A couple of weeks ago I was wandering aimlessly through Melbourne’s CBD after a meeting at a big law firm. In hindsight, I’m not really sure if I was hungry, cold, thirsty or just in shock after an hour and a half of being in the steely presence of a team of corporate lawyers.
So, in spilling out of their grandiose Collins Street building into Flinders Lane I became acutely aware that I needed a serious exogenous stimulant. Ambling across the narrow causeway I happened upon the bright idea to put my normal dietary practices to one side and console myself with a delicious, proper NY style bagel from Glick’s. Imagine my utter astonishment when I got to the Customs House on Flinders Lane, looked up from the bluestone to find that Glick’s had been replaced with a familiar sign, that of Toby’s Estate – the Sydney founded coffee roasting crew who have become part of the Melbourne Cafe and Roasting furniture.
I took seeing that sign, well, as a sign…, a sign that I had earned a deep warm cup of the black stuff. A cleansing of palate and spirit and at this point it was either coffee or a pint of Guinness at the Bull and Bear.
Walking up the weenie steps and into the shop I was taken immediately by the use of light in the shop. Even on a cold and stormy afternoon in a bluestone wrought laneway, daylight poured through the vaulted windows into a space that felt adult and contemporary (and kinda Grey – Melbourne style) but not stuffy or boring. The layout walks you through a retail section straight up to the busy bar adorned with the stunning Spirit Triplette but what really stood out to me is what appears to be a cupping and training room beyond the bar. It’s sort of similar to the zoo-enclosure feel that you get watching folks cup at Seven Seeds. I learned later that this is the home of their Espresso School. One thing to note is that they have domestic espresso machines in there so you don’t have to learn on a complex industrial machine only to go home and be disappointed by your spluttering Breville (just kidding, I love my Breville).
Ok, so, onto the actual coffee. If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I’m a fan of the ever elusive, ever changing work of interpretive art that is the long macchiato. And, yep, Toby’s deliver their own unique take on it too. Served in a short glass and full to the brim, the long mach , which I was told was made using the Brunswick Blend. Light on froth and tasting faintly of cocoa it was a just the thing to bring back to the land of the living.
With sunny and professional service, a full range of coffees (single origins and blends to keep you busy for weeks), snacks and a fully functional kitchen that appeared to be cranking there are numerous reasons (not just detoxing from a visit to your lawyer) to get yourself into Toby’s Estate on Flinders Lane.