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Published January 4th 2013
A great place to hang and chill but not for coffee
Easy access, convenient location but terribly overrated, if you ask me. At $4 a cup the size you're forced to sit with at a four year old's tea party, Plantation is just not my cup of tea. The coffee is not mind-blowing and they burnt my green tea bag with boiling water.
Plantation comes with impeccable antecedents and rave reviews but to me it seems to be the Tom Cruise of cafes – I don't get how the stardom came about. Ardent Plantation Coffee fans are probably going to tear into this review, but there I've said it. Now that I've got the ranting done, let's see if I've anything nice to say.
Plantation Coffee does have a certain character that sets it apart. It's almost part of the food court but strangely enough is quite the opposite in terms of noise levels and activity. There is a general calm in this area and people appear chilled as they disappear into large bucket seats that act as private pods where you can read, listen to music, or browse your gadgets. The place has Wi-Fi and this is indeed a huge plus.
It's a great place to meet up with people. It's one of my favourite spots to meet clients to discuss writing jobs. Often this will be with total strangers with whom I've only exchanged a couple of emails. So it suits me to meet up in a wide open well-lit place with lots of people moving around but not really kicking up a racket.
The café borders an open area with comfortable furniture placed casually around. A floor to ceiling glass window overlooking Latrobe St lets in plenty of sunlight and reasonably good views. The interior décor in the open area with large white chandeliers that are pretty to look at adds incredibly to the ambience.
Getting back to the cafe, there is what I believe to be a potted coffee plant growing towards the light right at the top of an arrangement of coffee and tea packs. Looks interesting and certainly is in keeping with the character of the place. The woodwork, bright orange and white floor tiles, and overall design also set the place apart.
The counter area is replete with an array of coffee machines and packaged blends of tea and coffee. There is a small window through which you place your order, pay for it, and then move on to the next window where you'll be served in about 5 minutes depending on the crowd. They call out your name and you get to pick up your little red cup and go find a seat.
The coffee, depending on what you ask for, can be hit or miss. But in any case it's over when you've had about 3 sips. Consistently served at just above room temperature this takes about four and a half seconds. Perhaps the idea is to make you line up for a second cup. However, if it's never really that inspiring to begin with what are the chances of that happening? Besides, I take issue with cafés that ruin your green tea with boiling water. You'd think an uptown café would be clued in about that little detail.
you are right, I consider myself to be a coffee buff trying out different coffees wherever I can , unfortunately I had to move to sydney recently. Plantation coffee is better than almost all cafes but its not top notch. I guess the stardom comes from the fact that you get a good cup of coffee in a very good location for hundreds to shoppers and nearby offices which makes them more popular.
Having tried a lot of the CBD places that appear in coffee guides, I think the coffee's pretty good there...granted, it is a few cents more and a few grams smaller than most competitors of that standard. They have changed management recently, if that accounts for any drop in quality.