Tag Archives: TLDR

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.

Pick and Brew, in an article, says that 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.


  • 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, because apparently, they use an array of Gaggia Classic 2019 coffee machines. 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.


  • 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
Facebook Page
76 Albert St, 420 Queen St, 280 Adelaide
Brisbane 4000

Ltd espresso bar is exactly that

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

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 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.



  • 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

Matthew Thomas at Sandgate

Long Black at Matthew Thomas in Sandgate
Long Black at Matthew Thomas in Sandgate

Not many cafes in Sandgate look out over the ocean. Matthew Thomas does. At least as far as the trees on the other side of Eagle Terrace allow. The cafe itself is in an old house and occupies the ground floor, along with a gift shop and a counter given over to selling fudge. The front of the cafe opens out onto the road and provides a great view of trees and some blue stuff between the branches.

Big Breakfast at Matthew Thomas
Big Breakfast at Matthew Thomas

The decor was interesting and seemed to feature a lot of clocks and they use Toby Estate beans and make a reasonable coffee. While not especially awesome Matthew Thomas does a good long black coffee. Their big breakfast however is more remarkable.

Swapping out eggs was not a problem, and the home made baked beans were really very nice. Their service also really stood out, with attentive and cheerful staff taking care of a reasonable late breakfast crowd.

Matthew Thomas is in a good location in Sandgate, with nice decor and a cute gift shop. The coffee is good and the food is better and the fudge is certainly worth trying. Matthew Thomas is certainly worth visiting if you are nearby and in the mood for a light meal.


  • Great service
  • Nice coffee
  • Interesting menu and good food
  • Kind of overlooking the ocean

Matthew Thomas, Sandgate
Phone: 3869 4807
50 Eagle Terrace, Sandgate

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.


  • 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
372 Brunswick St, Fortitude Valley