I had, in my mind, a long list of cafes to review when jetting in to Melbourne, and, to be honest, The League of Honest Coffee wasn’t on my radar. I love local knowledge though – so when our host promised to take us somewhere that had good coffee, we put our trust in him, and he didn’t disappoint.
In fact, my only disappointment was that the League of Honest Coffee wasn’t some sort of super hero themed, film noir, ghetto in a phone box. Though the disappointment in a lack of colour faded pretty quickly when I saw the two (that’s right, two) bright green Slayers on the bench.
Image Credit: Padre Coffee
The hanging Portafilter lamp is also a nice touch…
But that’s all pretty cosmetic, cafes are rubbish if they’re all style, no substance – and the League delivers on the packaging. In spades.
It’s one of a string of coffee outlets owned/operated by Padre Coffee. The strong flat white I ordered on arrival nailed it. It was on the El Salvador Mirasol Estate – and it was silky smooth with a chocolatiness on the Dairy Milk side of the spectrum (rather than the bitter cocoaesque side). I followed up with a piccolo on the Padre blend, which was also pretty sweet and special, my wife was also really happy with her hot chocolate. All our drinks were pitcher perfect – which I’ve decided is the best way to describe milk texture and temperature.
I’ve had so many coffees at other cafes since that all my tasting memories are starting to blend into one big pile of deliciousness, but I haven’t had many better coffees in my life. I will say that there are two things I’ve been struck by in this Melbourne jaunt, firstly – there are so many lady baristas in the specialty coffee scene down here, it’s not the man’s world that it sometimes feels like when you travel the streets of Brisbane, and secondly – the cream of the crop in Brisbane really holds its own against the cream of the crop in Melbourne.
The League of Honest Coffee is so named, allegedly (I read this somewhere, I didn’t ask anybody because I still secretly hope it’s a League of coffee super heroes), because they are committed to being informative about the origins of their coffees. Transparency in the coffee industry is something I respect, but it’s also essentially something I’ve come to expect – I’m not really interested in reviewing cafes that aren’t serious about being transparent, because I think this is part of being committed to quality coffee.
Here’s a snippet of their ethos from the Padre Coffee about us page:
“We treat coffee as a seasonal product. From the farms where the coffee is grown, through to the processing, storage and transport, every step of the journey is mindful of the next.
We encourage everyone to try different coffees, to promote a dialogue with your local cafes and coffee shops on the beans they use, where they come from and how they are roasted and prepared.”
While I wouldn’t go here just for the food (I would for the coffee, obviously), we had some pretty nice pastry treats from their cabinet of pretty nice pastry treats. You can see the last skerricks of one such treat in this photo.
They also offer a pretty massive selection of coffee kit, and one of the biggest and most exciting ranges of specialty beans I’ve ever seen (you can buy online, which is nice).