D’Ough Espresso – Newtown

Coffee: 14/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 26/40

I’m not sure about you, but I’m a bit of a sceptic when it comes to chain cafes. In Newtown, we’ve all seen a few chains come and go, and when D’Ough Espresso arrived, I have to be forgiven for avoiding the place like the plague.

A Saturday afternoon, some time around half 3, finds me at that awkward time when many cafe’s are closing up. Yes, I could have gone a good one I knew would be open and happening, but just for you I put my body in the firing line and walked into D’Ough Espresso.

While I’m in the mood to be honest, I have to tell you, I had already thought of a witty line for this cafe’s failure – “d’oh try again”. Luckily, as it’s a terrible headline, I did not have to use it.

Walking in you may have to do a double take in connecting this cafe to its underwhelming sister in the city near town hall, which looks cheap and depressing.

D’Ough, in Newtown has a bit of a cool hole in the wall thing going for it, wedging itself in between Elizabeth’s and the IGA. It uses the space well though, with the bakery at the front and, kitchen and seating area at the back.

I am not sure if there was table service and so I went right to the counter and made a latte order and took a seat at the first table closest to the action.

The first feeling you’ll get from this cafe is ‘wow this is a tight space’, the second is, ‘am I in someone’s kitchen?’ Sitting in such a small place brings everyone together – customers, diners and staff alike. The place seems to be run by a family (no idea if it is) and it seems easy to become involved in their daily activities.

My coffee was brought over to me with a genuine smile and my waitress asked me if I’m in any need of sugar, “I’m right” I reply.

The coffee looks pretty swish, it’s served in a clean glass sitting on a black saucer. There is a rough, but elegant fern upon it, it is layered well and has a good heat to it.

The aroma of the coffee, to my nose, was reasonably driven by a bit of a sharp but sweet fruitiness, that was rather unexpected on a milk espresso drink.

Taste wise fruity flavours typically don’t make it through to the tasting stage, and D’Ough’s espresso was no exception. I found it to be a rather sweet drink, but instead of the sharp fruitiness I found more of a dull caramel (maybe a slight milk chocolate) milk flavour base – think if Campos’s House Blend blended into Rickies’ AllPress blend. Not an instant winner or a loser for that matter.

While I was letting it cool, I had two older guys come and start leaning on my table, one grabbed the newspaper off it and then proceeded to start talking about horse racing between each other. The lady who served me soon joined in on their conversation as both took a seat beside me. I felt there was plenty of opportunity for me to join in if I wanted, but a little bit of my personal space had been stolen.

Letting a drink cool and steep typically has an effect on the flavour of a coffee. In D’Ough’s case it did not – its initial flavour pallet is quite consistent following through with perhaps the caramel mixing a little better with the milk.

Overall, D’Ough Espresso Newtown is very viable option in this cafe-saturated area. It was a cafe I went into expecting it to be crap, but came off as a reasonably good experience. While the coffee was not outstanding, it does present very well. Staff, I think would go above and beyond if you wanted, although may be a little too personal for some, and food looks far better then any standard chain I can remember. However, taste is king, well 1/4 king on my scale, and this is where D’Ough on this occasion let me down. Otherwise a great little find.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 8/10
Experience (taste and smell): 6/10
Coffee total: 14/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): A super suave Michel’s Patisserie
Cool?: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Cafe: 12/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 26/40

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