Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 31/40
Bean: Boots – 5 bean blend (Flat White), El Salvador – Salyer (Long Black)
Sunday: A sunny afternoon on the leafy Lower North Shore finds me in Crows Nest in search of a coffee worth blogging about. After the glimmer of hope Olio offered down the road (Pacific Highway) in the Forum, I figured a stop in what locals name the inner west of the lower north shore was a good option.
My first port of call is Bean Drinking, one of only a handful of cafes fellow twitter coffee nerds have recommended to me in the area. Found close to the end of Willoughby Road sitting on the park near the Crows Nest Hotel (Crowie), Bean Drinking ticks all the coffee shop boxes for an Inner city coffee hot spot:
- Outside tables maximising far too much of the footpath
- Somewhat friendly staff dressed in shorts, ripped tees and vests
- Arcade Fire to jazz on the stereo
- And a coffee, rather than food focus
All big ticks!
I arrive finding a prime table outside, catching it just as some satisfied people had left. Saying hi to the staff guy nets me all the valuable info I need. “Order inside man… but what-do-ya-want”, “flat white” I reply and as I still went inside to pay, the whole coffee process already was on its way.
The people who seem to love this place are the usual Lower North shore types. Couples, families and coffee nerds all using phones, iPads and what not, while chatting away. There were couple of dogs floating around as well.
A flat white comes out some time later, with an apology about the wait (I did not really notice it took that long). The aroma of the coffee was a rich fruity and balanced chocolate smell crafted around a medium roast.
Tasting it, the coffee had a very delicate nature to it but yet it was quite complex in its taste, you could tell this was one hell of a blend! Far from having a wonderful coffee punch that so many love right now, the coffee here resembles Campos (Newtown), in that the blend attempts to use the flavours of the milk to enhance the drink rather then overwhelm the drinker with a pure coffee experience. In comparing smell to taste, that chocolate aroma, twisted to more of a cocoa one, the stronger fruity smell turned to more of a pleasant fruity sweetness. It lent a little more on the acidic side then I would have predicted, but balanced well to my tastes.
Letting the flat white sit allowed the coffee to take on more of a woody to nutty taste. This was quite unexpected, but I reckon this was a nice taste progression for that chocolate to cocoa flavour to take.
Not everyone is going to love the house blend (given it’s milk creaminess use), but then again, if you like more of a punch, be brave and talk to the barista and I’m sure between the two of you, you’ll find the right bean.
Overall, it’s a café that does make me eat my words a bit. The Lower North Shore can serve up a good coffee. The coffee shop was an exciting find as it is a café that uses locally roasted (organic as well?) beans. Great find, I reckon it’s up there was Sydney’s best. Do check it out!
Final words: I should also note that Bean Drinking hosts a Slayer, which in my eyes makes it a true café of class. Coffees made on such a machine can be wonderful. I could not resist a long black once I saw this. The bean which is used on the machine is a single origin from El Salvador, which, as many great El Salvador beans do have some great acidity, refinement and depth to it. My tasting was totally off for this drink but I reckon there were some interesting flavours. The bean carried a passion fruit to an apricot kind of taste which was balanced against an underriding toffee flavour, it was quite a wonderful drink which, if you like syrupy coffee makes it an instant winner.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
Coffee total: 17/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): Coffee roaster meets North Shore sidewalk.
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 31/40