Posted on November 6, 2014
The other day we wandered down to the latest coffee-spot to spring up in our neighbourhood, Hylin. This place has one of those “instant-favourite” vibes about it which stems from the perfect fusion of deliberate design and great caffeine. The feel of the (small) converted warehouse space is open and airy, yet invitingly intimate. I love the lush greenery inside the shop and the gently swaying leaves outside through the large open window. And did I mention the hand lettered wall? I’m such a sucker for hand-lettering!
I’m told on good authority that there are further exciting plans for this cool joint so definitely keep your eyes peeled!
Hylin West Leederville / 178 Railway Pde, Perth / Open Mon-Sat 6.30am-3.00pm
Posted on August 4, 2014
Join Seb from Mano a Mano for a morning session of cupping, a simple and almost ritualistic way of tasting and enjoying coffee. Seb is intensely knowledgeable and passionate about the origins of all the beans he sources, right down to the very names of the farmers that grow and harvest them.
Each cup of beans is ground, smelled, brewed, and smelled again. And finally you get to taste. The beans are sourced from all over the world, including Colombia, Kenya and Ethiopia, and all have deliciously individual characteristics, aromas and taste.
Mano a Mano means “hand to hand”. It reminds me of all the human steps that are required to ultimately bring me my perfect cuppa. Planted, picked (as bright red cherries!), dried, exported, tasted, roasted, ground.
Mano a Mano public cuppings are held on Saturday mornings at Gordon St Garage and are FREE (Seriously! What can you get for free these days!?!).
Posted on July 17, 2014
Ron and Lyly are the enterprising duo, the face and hands, the yin and yang, behind the hippest coffee spot in Subiaco, Architects and Heroes. The northern end of Rokeby Road has honestly been lacking a bit of pizazz of late, and these guys are turning that tide. With an impressive combined experience of over 16 years in coffee and hospitality, it’s no surprise that they know what they’re doing and they’re doing it right. We popped by during a cheerily busy Thursday lunch service to have a chat with the owners. Ron was in the back area of the petite coffee shop testing out his latest batch of teas and beckoned us to come over and have a taste. No need to ask me twice!So, what’s in a name?
Architects and Heroes really describes how we (Lyly and I) work so effectively together. An architect is someone who tends to work behind the scenes, not necessarily getting the credit for something he or she ultimately designed, which is how Lyly works. She has the eye for design and interior decorating, the brain for the business side of things, and also has her hand in the menu choices and the kitchen! Although she’s not front and centre talking to customers, she’s tirelessly working to make sure everything comes together and operates smoothly and effortlessly.
As for me, I’m the barista and front of house so suppose I’m more of a “hero” – someone whose face is recognised, gets the acclaim (sorry Lyly!).
The unmistakable wall art in our store was painted by our good friend, Dipesh “peche” Prasad, from Peche! Designs. We gave him the brief and off he went, we absolutely love it. If you look carefully, each entity represents someone who incorrectly received credit for work they didn’t do! For example, there’s Galileo who is often thought to have invented the telescope (he only significantly improved upon an existing design) and the unmistakable characters from MAD magazine’s Spy vs Spy whose cartoonist preferred to cryptically “sign” his work in Morse code.
Tell us more about your coffee. You clearly love it!
To me, coffee is indispensable. And I think that’s true for many people. You’ll see people try and save money by cutting down on going out for dinner or not buying so many pairs of shoes, but no matter what, everyone seems to make allowances for that daily, necessary cup of coffee. And it gives me so much satisfaction to brew a perfect cup and see someone simply enjoying it.
There are so many different ways to prepare a cup of coffee, each with its own distinct taste and appearance, and I’m driven to precisely perfect a number of these. In our store you can try pour over, cold drip, espresso, and siphon coffee brewed by the amazing high-tech Steampunk machine, which is the first of its type in Western Australia and the second in the entire country! The Steampunk allows me to set exact parameters like water temperature and brew time so I can achieve incredibly consistent results or even explore different flavour profiles. Our coffee beans come from Melbourne-based roasters and good friends, Code Black.
The coffee scene in Perth is slowly changing and I’m excited to be a part of it. People are starting to care more about the quality of the beans they are drinking and beginning to appreciate how much better a properly and precisely brewed cup of coffee tastes.
Apart from being obsessively good at brewing coffee, what else do you guys do?
If you do happen to feel like something apart from coffee (i.e. if you’re craaaaazy or already have a coffee-induced tremor) then we’ve also recently added a sublime collection of premium farm-direct teas from Min River Tea, based in China. These come in limited batches and the latest on offer include jasmine and Szechuan bamboo leaf.
There is, of course, our seasonal menu with light to substantial bites that Ayano and Lyly prepare in our flameless kitchen. We feature a 63 degree cooked egg which we recommend you try! It’s kinda like the ultimate poached egg, except that it isn’t poached! (Sarah tried it. She liked it. A lot.)
If you had to choose a favourite child, which method of brewing coffee would it be?
Ohh…That’s a very difficult question, but I’d have to say the Steampunk! It’s so precise, way too fun to play with, and I sure don’t mind taste-testing all my trial-runs! And I know you said I had to choose only one, but I can’t go past a Chemex pour-over coffee either. So much love and labour goes into preparing a cup of coffee, and you have a lot of control over the final product’s taste.Ron in his element is similar to a scientist in a laboratory, compulsively fine-tuning variables and revelling in the products of his experiments. The back bench of the coffee shop is covered in coffee-related paraphernalia I have never seen before. Ron is keen to show them all off and happily explains how they work. He reminds me of my high school Chemistry teacher, except way younger and way cooler. He chats to us whilst tasting four different teas, precisely recording notes concerning the water temperature, brew time and exact weight of tea leaves in each pot. To attest to his greatness there is a beautiful, shiny metal contraption on display in the shop which he won in a “latte art smackdown”.
At the end of our chat, Ron manages to coax Lyly inside to say hi. Although less keen to be in the limelight, there is no doubt she is the backbone of this tightly run operation. What a delight to meet a couple who go together so well, in work and in life!
For a great tasting cup of coffee that is made with scientific precision and a whole lotta heart, make your way down to Architects and Heroes.
Architects and Heroes / 25 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco / Monday to Saturday 6:30am – 6:30pm
Posted on May 7, 2014
Say hi to my new friend who keeps me warm, happy and caffeinated on my way to work everyday. There are many children and colleagues out there who should thank this handsome guy for keeping cranky-pants-morning-Sarah at bay. You really don’t wanna see that.
KeepCup has recently introduced their latest series, Brew, featuring glass coffee cups coupled with their signature customisable coloured bands and lids. So you can’t fling this one around as much as their plastic cousins but they feel and look so good. Throw in the limited edition cork band and I’m in hipster heaven. But at the end of the day, the message is the same and still rings true. Sustainability underpinned by practicality and an awesome aesthetic.
Find out more about the KeepCup ethos here.
Posted on October 4, 2013
The other day, I finished my morning shift at work a little bit early and decided to meet Jinn at our new favourite local cafe, Piccolo’s Corner. This cosy little gem is located in the leafy suburb of West Leederville, just a stone throw’s away from our place.
Enjoy a cooked brekky with a beverage of your choice (so far I’ve had their coffee and chai latte – both are ace) inside their quirky interior or sunny garden, both characterised by a mixture of vintage bric-a-brac and cutting edge street art. Get there early on the weekend or be prepared to wait in line!
Piccolo’s Corner / 58 St Leonards St, West Leederville / Tuesday – Friday 7:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 8:00am to 2:00pm
Posted on July 15, 2013
Ivanhoe Cafe is one of those places that you stumble across and are like, “Why have I never been here before?!?!” My Kimberley job involves me flying to Kununurra every six weeks to do paediatric clinics over there, but most days we finish late when most things are closed and we’re thoroughly exhausted. After my final week in Kununurra (I feel quite sad saying that), Jinn flew up from Perth to join me so we could explore the East Kimberley a bit more. On our last day together, after frolicking in springs and climbing through gorges for the past few days we just felt like having an easy morning and stumbled upon this little place for breakfast.
The cafe has a thoroughly organic, almost lived in feel. It’s nestled amongst these giant mango trees that provide you with ample shade to enjoy your meal. We both ordered the breakfast muffin which came filled with yummy bacon slices, fresh salad greens, and an egg fried to runny-yolk perfection. It also came with a little dipping bowl of pretty mind-blowingly good housemade tomato chutney! The finishing touch was that golden yolk flowing out and coating the contents of the muffin with sunny, creamy goodness. Totally satisfying.
It was just perfect to relax under those great trees, enjoying good company (and pretty good coffee too!). And if you’re still hungry for more, the place sells housemade jams, chutneys, ice cream and local honey too. We left the place with contented stomachs, a shopping bag full of mango jam and that irresistible tomato chutney, sipping on our mango smoothies to go.
Ivanhoe Cafe / Ivanhoe Rd, Kununurra / +61 8 9168 1774 / Open 7 days a week 8:00am – 4:00pm (April to September)
Posted on November 21, 2012
Perth City has undergone somewhat of an overhaul over the past two years, and in no place is it more evident than William Street, Northbridge. It once used to be a road lined with strip joints and bad restaurants, and I would certainly never have wandered down it alone after 8pm or so (and even if accompanied, at a very brisk pace!). Now the gorgeous old buildings have been restored to reveal their gorgeous late 1800s faces and are attracting more and more lovely new occupants! Tiny shops filled with racks of pretty vintage clothing, hole-in-the-wall coffee bars, and hip new restaurants are now filling up the spaces.
A more than welcome newcomer, Ruck Rover, has moved from its old home in Mount Lawley to join the now trendy crowd along this street. They stock a cute collection of clothing for guys, girls and children, as well as a wide range of gifts that would have nearly everyone on your Christmas list covered. Funky and brightly coloured beaded necklaces for your sister or BFF (I caved and bought one for myself!), polaroid cameras and film for any hipster in your life, sweet diaries that would impress any obsessive compulsive mum, and even homewares for the newly moved out.
I personally left with the aforementioned necklace, some earrings, a bunch of gorgeous greeting cards and the 50th issue of Frankie (yay for Frankie!). The place is dangerous I tells ya. Wandering further north up William Street we somehow also managed to acquire a new print from Outre Gallery by Matte Stephens, and an old Nina Simone record (an original pressing!) from Noise Pollution.
We may have travelled onwards but I hadn’t worn sensible shoes (now there’s a money-saving tactic!) so we stopped by Little Willy’s to enjoy their fine coffee and homemade pink lemonade. Now there’s a perfect ending to a perfect afternoon.
***What I’m wearing – ivory scallop lace top by Madewell, fuchsia petal skirt by Leifsdottir, black and tan wedges by Country Road (similar here and here), earrings by Kate Spade (similar), lip tint by Tarte in Spirited
***What he’s wearing – chambray shirt with dog embroidery by Pigeonhole (they don’t have the dog one anymore but they do have the duck one – here!