As promised here is another cafe or should I say espresso bar review from Sydney. Mecca 2, not its official name as its only just opened up and there are no signs to been seen anywhere. Still they are using Mecca’s of King streets fine espresso blend roasted in Adelaide, and they have the same relaxed feel to the bar as the Mecca boys on King street. They are located on George street in circular quays right on the corner as you head towards the train station (sorry I don’t have the actual address).
Notably this bar has pulled the industry big weights in and running the place is Scott Callaghan who you might know as the Aussie barista champ, World latte art champ 06 and he came 9th in the worlds this year. Along side him they have pulled James, James formally from allpress was the first barista in Australia to set up and promote the Clover. There is one more bloke running the place but for the love of god I can’t place his name at the moment, I know that he has been around for years and is quite particular about his coffee. He actually has a digital thermometer set up next to his steam arm so he gets the milk spot on, it works for him so who am I to say anything. They, like the original Mecca are using Scott’s leveling tools with the aim to get each coffee exactly the same.
James testing his work
I had a really nice espresso there is was a thick shot with smooth flavors and lush body so all in all even though they are complaining about the la Marzocco GB5 not being set up right. They use a Robur grinder and a swift, the swift is used for take aways only. I have over heard that Mecca feel they can make the compromise with the swift because takeaway coffees have so much milk in them. I think the largest take away coffee they have is a 12 ounce cup so at least there not using 16 ounce cups like one place I used to work at.
They are in an open area so they do cop the full brunt of the elements but as far as an out door setting goes you’d be hard pressed to find a better set up.
I wish them all the best!!!
Oh here are some shots of the coffee I roasted in Chicago that made its way back to Mecca on King street.
Now I know that I did say that I was going to do a post on some other cafes that i was going to in Sydney but there was a hiccup. When I was at one cafe and took a photo of the doorway i got told off and could hear a barista yelling to his manager ” Hey! There is a dude out there taking photo’s” with that I stopped and asked, what am i not allowed to take photo’s? An angry no came back at me.
I was wondering why they would be this aggressive when I was outside of the cafe and only taking a photo of the front door. Its not as if they had re-invented the wheel with their design and bar layout.
I emailed two other roasters to which i got no reply so I began to think why is there this guarded/ angry culture within the Australian coffee industry? Is it just Australia’s tall poppy syndrome which we are famed for? After talking to one of my peers about the issue we came up with the idea that because of the two largest green wholesalers control of supply chain and the fact that Australia is almost 100% espresso based. The only way that a cafe or roaster can really set itself apart from anyone else, is not through their coffee but through branding and cafe design.
Without interesting micro lots and direct trade filter coffees you have to wonder what they are to do. Even if they do find an interesting coffee that would be ideal for filter they roast to a bloody espresso style so the coffee looses out to roast. Are the subtle differences that exist in an espresso blend enough to win over majority of the consumers? How does a roaster or the cafe win “them” (average Joe Blow) over and make them come back for more? The same way that large, undrinkable coffee brands make big business, they have rely on branding, latte art and bar/ cafe design. So thats why I think I got the aggressive “you can’t take photo’s here”, my reply to that is, get over yourself you’ve done nothing new and exciting, grrrr!
Now after saying that there are Australian companies out there that are all for sharing and invite you into their world, you’ll just have to tread lightly till you find them. Good luck!