February 12, 2015
It was still dark as I rolled off my 15 minute attempt at meditation. I had been staring out of my balcony window listening to Nepean highway traffic slowly build from an occasional woosh to a hum of commuters in their giddy self talk in preparation for another day in the work place.
A moment later I am showered and in my car peeling through the early blue. Destination is Caulfield station to secure a free car park and a quick train zoom into the CBD. I read last weeks economist on my iPhone, and before I know it Flagstaff appears in the windows. I commence my steady escalation to the city floor headed for Ab’s, my barber of 15 years. I arrive at his shop and instead of the normal cue of middle aged hairy men waiting for service, I exult at spotting Aby sitting there alone, mind you it is 6.30am.
I’m greeted by old matey and offered my first shot of caffeine. I hesitate because I don’t do the pod espresso machines normally but I balance off the value of the moment. We talk as we sip or coffee’s with the conversation following the normal path, his business, my business, a guy he knows who is doing well, the economy in general and the last notable Melbourne underworld figure who got a haircut there. All the while I sense the mammoth journey of a million of these early morning Melbourne moments but notice that here, in these early hours, time stands still; an absence of rush if you like.
I am cropped and waxed (don’t ask) and I emerge from the shop scalp refreshed and renewed. I make my way down Little Collins street to Syracuse, an old mansion of sorts now a restaurant cum cafe bar owned by a buddy of mine. I grab my strategic and internet enabled spot, the managers greeting ebbs across the floor as he whips up the standard long mac he knows I take.
The music of the morning fills the room and I savour the last of the absence of rush.
December 11, 2014
It was no surprise reading the results of the beyond blue study that revealed how alone we men are. Ironically, I sit alone in Emily's place cafe, Melbourne Central, pondering this issue over a latte.
Personally, I really try hard to stay in touch with my mates, not for them, but for me. They were always such a source of strength for me, but time and distance, and of life's challenges affect that. Hell its hard enough seeing my own brother. For me though, those days when we moved in packs had a context which inevitably changes later.
For me that was the Army and later Uni and all that brings with it socially. As a single guy I felt connected to my circle of bros. Marriage changed that, and for a while it was ok,.. you know young kids, the wife, the new home and all the hopes and dreams of a middle class existence.
That changes with time, as so many have written about relationships and what they do to both man and woman, and the (unfortunately) inevitable place we go to I like to call "the secret life of me". Its solace from the sadness, isolation and the gambit of negative thoughts that really (in my humble) stem from an unwillingness to move on, and face the next journey.
Clinging on the my old Army (footy ..whatever) glory days, being young and single, strong and beautiful (physically anyway) is a poison chalice. As my gorgeous girlfriend tells me, beauty is a visa not a passport. I guess the same applies to the company of good and bad (ass) men.
I'm ok, I find solace in a cup of coffee, and new crazy business idea, and kissing my woman for a little longer than she expects.
I'm kinda with Crash Davis from Bull Durham (in an Australian way of course) when he said "Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days."....
oh,.. and I believe in drinking amazing well made espresso coffee in Melbourne because life is just too bloody short for anything else. If I can do it with a brother,.. all the better!
October 16, 2014
It's funny how everyone carries on about the supposed coming increase price of coffee. My insights over the last decade plus;
1. Every few years there is a spike in the price of coffee followed by a downswing to in some cases historical lows. The daily weighted average price is actually lower now than two years ago, but like any commodity it fluctuates in the futures markets in line with market sentiment.
2. The price of coffee came back significantly a few years ago yet no one put their prices down, yet there is talk again of taking the price up. Seriously lets be consistent. Look up price elasticity on google and find out what the real cost will be.
3. Coffee itself is about 6% of the input cost of a take away cup in Melbourne, so any increase will not be felt at the cup price, if it is the cafe owner needs to think about his/her economics.
4. The media love the hype as we love our morning Latte enema shot. Lets not let the facts get in the way etc etc.
Life is too short for bad coffee,..
June 14, 2014
14 Jun 2004
Above is the first post on MCR on June 14th 2004. It was the year of my daughter’s birth. She was less than six months when I posted that and it was done in a giddy frenzy of happiness and anticipation of what was to come as a dad. For MCR it was the first of nearly 1,000 posts - some I love and some I wish had never gone up. The date is also auspicious for me as it's also my son’s birthday exactly two years later. He turns 8 today! Happy birthday my beautiful boy! It’s been 10 years to the day, my gorgeous daughter turned 10 early this year, and of course today is MCR’s 10th birthday.
I did some math on the number of coffees my team and I have consumed in those years and they are quite staggering. I make it over 30,000. And at about $3.50, I get just over $100,000 spent on coffee alone. I actually think it’s double that but I can’t bear to contemplate a bigger number. If you do the numbers, note the majority of those coffees were consumed during 2009-2011.
I started writing about coffee as a result of my own passions, and while I loved coffee and still do, it was the act of reflection and just sharing the experience that motivated me at the time to write each day. It’s about coffee, but in effect, through to about 2010 many of the posts were personal accounts of my life so you could say it was a personal diary, a web log, or blog ..LOL.
Of course life happened and MCR morphed into a commercial endeavour (I swore to myself I would not do that, but it kinda took on a life of its own). Kids grew, and life went on. Before I knew it, 10 years had passed.
In these last years I think you will agree that the coffee scene boomed Australia wide, but particularly in good ole’ Melbourne. It was crazy! Coffee roasters were popping up every three minutes, cool cafes were appearing daily everywhere with amazing coffee and food, tattoo parlours had a line out into the street of aspiring baristas and beards and beanie’s seem to be the order of the day if you pull a coffee (Interesting that Barista courses didn’t do as well). Groovy music filled the graffiti splattered café alleys like Centre Way and Degraves, Block Arcade, Hardware Lane and more, and the click clack of stilettos and black leather shoes hit the cobbled pavements between work and hot coffee shops.
If you sense a note of facetiousness in my tone you would be right. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the ride, and I think the coffee went to a new height of quality. Brands like Padre, Proud Mary, Seven seeds, Espresso Syndicate and more set a new standard of coffee quality, service and more. In my view, we then went over the crest of amazing coffee and into the valley of bullshit where some brands were touting coffee as ‘amazing’ that was absolutely not. It was wrapped up in cool venues and tattooed baristas and so it had to be great, but seriously,.. in soooo many ways it wasn’t.
We had situations where we did the top 100 and I would get abuse on the phone from people who should have known better (you know who you are). Seriously,.. crazy times, but unforgettable and precious none the less.
My favourite craziness is of course the single origin phenomenon. For the record, my personal taste for coffee fails to appreciate fruity or bright coffee. Me? I like 'coffee tasting coffee', that tastes like coffee with earthy tones, nutty,.. not a one dimensional flavour. Occasionally I’d taste a good single, but for me, mostly it tasted like average coffee with a squirt of dishwashing liquid in it.
I think perhaps lovers of the coffee scene were memorised with the media that followed us into the coffee commentary world and many peeps just got sucked in with the whole manufactured hip and grooviness. I’m a bit of a victim like that with wine, I really love the stuff but could not tell you why, and I am bamboozled in most cases with what sounds like absolute waffle.
As negative as the above sounds, I think that the heart and soul of the coffee scene in Melbourne is still very much here. I call it coffee 2.0 (I don’t actually, I’m kidding) and it consists of the ever growing mass of people who do their work in wired cafes, collaborating on global projects, start-ups, ideas, art and literature, and innovations. These cafes are our workspaces and great coffee and service is just the beginning.
I think the world is changing, many good folk are opting out (or being pushed out of corporate life) and are taking a more lifestyle and entrepreneurial approach to their income generating activities. This is underpinned by great coffee, places to meet, think, collaborate and work. That means appropriately laid out cafes, wifi that works and some space to work and talk. Great cafes are where the real people get social and then then tell the world about it on social media.
I cannot believe its 10 years. Happy birthday us! Thank you sincerely to all of who have been involved at any point on the journey. I give MCR 3 beans, we'll keep on doing our thing, and push out to the web and apps as long as you'll have us.
Lastly, but most especially, Happy 8th birthday my little man Vance. You are a legend, I love you with every ounce of my being.You rock my world completely!