This morning it was announced online that after a six month search of over 1000 cafes, a panel of Melbourne Age readers had deemed The Auction Rooms officially the best coffee in Melbourne. My other favourite, South Melbourne's eclectic St Ali also received an honourable mention. As a result, The Age has helpfully complied 'The Coffee Army Handbook', which is a guide to Melbourne's best coffee, handpicked by self-confessed Melbourne coffee connoisseurs.
Judging by the winner, it seems North Melbourne is taking some of the cool kids from the other side of town and depositing them, most specifically, on the uber trendy little seats lining the footpath outside The Auction Rooms. Located in the old WB Ellis auction house, the building itself has been made over in the most understated way, with kooky and tres-chic touches bringing it to life. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, usually more than willing to help if you're having trouble deciding what type of coffee it is you're after. (As a side note, the food is also pretty good.)
Errol Street, North Melbourne - officially home to Melbourne's best coffee
Most importantly, it seems the success of The Auction Rooms proves that the new age of coffee is upon us. Gone are the days of the thick black heartstarters that sent a shiver down your spine. Coffee is now an artform; people make careers out of the elusive mission to produce that perfect cup. 'White with two' no longer cuts it - we have options beyond our wildest dreams, not to mention a surplus of baristas who actually know what they're talking about. Auction Rooms owner Andrew Kelly directly sources the beans his staff use, and oversees the painstaking process himself. This passion is evident when you sit down with your vanilla soy latte and soak up the atmosphere, and judging by the lines outside The Auction Rooms every weekend, it seems the masses agree.
The Coffee Army Handbook, featuring Melbourne's top 100 coffee spots, is free in The Age this Friday.