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When they put up new signage at the Balwyn Library, one bored teenager quipped "and they say that nothing ever happens in Balwyn." He was wrong, there are some worthy finds in this green-leafed conservative suburb - although, perhaps not always for teenagers.
One of the best finds is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Well, that's what the locals call it. In reality, it is a wine come coffee shop called Bin 3.
It is a courtyard affair where you can sip your favourite brew
under a cascading mass of hydroponic blooms. The family enterprise occurred in three stages;
First came Pete Mornement's love of wine. In a landscape of barn-like Liquorlands and Dan Murphy Cellars, his emphasis is on small producers who crush under 100 ton of grapes per year. This way customers get a chance to buy wines usually only available at cellar doors.
Then son, Tom, joined the act by starting the coffee arm of the
business. His secret ingredient is "Chosen Bean" - a gold medal winner at Golden Bean, the biggest coffee roasting competition in the Southern Hemisphere.
When you ask for your skinny cap or macchiato, he pulls the levers on a twenty year old coffee machine originally hailing from Don Camillo's in Victoria St West Melbourne. It is a three group La Cimbali M28, which Tom calls the "Big Block Hemi V8" of espresso machines. "I am confident that most of the original cast from Underbelly have had a coffee from this machine" he adds.
Tom's Mum makes delicious slices to accompany her son's coffee. She also directed her green thumb towards the wilderness out back. She got the boys to put up overhead trellises and then set up a hydroponic garden, which soon sprouted an assortment of herbs, vegetables and massive cascades of tumbling petunias.
It is this garden courtyard, with its assortment of laminated kitchen tables and chairs that really sets this business apart. Sitting out under the blooms is bliss - sipping arguably the area's best coffee, reading the day's papers or even perhaps a book from the Balwyn Library. A reminder that even the staidest suburbs have their bonuses.