I am unashamedly a devotee of Melbourne's intense coffee culture. I love trying to keep track of the never-ending array of new cafes opening. I enjoy comparing notes with friends on where to find the perfect flat white, or what places roast their own beans. And I definitely have my list of favourite coffee 'specialists' who always provide me with an outstanding caffeine hit: Padre in Brunswick East; Cafe Ora in Kew; Brother Baba Budan in the CBD; Proud Mary in Collingwood, to name a few.
But since moving house recently, I've had an important revelation: Good coffee doesn't need to be trendy! A cafe does not need to be staffed or frequented by hipsters in order to produce an excellent cup of jo.
My case in point is my favourite new local haunt in Fairfield, Stathmos 109. It's an unassuming coffee shop on Station Street's excellent retail strip, one of a number of cafes that reflect the Greek heritage of the area. There's not much 'décor' to speak of at Stathmos 109; no exposed wooden benches, no water provided in old gin bottles. But gosh, they make good coffee!
After repeated visits, my flat white is consistently rich and hot, with a perfect milk-to-foam ratio. Made with Grinders Giancarlo coffee, it is delivered promptly by the very friendly staff and I savour it in the laid-back setting. What more could you ask for?
If this is not tempting enough, customers are greeted immediately with a spread of delicious Greek cakes and pastries as they walk in the door. Try the Melomakarona (walnut honey biscuits) or the churros-style donuts (soaked in syrup and sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon) for some simple and sweet accompaniments.
Sweet and delicious, walnut and honey melomakarono
Of course, this doesn't mean that I'll abandon my penchant for single-origin roasts or slow drip cold brews. Yet how wonderful to remember that a passion for good coffee isn't limited to cafes listed in The Age Good Food Guide. What are your favourite 'untrendy' cafes? Any hidden gems that drop off the radar, but still come up with the goods?
Highett Road, Highett has 4 friendly cafes serving excellent coffee. All very different places but all good coffee served with a smile.
1. Periwinkles - Italian food - Home Style food - Delicious!
2. Highett Delicatessen - Greek Food/Produce
3. The Dispensary - Focus on produce that does not hurt our earth. Great gift shop too. Best Brownies!
4. Monkey Can Fly - 5 Senses Coffee - Cafe Food