Apart from the St. Ali group, the cult coffee scene in Melbourne is heavily dominated by the Seven Seeds group and Market Lane Coffee, both of which were our next pit stops on our whirlwind coffee crawl during our short visit down under.
Seven Seeds was our first stop and not straightforward to find, which can be a good thing in our opinion. Located inconspicuously in a row of industrial warehouses with only “prison-like” iron bar windows to allow outsiders a peek into their secret world, Seven Seeds was certainly a hidden oasis that was enchanting and seductive. Entering through their large wooden doors, we immediately felt like part of an exclusive club – it was certainly a treat worth any trek down to!
The very loft-like and uber cool industrial warehouse vibe of Seven Seeds clearly accentuated its elevated cult status as coffee specialists. Seven Seeds is owned by Mark Dundon who is often referred to as the Godfarther of Third Wave coffee and whose portfolio includes Brother Baba Budan and St. Ali (sold in mid 2008). Being a student of fine art, it’s not surprising that there is always a strong design theme in every cafe Mark opens. The bike friendly coffee specialists (you can park your bike on the floor or hang it up on the wall if you like!) also have a tight food menu and staff are super serious about their coffee. The baristas go about their duties business-like, as if focussing only on one thing – to get their coffee damn straight.
And it shows. We had a flat white and their manual “areo-pressed” El Salvador CoE #9 Las Mercedes single origin, A$5.50, (notes of dark chocolate, spice, citrus with creamy body), both of which were fantastic. And the crowd at Seven Seeds? Need we say more (see top photo)…only the chic may apply.
Market Lane Coffee, set very appropriately inside of Prahran Market, is a bright and cheery cafe which seems to hire not only baristas that can pull perfect coffees, but ones that are distinctly eye-candy too. They are a joy to watch as much their coffee is to savour.
We had a Blackburn Estate (Tanzania) microlot ($4.50) whose beans were picked over a ten-day period in August 2010. During the month, misty morning clouds hung over three blocks of the estate, heavily shading the coffee trees below. Due to the absence of sunlight, the shade canopy created a microclimate keeping the trees in a cool and moist environment – the perfect conditions for growing excellent coffee. We had a pour-over for ours, and the product was a a bright sweet coffee (much like Market Lane’s environs), with a light grape acidity and notes of mandarin, cherry and red berries.
Both Seven Seeds and Market Lane Coffee have attained their cult status as coffee specialists by sourcing for only the best beans, roasting and brewing them with precision, care and love…and it has won them fans from Melbourne and the rest of the world, us included!Seven Seeds 114 Berkeley St
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 8664 Market Lane Coffee Shop 13 Prahran Market
163 Commercial Road
(Entrance on Elizabeth Street) (03) 9804 7434