Tag Archives: Fortitude Valley

Ltd espresso bar is exactly that

Long Black from LTD Espresso Bar
Single Origin Long Black from LTD Espresso Bar

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 aboutĀ 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.

 

TL;DR

  • Does very good coffee
  • Rotating selection of single origin beans and blends
  • Very keen on black coffee
  • Takes quality seriously

Ltd espresso + brew bar

362 Brunswick st, Fortitude Valley
Brisbane
Queensland

Reverends Fine Coffee in the Valley

Reverend's Fine Coffee
Reverends Fine Coffee

Fortitude Valley is not much of a destination for cafes currently. If there was one place that could claim that distinction, West End would be it, with honorable mentions going to Teneriffe and a few suburban outliers. The Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley is certainly a wasteland as far as good coffee goes. Recently though a few new places within easy walking distance of the centre of the Valley have opened up.

Only three weeks old, Reverends Fine Coffee is one of these. The cafe is practically a hole in the wall, with only a narrow street front. However Reverends Fine Coffee uses their space well with the counter at the front and a reasonably sized seating area tucked away in the back. Inside it feels roomier than their small street frontage would lead you to believe.

There are seats and tables
There are seats and tables

Like a growing number of cafes they do roast their own beans, and sometimes other cafes, such as Moray, even use them, at least according to their Facebook page. The coffee they do is good, and they offer single origins alongside their own blend. As a black coffee it is very drinkable, and makes it easy to consume multiple cups in quick succession.

Reverend's menu, food to come soon
Reverends menu, food to come soon

Reverends Fine Coffee is not serving food just yet, but getting a license to do so is one of their plans. The cafe is close to the Brunswick Street Mall and is good for early weekday morning catch ups. The seating area out the back is far enough from the street to cut out most of the road noise, and there was even a roaster in one corner, though it didn’t appear to be in use.

TL;DR

  • Coffee in the Valley is getting better
  • For now only coffee, with a kitchen coming soon
  • Their blend is rather nice
  • They have somewhere you can sit

Reverends Fine Coffee
Facebook Page
@reverendscoffee
372 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley
Brisbane

The Gloria Jean’s Valley Experience

Black Coffee at Gloria Jeans
Black Coffee at Gloria Jean's

I thought it would be best to start with a joke. An Italian, an American and an Englishman were going to meet in the Valley for a coffee. The Italian could not make it. So they go to Gloria Jean’s instead.

The Gloria Jean’s shop on the mall in Fortitude Valley has nice chairs, a few couches and air conditioning. They also charge $4.25 for a regular long black. The stores are similar to Starbucks: all coffee is served in disposable cups with an ironic ‘Rainforest Alliance’ logo (take that evil trees!), they offer a wide range of syrups and substances to add in, and if you order a black coffee, it usually is not that great.

The coffee smelled burnt in an interestingly worrying way and was too hot, which was almost certainly the cause. It was also one of the more watery long blacks I have had recently. Even the McCafe coffee compared favourably to it.

Like Starbucks, Gloria Jean’s is not really in the business of serving black coffee. Just one quick look around the store and it is obvious that they sell far more milky coffee flavoured beverages than black coffee. With the market they cater for, and the range of syrups and interesting interpretations on the theme of ‘coffee’ on the menu, maybe a sugarless black coffee is not what they had in mind.

TL;DR

  • Nice franchise stores
  • Coffee is not really their thing

Gloria Jean’s Fortitude Valley Mall
Gloriajeans.com
McWhirters Urban Market
Fortitude Valley, 4006

Coffee Cupping at Campos Brisbane

Campos Cupping Room
Campos Cupping Room

I only know of two dedicated cupping rooms in Australia, one in Sydney and another in Brisbane. And both are in Campos cafes. The one in Brisbane has been open for a few months now, and at least from what I’ve heard, has been popular. There isn’t much about it on their website, and I only found out because I saw the cupping room at the cafe, and some discussion on Twitter.

Aprons
Aprons

I had never been to a cupping session, and I had no idea of what ‘cupping’ even was. Dandelion and Driftwood sell cupping journals. When I first saw them, I had absolutely no idea what they were for. However, as this session was being held at one of my favourite cafes, which is also a local roaster, a group of friends and myself booked a Saturday session.

The Cupping Room

On the day, the five of us were shown to the meeting room out the back, where we were given aprons (apparently spills are not uncommon) before heading into Campos’ dedicated cupping room. It was very cool. The light fittings were made from coffee cups. The lights were low and the room seemed full of coffee paraphernalia, though no more so than the rest of the cafe.

What is Cupping?

Removing the grinds
Removing the grinds

The brief description of cupping that I got from Coffeeresearch.org is that:

Cupping is a very specific coffee tasting technique, removing as many variables as possible to make it easier to compare different beans.

I learned that it makes it possible to compare coffee beans on their own merits. The tightly controlled preparation method means the tasters know they are experiencing exactly the same thing as the next taster, be they in the same room or in another country. It makes it a lot easier to talk about the coffee if you can remove all other variables.

The Coffee We Tried

Campos had six different coffees for us to try: five single origin varieties from Kenya, India, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Ethiopia, and a commodity coffee for comparison. Each bean was served in a small bowl, with water heated to a specific temperature, left to brew, and then stirred, and then brewed some more, before the grounds were scraped off the top. It seemed to be a fairly involved process.

The whole time the coffee was being prepared, and during the tasting itself, everything about the beans was explained. They covered how each of the beans were processed, where they came from, who grew them, and a lot more.

The highlight of the whole session was being able to compare so many different varieties of coffee. Each was distinctive and had its own qualities, with the Indian Malabar Monsooned beans being the most unique. The only comparison more striking than the Malabar and the rest was between the single origins and the commodity coffee.

Why it was Cool

At just $11 it is cheap, and if you pay $20, you walk away with 250 grams of the coffee you liked best. If you like coffee but did not even know what a cupping session was until you read this, then go and do one. It is a great experience, and Campos has taken a commercial activity and turned it into a great customer experience. If you already knew what cupping was, you are probably already interested in booking a session.

TL;DR

  • Try many kinds of coffee
  • Find out more about said coffee
  • Take home the coffee you liked best

Campos Coffee
http://www.camposcoffee.com/
11 Wandoo St
Fortitude Valley QLD
Ph: 07 3252 3612

@CamposCoffee

Morning Coffee at The Little Larder

Little Larder Breakfast
Little Larder Breakfast

Away from Brunswich street, Little Larder is as off the beaten track as you are likely to get this close in to the Valley. It’s a cute little cafe in what looks like it used to be a corner shop.

Their menu is a little different from standard cafe fare, though most of the breakfast otions are based on egg. The coffee was decent too. Not the best, but it would not disappoint either.

Little Larder is a nice place to go to for breakfast. The location is great, and the cafe itself is as laid back as the street it is on.


View Long Black in a larger map

1/76 Moray Street New Farm
07 3358 2024