Coffee Shots: things are heating up…

This is from the art meets science “Coffee Flight” at Bean Drinking in Sydney. Superb.

I’ve taken lots of coffee shots over the last couple of years, it would be a shame not to share them. That’s what this little featurette is for.

Cafe Review: Findos, Toowoomba

I’ve been to Findos a few times. Not for a few weeks. But I was looking through my photos and my little iPhone record of tasting notes and realised that a review was in the offing. And long overdue.

Toowoomba has an amazing coffee scene, for its size, and Findos is the pick of the bunch. It wouldn’t be out of place in any capital city in Australia. It’s quality. And they’re serious about their coffee. I should disclose, I guess, at this point that I know the guy the cafe is named after pretty well. I’ve known him for 9 years or something, and I met Tim, Findos owner, through him. And I like them both. This, I guess, is a case of declaring my bias. I’m not going to slam them because, hey, I like the guys. But thankfully my blogging ethics aren’t being put to the test because the product truly stands up to scrutiny. It’s amazing.

Findos uses its own house blend. And has a regular rotation of featured blends and single origins. Roasted not in house (but I believe, in a house). Tim is always up for a chat – I know it’s not special treatment because there have been times that I’ve been there (I stop in whenever we’re driving through Toowoomba to visit my in-laws) and only managed a courteous tip of the hat in his direction because he has been so engrossed in a conversation about coffee. He loves it. And it shows.

Findos was also the first place I ever tried syphon coffee. About a year ago. If anything the quality has gone up since then. Which is nice, plenty of regional cafes don’t maintain the rage.

The menu is simple, but tasty. We had a cracker Pumpkin soup on one stop there this winter.

When I was in there in June the house blend featured Brazilian, Indian, and Indonesian beans, and it was sensational. My notes say it was sweet and delicious like a Caramello Koala. They were running a “Berry Bomb” blend too, with some Yemen Sanani and Some Ethiopian Harrar Mao Blue Horse. That didn’t work very well in milk – but it was their recommended espresso and brewed blend (so I was basically using it for a purpose other than that which it was intended for). That blend changed after the Toowoomba floods. And, while I don’t have notes on the new blend – it was good enough that I had two of them in the one visit.

So if you’re in Toowoomba and hanging out for something more than a caffeine hit, you could do worse than Findos. You can also “Like” them on Facebook.

There. I feel like I’ve restored the balance somewhat or something.

Sydney Cafe Review: Bean Drinking, Crows Nest

This cafe knocked my socks off. I’ve never had so much fun in a coffee shop. Though that may well have been the company. Bean Drinking on Ernest Place in Crows Nest is the happy owner of Slayer Espresso Machine #007. They use it in their “Coffee Lab” rather than as their stock standard machine. Today they were pouring Yirgacheffe shots with the Slayer. One of my favourite beans, and the machine did it justice. I would have licked the cup. Full of fruitiness and citrus. Sparkling.

The Coffee Lab is a great feature – they offer the Coffee Flight Test – three different brew methods, using different coffees, for $12. My only gripe, and it’s not significant, is that two of the methods I chose used the same Nicaraguan Cup of Excellence bean – who complains about that sort of thing? Not me. Not really. But I probably would have chosen something else had I thought about it, just for something a little different.

I started my flight test with the syphon, lovely chocolatey notes with a strong and complex mix of fruit in the aroma and the mouth.

Next up was the cold press with sparkling mineral water. Which was effervescent and amazing. A light roasted Tanzanian bean. I highly recommend the sparkling effect. It was so refreshing.

Finally, it was the pourover, which tasted quite a bit like the syphon, but was probably a little clearer, and was certainly fruitier on the nose.

I love that these guys recognise that good coffee is both art and science – and they hit up both with equal measure. Such a delight.

My biggest disappointment was that after having these four coffees I didn’t get any of the house blend milk based drinks my coffeepanions were enjoying. But, happily, the staff pulled some strings (they don’t normally sell the blend as a retail bean) and sold me 250gm to try at home.

The customer service was just sensational. Not only were the baristas obviously excited about coffee and their work, they were aiming to please, and right on target. When they asked my friend Paul if he’d enjoyed his flat white, and his comment was it was a little too milky but otherwise pretty good, they served up another, on the house, with a slightly longer pour. It hit the spot. And this sort of ability to meet a customer’s taste, and to do it without any complaint but just to please, was just sensational.

We spent about two and a half hours in store. I loved everything. The vibe. The coffee sack decor (framed on the wall, sewed together as cushions on the couches, covered in glass on the coffee table. The chalkboard diagrams of brew methods and roast profiles. Such a great aesthetic. Probably my favourite cafe in the world. So far. And I didn’t even drink my standard double shot flat white. Their food range is also pretty sensational and I enjoyed one of the best almond croissants I’ve ever eaten with my shot of yirgacheffe.

You can follow Bean Drinking on Twitter.


On the whole, Sydney has been a little hit and miss coffee wise. I had such high expectations (though still have two serious contenders to check out) – but I’d say, per capita, that Brisbane is a little ahead of the game. That said, these guys live up the Beanhunter hype, and they are well worth travelling for.

Coffee Videos of the Week: Up close with the Syphon

I’ve been trying to make syphon coffee daily in order to perfect my technique. It’s such a cool way to make coffee. I feel like I should be wearing a lab coat every time I fire up my little butane burner thing.

This video captures a little bit of the romance of syphon coffee. Glorying in the details.

The Syphon Project from Jacob Forrest on Vimeo.

Here’s another one – this is by the same people who made the Cup Coffee promo video.


Creative design from the South

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