Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 33/40
Bean: Ethiopian Single Origin (It changes)
Tuesday: My university work with Access Economics And Life Without Barriers over the summer has, so far, pushed my usual travel boundaries within Sydney (Rockdale), and that’s good news for coffee nerds and explores alike, as it means I’m seeing new places and what not.
While I had good intentions to try multiple cafes down in the ‘the dale’, Shallow Traders Espresso, located right next to the station on the Eastern side, has captured me completely, and is my go-to in Rockdale.
A little larger then a whole in the wall, Shallow, however, is hard to miss, its bright, white and has huge painted birds (what I assume are shallows!) on the outside (and inside) walls.
You can tell, as soon as you walk in, that you are entering into a place where the barista/owner knows her stuff. Bright, knowledgeable and fun, Swallow is a coffee lovers paradise.
Today, I only had about 20mins before a meeting so I wanted something fast and amazing a single macchiato fitted that bill. The barista seemed happy at my choice, and then immediately told me all about bean which she was using that day (week?). She explained to me that I was about to drink an Ethiopian Single Origin (which also happen to be origin of coffee bean) and then went on to tell me what flavours I should look forward too (she noted that this bean typically has a strong chocolate taste, but due to it being washed, I would also expect to taste some rich berry flavours). I love this kinda detail, it’s great for those in the know and those, like myself, who are the great pretends of this world.
The coffee came out very quickly and was served to me in a cool an egg shaped glass. What just topped off this egg like espresso was that it came served on a hand carved by the owner/ barista (as I am told, as who makes espresso boards…) wooden board with a complementary shot of soda water (or mineral water) to cleanse the pallet before or after the coffee (I would recommend before) on the side (how cool is that?).
The coffee came out looking like a pro, as you can see from the photo. Serving a espresso shot in a glass to the customer is ballsy, as a glass has nothing to hide, but Shallow pulled it off. Check out the portion, it’s more or less spot on. Was also nice to see new milk frothed for my drink (they waited for a second order so not to waste milk).
The coffee had a wonderful rich earthy cocoa(ish) smell, which just hit my nose oh so well. The taste is what I expected (having been given the rundown earlier), it was a reasonably bold drink with a dominant chocolate taste with a nice middle of the mouth sweet berry/fruity taste.
Overall what’s not to love about this café. Staff are fantastic (if you come here only a few times they know your drink and talk to you like a local of years [maybe months as it’s a new place]) and knowledgeable (sure they could all talk your ear off about different beans, roasts and what not). Coffee is experimental, changing by the week (and caffeine level, decaffeinated beans are typically a different roast). Serving style pretty unique (hard carved wood trays) and food while I don’t review here, is nice fresh and very much made to order. It’s a café which would sit well (and what you would expect) in Redfern, Enmore or Surry Hills, but it’s nice to see it make it here, not where one would typically look for a great coffee.
My advice – go to the ‘dale head for Swallow check this place out.
1. Coffee score
Style (look): 9/10
Experience (taste and what not): 8/10
Coffee total: 17/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): coolest place in the dale
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 33/40
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