There is yet another small cafe on Brunswick Street towards New Farm called Death before Decaf. One of my sister’s introduced me to the place as somewhere that makes a very good black coffee. Aside from a very appealing name, the cafe has a very certain character, with a metal/punk look and feel from the logo on the take away cups to the look of the cafe itself and the proprietor’s interest in tattoos.
The coffee itself has a nice strong flavour and lacking in bitterness or any other sign of being poorly made. The cafe does have a few chairs, but to me seemed Death before Decaf still be more of an espresso bar and take away place than somewhere to linger. Though this in itself is hardly a real problem anyway.
There is one other thing that makes this place interesting, and that is the opening hours. They are long. Death before Decaf stays open late, very late. In Brisbane this is a rare thing, and it is often very hard to find somewhere to grab a coffee in the early hours of the morning.
Take away coffee
Does a good black coffee
Very distinct character
Death before Decaf Facebook page
760 Brunswick Street,
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.
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.
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.
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
If I made a detailed list today, you’d see most cafes have a strong milk coffee bias. Maybe it’s because they can sell overly sweet flavouring; maybe it’s because it disguises poor beans and worse baristas. Who knows? Entire franchises have been built on the idea of selling milky sugary beverages that at some point might have involved coffee. Cafes that do good black coffee are far less common. Cafes that specialise in black coffee are even rarer.
Ltd espresso bar actually does seem to specialise in high quality black coffee. Located on Brunswick Street near Pie Face and Reverends Fine Coffee, the cafe is very much an espresso bar. There is no food menu and seating does not go far past a few stools. In fact you can say a lot about Ltd espresso bar by listing the things it does not do or have. There is no decaf, no soy milk, and Luke does not charge the same for a long black as he does for a flat white.
Fortunately I visited this cafe for the first time early in the morning, before they got busy, so I got to talk to Luke and found out a little more about the cafe. He runs three grinders, each with a different blend or single origin, with one for black coffee, another for milk and the third for filter. My long black was shortly followed by two more.
One of the things that Luke seems keen to accomplish is to get more people to try black coffee. Unsurprisingly there is a strong preference for milk coffees like a flat white or cappuccino over espresso, long black or americano (with even more people confused as to why there are two names for what is essentially a shot of coffee with some hot water added).
The coffee itself is really very good. Luke explained that he generally aims to time it so he is serving one lot of beans for about five to seven days, while it is at its peak. He alternates between different blends and single origins with each batch.
Ltd espresso bar is exactly what the name implies: an espresso bar. It is a place you go to buy good coffee and then leave, or buy good coffee, drink it reasonably quickly and then leave. And this works. Its emphasis on black coffee is, at least in my experience, fairly unique as well. This cafe is certainly worth going to if you care about coffee. If you are after a nice large breakfast however, you may be disappointed.
Does very good coffee
Rotating selection of single origin beans and blends
You can never get good coffee on a plane. The tea is tolerable, but the coffee isn’t. Thus, the first thing I looked for after leaving my bags in the hotel was a decent cafe. It wasn’t just for coffee; Qantas’ breakfast was only slightly more adequate than their tea.
As it was a Friday, and the hotel was just on the edge of Sydney’s CBD, finding a cafe wasn’t hard. And this is why I am writing about a coffee from VIVO in Sydney. Like many Brisbane CBD cafes, VIVO had a lot of glass, seating both inside and outside and food, with the main difference being that it’s bigger than most cafes found in Brisbane’s CBD. They also use a recognisable (and Brisbane-based) coffee brand, Di Bella.
The coffee was strong and had a good crema. Due to the amount of tea my girlfriend received, I had two coffees while I waited for her to finish. The food was also good; I had a tasty and generously portioned bircher muesli and they were more than happy to swap the eggs for bacon on my girlfriend’s order.
The cafe also has a WiFi hotspot which worked as well as any other free WiFi I have tried, and the only thing I was lacking was somewhere to charge my phone. But I don’t know of a single cafe that offers that, which is a real shame.
Racecourse Road is not a good place to go for coffee; there are not many places that can do a passable long black. You can find dining, a Coles Metro and occasionally even large numbers of drunk people with a temporary interest in horses, but finding a good coffee is harder. Unless you go to a small espresso bar called Fonzie Abbott, just next to Vagelis.
Fonzie Abbott is named for the first pet and first street that one of the owners lived on, just like the pornstar name meme. I can only assume that this is somehow related to the rooster in their logo.
The cafe is more of an espresso bar, with a small footprint and not too many seats. The coffee they serve is not just the best on Racecourse Road, but compares well against cafes in other areas too.
Fonzie Abbott uses both blends and single origin beans, with the single origin beans changing regularly. There are a few light meals and a selection of beers available as well, and apparently they also do Espresso Martinis on Fridays.
There are not many places on Racecourse Road that can do good coffee, and fortunately Fonzie Abbott is an exception. The decor tends towards hipster, with its second-hand aesthetic and the mix of blends and single origin beans. It is my pick of the street if you want a good coffee, long black or otherwise.
Better than the other cafes on Racecourse Road, because…