Wednesday, April 20, 2011

7am, Melbourne CBD

White knuckle tight
Through black and white
Oh, when I burn
Fuel is pumping engines
Burning hard, loose and clean
And then I burn
Turning my direction
Quench my thirst with gasoline
So gimme fuel, gimme fire, gimme that which I desire

Metallica, 'Fuel', ReLoad, 1997

It's a well known fact that Melbournians are seriously spoiled for choice when it comes to coffee and a new coffee shop is a beautiful thing to be explored and experienced, especially in the city. I have three places within 100 metres of my office that make seriously good coffee, no lie. And by seriously good I mean the type where you find it hard to choose where to go drop your money. When faced with choice like that my decision is made according to my mood and the type of experience I'm looking to have first thing in the morning.

The League of Honest Coffee is the newcomer. They have shiny, colourful machines, a single speed bike chained to the street sign out front and take my order on an iPad. The barista makes conversation and asks personal questions about weekends, dinners and how I'm feeling. The piles of fresh pastries beckon me from the glass counter but I manage to resist. The coffee is $3.50 and I feel a little cooler coming out than when I went in.

65 Degrees is small cramped and proud of its many awards. It arrived with a flourish and attracted much hype and many office workers - in the early days I barely needed to come into the office, everyone was there either midway through their coffee or waiting for one. Sarah, the barista, knows my name and misses me when I don't show for a couple of days. Sometimes she makes an impressive design in the foam of my latte and other times it's a face drawn on the cup's lid. She charges $3.20.

Cafe 166 doesn't have a website, is always empty early in the morning and I'm not confident the volume of clientele improves much during the day. It's a take away sandwich shop, cheap, impersonal and I'm never asked for more than my order. The barista labours over the coffee, stretching the milk and pouring it neatly into the cup. His price is $3 and I don't know his name but really enjoy his coffee.

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