Happy International Coffee day!

I joined some project to be creative – so decided to write a short blog post each day.

Today is International Coffee Day. Due to many changes, we, coffee lovers, must be prepared for a small or huge increase in coffee price… No complain as long as we can have good coffee from great people who are passionate and pay a bit back to producers…

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Drink Coffee Do Good

It is hard to realise how hard it can be until you lose something – Anything can be dearly missed but in particular, losing somewhere you can call home must hit hard on someone. You see many people on street, some just sit and ask for money, some sell a magazine. I guess we try not to see them in order to protect us from being frustrated, embarrassed or feeling how unfair a life can be. It is hard to understand for many what happened to them and how they ended up on street.

I can say only from my own experience such a situation is often caused by lack of support – possibly from family, or social welfare or mental illness – or a combination of all. It is easy to be judgmental to say they can do better, they should work harder, or they are lazy. But we are all different, and all of our circumstance differs, so no one-size fits all.

I do some fund raising from time to time as well as personal donations to some organizations. Luckily, I can spend some money on my favorite vice – coffee – even though it should be less than most of my coffee loving people. But at least, I have a roof over my head, can support my little fur baby and myself, and can spend some on occasional gigs (luckily, I don’t drink!) and beauty therapy. I really appreciate some financial security, but not all people can enjoy that.

That is why I always try to spread a word on annual “Drink Coffee Do Good” ran to support homeless people. When I open the map, I was a bit underwhelmed as the number of Brisbane cafes that supported this initiative was significantly less than those in both Sydney and Melbourne. One lady from a Coffee Group left a comment that baristas of the cafe she had visited on Thursday had never heard of such a program.┬á Maybe people don’t know…

This year, I went to 4 cafes in CBD: Strauss, Coffee Hit, John Mills Himself and Coffee Anthology as I unknowingly took a day off to do some chores. All were good – and coffee was good, and service was good. People working at those place were so pleasant. I was wondering whether being nice and friendly was a per-requisite to work at those places, or they have changed after being surrounded by nice people. Either way, it was a good day to enjoy cofee knowing I could contribute a bit to the society…

Too many places – Too good to believe

I have been lazy over June and July. Actually I believe I was quite under the weather. Other than working for 5 days, I mostly spent most of my weekend in my bed! I talked about it with a lady a week ago. She pointed out it could have been caused by lack of sun light due to the shorter days in winter. It makes sense as I have become feeling better after the winter solstice!

Now I feel much better and have noticed there are way too many new cafes to visit all around Brisbane. What a welcoming change – I used to complain there were not enough cafes to visit. I now complain I cannot visit all of my old favorite cafes.

I will update my blog soon – hopefully it is full of good reviews ­čÖé

Black Sheep Roaster (Woolloongabba)

I always wanted to visit Black Sheep after having a nice chat with the owner at CBD market. I bought a bag of Kenya, which turned out to be very juicy and fruity. I am, however, very lazy, particularly in the morning, so tried once to visit Rocklea Market, but somehow I missed it. I tried second time, finally found it, but too hot to have coffee.

Black Sheep Roaster 1

Black Sheep Roaster 1

I was extremely happy when I heard the roaster now opens on weekend, and learned two of my favorite lady baristas working there now.

The setting is getting better, the selection of music is very nice. Not many places play jazz in Australia. It is not huge, but spacious and lots of light and air. When I visited them for the first time, it carried an atmosphere of work-in-progress, but the place now has vases with flowers and coffee books if you wish to get some education on coffee.

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The espresso machine looks shiny and bright, but baristas behind the machine make this roaster the place for people who are after friendly chats. The head barista greets everyone and conveys happy vibes. Espresso, V60 and moccamaster brews are offered. There are three grinders.

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I had Panama on V60. I sometimes find Panama lacking something – all taste profiles are so subdued, still enjoyable but not memorable. I had excellent Panama at Jacu (will write about it another time) as it is from Ninety Plus, so no wonder it tasted extremely delicious, but Panama here also tasted very much enjoyable. The presentation was also nice – though the head barista and I feel a bit strange to use Japanese mug for coffee (they are dedicated for green tea), I guess Japanese mugs maintain the temperature high enough comparing to traditional porcelain cups. Something different is always welcome.

Panama Pour over from Black Sheep

Black Sheep also offers an interesting selection of tea. I tried Un-nam white tea that tasted peachy sweet with some flower scent. It tasted really lovely and so mouthful. Since I have started drinking coffee, I don’t have much tea now, but the tea I had made me feel going back to my old ritual. One of the baristas also does a tea ceremony. If you are interested, you can go in to ask.

Lovely tea served by a young tea master

Lovely tea served by a young tea master

Unfortunately they do not offer any food at the moment as its main focus is roasting. But if you love having a nice coffee in a relaxed environment, this is the place you need to visit. It is a hidden gem in the industrial area.

Lovely presentation

Lovely presentation

My challenge

I used to be unemployed so had lots of time to visit many cafes. I now work full-time thankfully. It gives me enough to pay all bills and accommodation as well as a bit of discretionary┬á spending – mostly on coffee and food to dine out. That creates a bit of problem. I now work three days in CBD and work from home two days a week. Even though my job is not so stressful, I feel tired by the end of the week, and want to sleep in on weekend.

So, my dilemma is which cafes I should visit while working. This sounds like a rather easy question, but my problem is 1) my work is a bit far from central CBD 2) I am expected to socialise with my work mates…

I am now four shops behind from my planned visits to new places…

Black Friday at the Bunker (Milton)

I missed out the last year’s black Friday – that was really disappointing for filter coffee lovers like me. I managed to get a day off and two though it is not in my working arrangement. I am sometimes lucky.

Thought the dumping rain, many clients turned up. It seems the filter coffee culture is blossoming in Brisbane…

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I started from Gesha from Code Black, then tried Bolivian from Market Lane. Later on, other friends arrived and ordered more filters. I ended up with trying, two Geshas, Kenyan, Rwandan and Bolivian. Unfortunately missed out Honduras and Colombian.

I liked all but particularly Gesha was just too good – very subtle with many things – sweetness, flowery aroma, fruit acidity, a bit of cocoa after-taste. I tried to last it long, but i finished rather quickly. The wait time is about 30 minutes though.

I am now looking forward to the next year’s Black Friday – I know it is too soon, but love the atmosphere and of course, seeing many coffee lovers!

Of course, Easter should come with a bunny!

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The Tiller (Newmarket)

The Tiller quickly became one of my favorite cafes in Brisbane at my first visit. The owners are always friendly and polite, as well as so enthusiastic with coffee. Unfortunately, I live on the other side of the town, and now work from home often combined with many catchups on weekend, I cannot visit the Tiller as much as I want. But whenever I visit, they always serve me great coffee, nice food with lots of smile. They also have a nice herb garden, which is of my envy as all my herbs seem to perish without any indications… I also brought some of my coffee enthusiast friends here, and all of them unanimously fell in love with the place.

I am more of filter coffee person (remember I am from Japan where coffee is normally brew via pourover and Siphon). I found some filter coffee I have in Brisbane tends to be way too mild/watery though some might call it as subtle – sorry but most of Japanese brews are very dark – I now find too dark.

I had a friend with me, so thought I would need a bigger amount resulting in ordering 360ml of Kenya. Though it was a huge amount for two petite ladies, I managed to consume most of it, and I was very proud of myself.

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Not many cafes can fail Kenyan – but still this coffee was juicy sweet with a hint of mild chocolate aftertaste. It was very moreish.

Before having filter, I had Rwandan from Marvel Street. It came with citrus acidity and tasted very refreshing – It had a strong hit from the first sip. I still prefer the mildness of filter coffee though both of coffee tasted really enjoyable.

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Chatting with a friend over great coffee – a perfect way to start the weekend.