Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Axil Coffee Roasters - (Melbourne)

  People often state that taste preference can be a vey subjective matter!    It is certainly true up to a certain extent, but well trained wine and food critics are supposed to be knowledgeable enough to be able to look into these matters with an opened but fair mind,   as well as being assertive or convincing in their own judgmental way!   I’m not quite up to that veritable level and it is certainly hard to pass judgment on one of the hottest new Café arrivals in Melbourne, which is owned by a 3 times National Australian Barista Champion David Makin,  he who has  competed and earned himself the status of being the 2nd Best World Barista in the World Barista Championship from just a few years back.   On a personal level,  the coffees here turned out a little out of my expectations.  It is more aligned with the 2nd Wave style rather than the trendier 3rd Wave movement…  It is bold and slightly bitter,  with a toasty nuttiness and dark chocolate back structure which made it appear more Italian than most other modern Australian coffees.  But this is exactly what most customers expect in their very subjective preferences, and in this respect David has aimed correctly at the right market crowd, or perhaps Hawthorn customers,  with his blending and roasting technique  (let’s face it, how many coffee drinkers order espressi short blacks,  or expect any sourness or fruitiness in their coffees?).  




Lovely Communal Setting -
And very crowded on both of my visits..   But from a teacher’s and a pioneer’s point of view - I did secretly wished that David can try a little harder to educate his dedicated followers.  That coffee was once a cherry afterall and should reflect it’s terroir and cultivar gene.  He can offer a few more coffee styles for us fussy coffee lovers to choose from, rather than entertaining the usual crowd coming by here just for a caffeine fix.  Let’s hope for the best during the next Seasonal Blend update changes!




La Marzocco and Mazzer machines run the whole show here -
David Makin,  since his days at Veneziano & First Pour has always used this proven Italian combo.  It is stable and repeatable,  but perhaps his selection of equipment already do give us an underlying clue, of what we would expect from our resultant cups…?


Coffee Roaster -
Coffee beans are roasted on site,  right in front of the customers on an Indie scale level.

Savoury French Toast with Spinach, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms, 
Truffled Pecorino Cheese and additional Smoked Trout -  $18.5
Not often do we see a french brioche loaf cooked in a savoury and eggy way,  and this was pretty good as a result.  The truffled pecorino was really aromatic and the smokiness from the trout really accentuated the complexity of this breakfast dish.   Albeit this was all a little oily,  which robs it of a few points!   Otherwise,  very enjoyable indeed!!   ~  8/10


Caffe Latte -  $3.50
The amount of foam in this cup, done by this particular barista on duty,  was spot on but a tad too bubbly for what is capable from a La Marzocco GB series.   Taste wise,  it was mostly of a woody and dark chocolate like profile.  It was good and balanced,  but not exceptional.  ~  7/10


Espresso -
The House Blend seasonal espresso is made from a trio combination of Colombia Santa Rita, Costa Rica Herbazu and El Salvador San Emilio, also used in the milk coffee above!    This had just a hint of berry acidity,  but overall it was dark caramel like in a clean way and slightly too burnt bitter.   Very surprisingly,  this also reminds me of some of the thinner less viscous versions of  Italian espressi I’d tried in Rome.  It’s actually quite Italian in style.  7.5/10



Food Display Shelf -
but not entirely enticing …



Barista Equipment for sale -
Some great tampering equipment from a few famous brands. 

Mini Siphon, Pour Over,  Aeropress,  Chemex,  French Press,  home Espresso Machine -
You name it, they’ve got it here!!

Take Away Caffe Latte -
I liked this better,  than the drink-in caffe latte I had above on another day.  It was a little more smoother in the milk texturing and also more caramelly, rather than than just dark chocolate bitter.  This was made with a double ristretto base.  ~  7.5/10

Earl Grey Tea -
Brewed to the exact temperature using their Marco water brewer and using proper earl grey tea leaves,  before being poured into a takeaway cup.  This was one serious tea.  Fairly fragrant with a real bergamot oil aroma,  but not as darkish strong as you’ll find in Paris generally.   ~  9/10

Price: AUD $3.50 - 20 per person
Coffee:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Open 7 days -   7am – 4pm

Address: 322 Burwood Road, Melbourne, Victoria 3122
Phone: (03) 9819 0091

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