Brisbane Cafe Review: Ltd Espresso + Brew Bar, Fortitude Valley

Ltd Espresso + Brew bar in Fortitude Valley lives up to its wall decal… it serves up coffee worth lining up for (and I don’t think they’re species specific…).

I’ve been meaning to check Ltd out since just about when they opened – but life gets in the way. Learn from my mistake. Get here.

Ltd is all about the coffee. Luke, the owner, has been in the coffee game for a long time, and his experience working as a consultant for other cafes around south east Queensland is coming home to roost. His vision, which he’s very passionate about, is a coffee bar where people can walk up, chat, and have a coffee experience as their beverage is produced to order in front of them. He’s also one of the nicest guys I’ve met, and was incredibly keen to get feedback not just from me, but from every customer who came through the doors.

They’re a Cleanskin account, and are regularly rotating their way through Cleanskin’s assortment of sensational blends, and single origins. The menu is simple. Black. White. Brewed. You can ask for your own variations in terms of size, milk, extra shots and sugar.

Today Luke was serving up Cleanskin’s Blend 13, and an Ethiopian Karote as his single origin espresso, and the brew bar had just ticked over from a Kenyan to a Guatemalan (I think). I’m a sucker for over-caffeination, so I tried them all.

The Strada, replete with wooden handled portafilters and customised tamper handle steam wands, is beautiful. The whole black+white+wood tones look is so hot right now. There’s a lot to love about a simple fitout with an assortment of eclectic odds and ends to make it a bit personable.

Luke is also the first Brisbane barista I’ve talked to who is really getting into the pressure profiling thing with the Strada, and the fruit of his experimentation is in the cup – his coffees using a blend I’m reasonably familiar with tastes like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, and the two espressos he served up on the Karote tasted remarkably different as a 10 gram single with a 50 second extraction and a long, soft, pre-infusion, and as the standard offering. The single basket was silky and balanced, the standard fare was really fruity and delicious, but probably not quite so well rounded. I prefered the fruity one. But it was marginal.

Luke’s excited about the potential that pressure profiling is bringing to the coffee game, and after this morning, I am too.

Hit Ltd up on Facebook – but more importantly, head in to the valley, check out Reverends a couple of doors up, and have a nice little journey for the tastebuds.

Brisbane Cafe Review: Cup Coffee, West End

If you’re a coffee geek and you want your coffee to be made by coffee geeks with an absolute commitment to coffee that’s 99% good not 90% good, if you want your coffee made by people who sweat the small stuff, then head to Cup in West End. It’s a coffee geek’s paradise.

Cup serves up coffee from one of the world’s most advanced machines. The Slayer. The first machine to experiment with pressure profiling – which means they can fiddle with the amount of pressure the water is being pumped at while they pull your shot of coffee. Coffee geeks around the world are excited about what the fruits of being able to control such a variable might be. Cup offers living proof. The coffee is excellent. Beyond excellent.

Cup’s roastery/cafe is in a little garagey warehouse tucked off West End’s main street. They’ve got a giant remote controlled robot painted on the wall, and they’re fast earning a reputation in competitions, not just for their latte art – though for trophies for such achievements adorn their walls.

They offer light meals, which I haven’t tried yet, and heavy, almost viscous coffee that’ll take your breath away. I promise. It’s amazing.

Their attention to detail, and their quirky, typographically driven design on take home packs of beans and other paraphernalia, makes them an absolute favourite in my books. And my wife and I are locked in a long debate on whether or not their coffee is better than Dandelion and Driftwood. I say yes. She says no. Perhaps Cup’s coffee is more manly. It certainly packs a punch.

Here’s a little video from their website to give you a taste:

CUP SPECIALITY COFFEE from PSN CREATIVE on Vimeo.

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When I was there last their signature blend included Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, and any use of that bean is a winner in my book. Basically, if I walk into a cafe and can spot the word Yirgacheffe anywhere I feel a little bit of calm wash over me.

They change their house blend regularly, based on season, another mark for quality in my books.

You can follow them on Twitter, and their website is one of the best looking coffee sites going round.

Bean here (excuse the pun)? Rate it:

* * * * ½

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