Cup Coffee Long Black

Black coffee at Cup Coffee
Black coffee at Cup Coffee

It has taken me ages to get around to writing this. One of my friends has been telling me for ages to check out Cup Coffee. The cafe is in West End on Russell Street, just a short walk from Vulture Street. With a high roof and a large open roller door, the cafe looks like it was built out of an old workshop. A gentrified old workshop, with seats, coffee machines and some interesting robot themed artwork on one wall.

Cup Coffee roasts their own beans, and not just for their own use. According to their website they supply about nine other cafes. They produce blends and single origins, available through their own cafe and their business customers. Us normal people can buy their coffee either at the cafe or online via their site.

Cup Coffee Menu
Cup Coffee Menu

The cafe itself sells coffee, unsurprisingly, and a limited range of food. The coffee itself is good, some of the best I have had in Brisbane. They certainly didn’t do anything wrong when they made it, and the bean’s flavours were obvious. Though like a lot of other cafes, the single origins offered seemed to tend towards fruity.

TL;DR

  • Good Coffee
  • Not a lot of choice for food
  • Roast beans, and seem to do a good job

Cup Coffee
http://www.cupcoffee.com.au/
Phone: 07 3846 3746
85 Russell Street
West End 4101
Queensland

Espresso from a Bellini Coffee Machine

Bellini Coffee Machine
An Office Coffee Machine

BYOD should mean more than just using your own phone or tablet for work related tasks. This should really be extended to the swarms of coffee machines appearing in offices everywhere. For a while Nespresso machines owned the “I want to save money on cafes” office worker market, but over time more and more easy to use and maintain pod machines have appeared on the market.

ALDI has released their own, using their own pods, as has Nescafe with their Dolce Gusto machine. Another brand, Bellini, has also entered this market. Unline the ALDI and Nescafe machines, the Bellini (sold by Target) is compatible with Nespresso pods, and therefore also with Nespresso-compatible pods, like those produced by Piazza D’Oro.

Until recently I used the floor’s Nespresso machine, with Piazza D’Oro pods. It was alright, though I suspect it was in dire need of descaling. However thanks to a recent reshuffle, I am now two levels away from the coffee machine. Obviously I needed to get my own.

This is where the Bellini machine comes in. Nespresso machines start in the three figure price range. The Bellini was about $80. It also took Nespresso and Piazza D’Oro pods. It was not a hard decision in the end. The weekend after I saw it listed online I had one to bring into the office.

It does make coffee. It does little else. There are three buttons to interact with. Power, long shot and short shot. There is also a lever for loading pods. The shot length is preprogrammed and you can not change it (though you can manually stop it) and unsurprisingly if you want to froth milk, you may need to get a different machine.

Its greatest issue is its boiler. The longer you run a shot, the hotter the water gets. Unless you are a masochist, this pretty much rules out long shots. Unless you like the taste of throughly killed coffee you are better off using the short shot button. Fortunately it seems to be able to do these with a reasonable level of consistency.

While the Bellini is most certainly not a Nespresso machine, let alone a decent manual coffee machine, it does make for a good cubicle buddy. For the price and the fact that there is more than one store where you can get compatible coffee pods, there is little reason to recommend other machines over it at this price range.

TL;DR

  • It makes coffee
  • It is cheap

Cremosa Espresso Bar Coffee

Cremosa Espresso Bar
Coffee at Cremosa Espresso Bar on Queen St.

Brisbane, like most cities, has a lot of cafes in the CBD. Most of them are also pretty boring. And what is even stranger, not all of them are open early. Fortunately for those who sometimes end up heading to work far too early in the morning, the Cremosa espresso bars are.

Cremosa is a hole-in-the-wall style espresso bar at the bottom of the Aurora Tower on the corner of Wharf and Queen Sts. According to the internet the espresso bar opens from 6:30am on weekdays, though I am sure it was not that early the first time I was there.

It is a little different from what you would expect in an espresso bar, as there is actually a decent number of tables just outside. Service and the coffee were both good, and certainly worth going back for. The coffee I had was made on a traditional espresso style blend, and Cremosa also serves single origins.

There are a number of Cremosa espresso bars in Brisbane, making it a rare decent chain cafe. If you were expecting a huge pile of fried meat to go with your morning coffee, I would imagine that Cremosa would, like any espresso bar, disappoint you. However, if you just want a good coffee I don’t think you would regret it.

TL;DR

  • It is an espresso bar with chairs
  • There are currently three of them in Brisbane
  • They don’t have a kitchen, not that it even matters

Cremosa Espresso Bar
http://www.cremosa.com.au/
Facebook Page
76 Albert St, 420 Queen St, 280 Adelaide
Brisbane 4000
Queensland

Coffee At Cleanskin Coffee Co

Coffee at Cleanskin
Coffee at Cleanskin

Brendale is a long way from Teneriffe. It is a long way from the CBD, from Park Road and from West End as well. Brendale is certainly an outer suburb. Brendale is not somewhere you would generally associate with good or interesting cafes. Cleanskin Coffee Co won’t help with this either, as it is actually a roaster. They just happen to also serve coffee.

South Pine Road runs through a light industrial area in Brendale. It is almost rural; you actually pass fields when you drive there. However, between the machine shops and mechanics lies Cleanskin. Originally they were based in Teneriffe, but apparently they moved to their new location just over twelve months ago now. They roast beans under their own label for sale and for a number of cafes.

Cleanskin's roasting room
Cleanskin’s roasting room

There is nothing about the building that stands out from its light industrial setting. Inside is a little different. The cafe is starkly white with a tiled floor and there is a large glass window separating you from the roasting room. There are a few long tables set up for customers, as well as a number of chairs and a bar set up across the window facing the roasting room. They also have an arcade machine.

Unsurprisingly I had a long black, and also not too astonishing considering who they supply coffee to, it was good. The blend they were using was smooth, with minimal bitterness and was prepared well. Cleanskin also makes and stocks cold press latte in a bottle which I bought as well as some of their Saint Espresso blend beans.

TL;DR

  • Long way from most of Brisbane
  • Another unexpected cafe in a light industrial area
  • Primarily a roaster, with many cafes stocking their beans
  • Good coffee, worth a visit

Clean Skin Coffee Co
Phone: 3889 8449
http://cleanskincoffeeco.com.au/
193-203 South Pine Rd
Brendale 4500
Queensland

Aldi Pods and Gym Coffee

The gym's Aldi espresso machine
The gym’s Aldi espresso machine

One of the best things about the Aldi coffee machines is that they are cheap. Cheap and easy to run. So much so that you can leave one in a powerlifting club and not actually care. This one has been with the UQPWC for almost half a year, and in that time has survived a number of competitions and a handful of courses in addition to its normal day-to-day use. Not a bad run for a cheap coffee machine.

The Aldi coffee machines have managed to make a good impression upon many users. It is hard to find a poor review, even if the same cannot be said for the coffee itself, and most owners I have met seem pretty happy with how they perform. There are significant differences between these and more expensive coffee machines, but there isn’t much to match it for under $100.

The cema does not look right...
The cema does not look right…

There are only four buttons to worry about and the coffee comes in pods. I am sure that it can be simplified even further, but I doubt there is a point. For a communual coffee machine this is a major plus. The fewer ways there are for users to interact with it, the less chance they have of breaking it. This also makes it stupidly straightforward to run: you drop the pod in the top, close the lever and press buttons until something resembling coffee comes out. That is it. For advanced users, they can run hot water through the machine prior to making their coffee, and play with shot length using the two buttons available. This attention to detail isn’t essential.

A very metal coffee cup
A very metal coffee cup

While it has a surreal crema, the coffee itself is nothing special. Personally I prefer my coffee beans to be relatively fresh, and hopefully roasted locally, which the grinds in the Aldi pods are really really not. There are refillable pods on the market, but for the hassle and what I use it for, it hardly seems worthwhile. By the time I get to the gym at night, all I am after is something to get me through another set. Especially if I am doing a Sheiko program.

As an alternative to instant coffee the Aldi machine and pods are a great option. If you are after a pod machine that you can leave somewhere and not care a great deal about it certainly can fill that role too. If you want quality coffee though, perhaps there are better options. For that purpose I think I will still keep using the machine that I have at home.

TL;DR

  • A coffee machine so cheap you will let anyone use it
  • The coffee is just there for the caffeine
  • Chinese cast iron tea cups look hardcore and very metal