Dandelion and Driftwood

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We had our first shlong well over a year ago … at that time we couldn’t believe our ears when Peter said, ‘how about a shlong?’ We had to have one just for the novelty factor, even though we weren’t quite sure what to expect! The delightfully extracted Ethiopian left us in no doubt, this was a coffee drink of real merit. Since then, time and again, Dandelion and Driftwood deliver delightful shlongs!

First Pour

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It’s always a delight to walk into a coffee shop and have baristas say ‘no worries’. In fact we had a short shlong on First Pour’s Seasonal blend at the barista’s recommendation … she said, ‘I drink way too much coffee so I have short shlongs all the time.’ Then the super shlong, the barista cracked open a bag of a Guatemalan single origin from the retail shelf suggesting it would be super. Whoa … it was super and delivered a double shot of deliciousness. It made the cut after the first sip!

LTD Espresso + Brew Bar

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The shlong has been on LTD’s menu for a long time  … Not only that, Luke shared his shlong on Twitter! The recipe of course. We’ve shown many a barista the tweet following our request for a shlong. You will always get a beautifully extracted shlong at LTD, whether it’s a single origin or a tasty blend. We were going to say it was our drink of choice until we had the C&T … but that’s another post!

Bear Bones Espresso

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When we asked for the shlong, one brekky diner nearly dropped her avocado smash on toast when she heard the order. ‘Is that the same as a long black, low tide? I just want to make sure we’re talking the same language’, Kurtis inquired. The double ristretto shlong arrived on the House blend and definitely gave a hint of fruitiness.

Contessa by Blackstar

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The Single origin on offer was a Nicaraguan Maragogype — the beans were so big they nearly popped out of the hopper. Donald was keen to take on the shlong and delivered it as a double ristretto. There was a definite colour profile of orange.

Solo Espresso

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A Guatemalan Plan Del Guayabo single origin was on offer at Solo. For some reason when we ask for a shlong, it’s closely followed by polite weird looks. With directions darting everywhere, the first solo attempt of the shlong at the La Marzocco machine took flight and delivered a bright aroma and a delightful experience for the palate.

Tell us about your best shlong in Brisbane by leaving a comment, @BeanBrewding or Facebook or Google+.

Simply Beans in Underwood

The Roastery

Simply Beans in Underwood was the venue to meet our guest reviewer Gaill Macciocca. We have only done this once before at Caffeine Espresso with honorary Brewder Adam Thomson. Gaill is a real champion for Logan and enjoys showing the region to others. With a name like Macciocca she is well qualified to talk coffee, so here is her review:

“I used to work with 3 Little Beans and we often discussed our coffee adventures (over a good cup of coffee, of course). My partner in all things coffee even gave ‘the Beans’ a coffee tree each to plant and nurture to adult beanhood!

Recently, I met up with the Big Kahuna of the 3 beans as I wanted to entice him down to the deep south of Logan!  Many believing that there is no good coffee to be found this far south of the CBD, I arranged to meet at my new found coffee ‘hotspot’, Simply Beans in Compton Road, Underwood.

Simply Beans

Simply Beans has been around for quite a while and recently moved from a ‘hole in the wall’ to these larger premises where great coffee can be enjoyed from early morning to late afternoon. Coffee beans imported from many countries are roasted onsite and sold to the public as well as local restaurants and coffee shops around Logan.

Guiseppo (Joe) Anappo, a fellow Italian paesano of said partner, believes that using smaller roasters brings out the best flavour in the coffee beans. Joe very kindly roasted some of our home-grown beans for us, at a small cost. To our delight, the medium/dark roast has resulted in a very good home brew made in our Moka pot, of course!

Moka pot

Simply Beans also runs barista workshops where coffee connoisseurs can bring their own machine and learn to make a perfect coffee.

On my visit with the Big Kahuna, I opted firstly for a flat white made from the (Indonesian) Sulawesi dark roast… slightly bitter but still very palatable. BK had a double espresso macchiato from the medium roast Mexican bean and was pleased with his choice. Being lunch time BK accompanied his coffee with a foccaccia and I chose pane duro.

Our second round consisted of flat white for BK who chose the dark roast espresso beans and I went for cappuccino in the Mexican medium roast. Very smooth and extremely drinkable!

Cappuccino

My favourite though is Affogato and Simply Beans delivers on this one!

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So all in all, I will continue to visit this little gem in downtown Logan.”

Thanks Gaill for your words on Simply Beans in Underwood.

Simply Beans Coffee on Urbanspoon

Flavour of the Month for February

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Bean Brewding’s Flavour of the Month for February, or more affectionately known as our Flavourites, include:

Two Trees

Two Trees Espresso – South Brisbane

It’s uncanny how sometimes you get drawn to a coffee shop multiple times without intending to do so. Two Trees turned out to be a coffee magnet for one bean this month. The Odyssey Project coffee was beautifully delivered each visit – black, white and filtered. Wonderful service … great vibe. A truly delightful place for delicious coffee!

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U&I Espresso

U&I Espresso – Ashgrove

One Bean sadly has to farewell U&I as it’s workplace local. So a visit was a must to bring back great memories. Sacha had a single origin Colombian on offer and as always did not disappoint. Doppios and schlongs brought out the best in the bean. Thanks again Sacha for the conversations and relaxing coffee treats.

U&I Espresso exterior

Fonzie Abbott

Fonzie Abbott Espresso - Hamilton

The third bean had a two-hour hair salon photo shoot in Racecourse Road early in the morning—after playing a late night music gig the night before—so a post-shoot visit to Fonzie Abbott just about made this little bean’s month. Simultaneously ordering a latte AND a long macchiato—assumably both on the house blend—this was a most enjoyable saving grace to counteract the ridiculously busy start to the weekend. The coffees were nice and strong and very tasty. Thanks guys!

Fonzie

Bear Bones Espresso in Fortitude Valley

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Heading towards Bear Bones Espresso in Fortitude Valley it was a serious case of déjà vu … their sandwich board was in the exact position where Commodity Cafe once stood. One roller door down provided one more Brisbane coffee experience. The light industrial environment was right up our alley, which is the feel you get as you walk past the spray painted artwork and black walls. At the end of the ‘alley’ is a vast expanse where the green beans and Probat roaster lie in wait.

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Bear Bones roast their own House blend which is a pretty even mix of Kenyan, Ethiopian, Guatemalan and Costa Rican beans. It’s early days and Kurtis said, ‘we’re still tweaking it a bit and we have plans for single origins and specialty coffees in the future.’

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When we asked for a shlong, one brekky diner nearly dropped her avocado smash on toast when she heard the order. ‘Is that the same as a long black, low tide? I just want to make sure we’re talking the same language’, Kurtis inquired. Upon confirmation, the double ristretto shlong arrived with a latte and a long macchiato.

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The house blend is suited to milk and the Maleny milk definitely brings out the chocolate in the white coffees. You can definitely get a hint of fruitiness from the blend in black. After a self-guided tour around the premises, we were keen for the comfort of more caffeine.

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Our second round included a long macch, a long black and a piccolo. We sipped and mused about the vibe we got on our first visit to Rouge Coffee and how we sensed a bright future then, as we did now.

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Although Bear Bones might seem a bit bare-boned at the moment, there is a sense that the Bear will blossom. Keep your eye out on the Bear Bones progression! Finally, another half-way house between the coffee delights of Brunswick and Wandoo-ful streets. If you’re after a comforting coffee, take the journey down McLachlan street to Bear Bones Espresso in Fortitude Valley … It could be right up your alley!

We score 7.5 bright beans.

Bear Bones Espresso on Urbanspoon

Merriweather in South Brisbane

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Underneath a new set of units overlooking Musgrave Park you will find Merriweather in South Brisbane. Part-owned by the man behind Cup Coffee, part-owned by Mairi MacKinnon you may think Merriweather is the original Cup Cafe all grown up. The other end of Russell Street is West End bohemian, the Merriweather end is not. The interior is suited to the stylish young crowds you will find gathered here along with the Kees van der Westen Spirit Triplette.

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One thing you can guarantee is if Cup Coffee is in the hopper then you are in for a special coffee. The House blend is specially roasted for Merriweather, today we had the seasonal Five Star Day blend. At the moment it consists of 50% Ethiopia Wote and 50% Costa Rica Principe Azul. Latte Lad started with his namesake and found the latte to be quite subtle and smooth in flavour, yet without tasting weak—quite an interesting combination of qualities. The single origin on offer was an organic Bolivian Eight Estrellas from farms in Colonia San Juan. We had one long macchiato and one long black. The long macc was smooth and delicate … It was difficult to detect a stand out flavour. The long black made it easier to detect a candy sweetness, bringing the colour red to mind. The barista did justice to the bean and presented really good coffees.

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We decided to taste the local fayre, something we have only done once before at Shucked. The food menu has recently been expanded to include more range and high quality ingredients… think duck ham with baby kale. No we are not becoming food bloggers. The wait staff are super attentive with food and coffee delivered fast and fresh. Credit to Mairi for a smoothly run cafe.

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Second round of coffees brought Latte Lad a long macc, becoming somewhat of a routine for him. With our host sensing our love for filtered coffee she suggested we order the cold filtered brew.

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It arrived in small medicine bottles and was a beautiful brown unlike any other bottled cold brew we had seen. The bottle was labelled identifying the single origin of the coffee. Through Twitter @CupCoffee told us the Kenyan Kangocho AA was brewed hot using the pour over filter method and then chilled and bottled. This was a real winner for the purists, it has no additives and enables the coffee to convey a clean sweet profile by itself. Stay on the look out for a greater range coming soon.

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So if you love Cup Coffee and want to see a cafe grow up from one end of Russell Street to the other you should visit Merriweather in South Brisbane.

We give 8 ‘all grown up’ beans.

Merriweather on Urbanspoon

Contessa by Blackstar in the Brisbane CBD

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We had a tip off on Twitter about Contessa by Blackstar in the Brisbane CBD and added it straight on our Coffee Shop Target List as a must visit. There had been lots of action on social media about the new venue but nothing quite prepared us for the unique slice of West End funk in the city.

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Somehow the ‘vibe’ of the original Blackstar cafe permeates its younger city dwelling sibling. The A4 photocopy wallpaper, furniture on wheels, projected menu, subdued lighting provides the new ‘funk’ with the familiar links, plus roasted beans in brown paper and bottled iced coffee … not in a fridge but in ice buckets … so cool!

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The friendly staff perch behind one of the two Synesso coffee machines waiting to greet you and prepare your coffee. One Synesso is primed to deliver ‘the Rev‘, the other to deliver the single origin through naked filters. The Single on offer was a Nicaraguan Maragogype — the beans were so big they nearly popped out of the hopper.

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Latte Lad went straight for his flavourite starter on the Rev. He devoured his latte and was impressed by the full body. It was a long macch and a shlong on the single. A feverish discussion about the shlong, the long shot or the long black – low tide ensued. Donald was keen to take on the shlong and delivered it as a double ristretto. There was a definite colour profile of orange from the shlong and the milk in the macchiato showcased the malty flavour.

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Don’t be seduced by the funky surrounds, these guys are meticulous with their coffee preparation—weighing everything and Jade roasting to a profile that best suits the beans and the machines. We blended in with the crowd on the footpath as they buzzed past. If you’re looking for a more subdued experience there is a secluded area beyond the Contessa nerve centre.

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It was almost same coffees again for round two, the latte was replaced by a long black and the other original choices were the same, just consumed by other beans! The opportunity to compare notes reignited the conversation. One of our keen followers went to Contessa just after our visit and said, ‘I’ll definitely go back there!’ So if you’re looking for a slice of West End in the city, get yourself to Contessa by Blackstar in the Brisbane CBD … you’ll be glad you did!

We give it 8 funky beans.

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