Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sensory Lab - (Melbourne, Australia)

  Sensory Lab is a revolutionary café concept and a pioneer.    Far from re-creating the seen it and done it before average communal and warm coziness customers are accustomed to  when visiting their local cafes,  it ventured off in the opposite direction and is set up to become a Coffee Laboratory.   It’s almost like the polar opposite of its other sister shop, a locally famous back street and hole-in-the-wall  St Ali.  And this week, these local coffee gurus have opened another new café inside Melbourne Central.    In Sensory Lab, customers are subconsciously persuaded to explore and become educated about coffee,  its possibilities and representations.   This approach does alienate a few customers who are only needing a place to sit back and let the mind re-cure itself to prepare for the rest of the day,  much like people go to Starbucks for their sofas after a few hours of shopping in a department store,  which Sensory Lab is found inside one right in the centre of Melbourne.

Found on the Ground Floor of City’s David Jones -

A Slayer -
A method of making coffee,  which makes coffee good enough for feeding Vampires!
That’s unfortunately not to be found in Hong Kong for the time being.  No one has a machine as yet!


Plenty of Beans available for Purchasing and Exploring in the office, or back at home -
These are all high quality coffee lots,  in fact,  this reminds me of Monmouth Coffee in London but with fairly different bean lots on offer.



The Coffee Sensory Kit -
To train your nose to pick up certain coffee traits,
whether good or faulty.  Now I need one of these !


“The Slayer” -
One of the most customisable and expensive,  also very exclusive Espresso Machines in the world.   The cups coming out from The Slayer are a unique experience, indeed..

Cold Drip -
Fairly good lots of Single Origins are also offered on the Cold Drips. 
To me personally, it’s a bit wasted as full natural flavour profiles aren’t always manifested. 


Water -
Also served in Laboratory looking bottles !  Cool..

Raw Sugar -  looking rather like gun powder!

Syphon -
It seems like different Cafes in Melbourne promote their own preferred ways of making black coffee. Sensory Lab in particular pushes for Syphon/Siphoning. Whereas some cafes have everything from a V60 to a Chemex to a Clover available.



Syphoned ‘Panama Don Pachi’ Geisha Bean -  $8
From the farm of the owners who 1st brought in the Geisha bean variety into Panama – these are one of the most sought after and pricy beans in the world, and has always been one of my favourites.  There are some dud Panama’s or different region’s Geisha beans you drink once in a while,  but this cup today was honestly one of the most fragrant Geisha’s I remembered having.  I’ve experimented with a few Geisha’s in HK and none of those were even 25% out of 100% as powerfully encapsulating as this.  It was like Geisha on steroids and one could smell it from 5 metres away!   With a Strawberry and Cream undertone and a super aromatic,  Floral & Bee Pollen fragrance,  this is probably stronger than most fruit herbal teas out there!   Amazing stuff and couldn’t rave about it, albeit a bit too powerful for daily drinking. Slightly too exaggerated in taste and aroma profile,  it also showcases how good a Panama Geisha can get!  ~     9.5/10


Cappuccino – $4
This is using one of the house S1–Champion blend, made of 3 types of mostly South American beans.  It is a fail safe approach to suit the Shoppers in David Jones I suppose.  To me this was too weak and whatever cutting through the milk, was over-powered by the latter.  It really needs to be ordered as Strong or Double Shot,  in order to try it out properly.  ~   6/10



Rwanda Buf Café Espresso (Slayer pulled)-
This is like a fairly syrupy juice coming out from the Pressure Profiling enabled Slayer,  which means during the whole extraction process -  the coffee grind can be fine tuned in a non-linear way to suit each of its extraction stage.    It is a heavy bodied shot minus the crema bubbles,  carrying a plum and shiraz grape note with a tinge of white pepper and chocolate.  Interesting and very addictive.  Not the most out-of-this-universe Slayer-pulled shot I’ve ever experience but compared to other normal espressi shots,  this cup carried it’s own small universe and story to be told.   Hard to guess whether this is achievable due to the Red Bourbon Bean lots or the Slayer Machine itself, before doing side-by-side comparisons.  ~  9/10




Price: AUD $4 to $12 per person
Coffee:  ♕♕♕♕♕  (Order strong versions in Milk based Coffees)

Opening Hours -
Mon to Wed 7:30 am - 7 pm
Thurs to Fri 7:30 am - 9 pm
Sat 8:00 am - 7 pm
Sun 8:30 am - 7 pm

Address: David Jones 297 Little Collins Street Melbourne VIC
Ph: (03) 9643 2222

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