Archive for the ‘VICTORIA’ Category

About my favourite Barista

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

As a willing victim of the Melbourne coffee delirium for more than 10 years, I have come to develop some genuine relationships with Baristas.  I trust this ‘A team’ of Baristas making choices I would never dream of!  For example, as a rule, I don’t do single origins – unless one of my guys tells me it’s ok.  In many instances, a young waiter has come and taken an order for coffee only to go back to the Barista saying “that guy said that he’ll have whatever you recommend…” 


Just last Sunday I visited Balmain’s – a regular of mine in Brighton. My guy there is Kotaro, the most delightful human being you might care to meet.  His Japanese origins betray a passion for the art of coffee, the industry and the craft that is being a Barista.  I have to say, I would name Kotato as my number 1 Barista for 2 years running! I don’t have a regular fixed coffee order so no one knows exactly which way I am going to go.  It depends on many factors including whether there was wine the night before.   


On this particular Sunday, I ordered a long black (in my mind, the most poorly made coffee in Melbourne bar a few outstanding exceptions). I smiled at Kotaro, who noted the unusual order.  I said something like “I don’t trust just anyone with my long blacks…”  My good friend smiled and quietly cleared the other orders before proceeding to craft my morning cup of nectar.


I drifted into the paper flicking through pages without really reading and a few moments later, I hear “Pita”… I look over and Kotaro has my coffee in his hand extended out to me with a big grin “Columbia”.  Translated to Strain’ (Australian) that meant “Mate, here you go. It’s a single. It’s good. You will be happy.”


And so it was!!


Kotaro Namura, Barista!

MCR invites you to select from an exclusive release of coffee’s for your home or work.  MCR’s is a specialty coffee platform where Roasters can offer a limited amount of their product at a discount. The deal is that you have to give us some feedback on the coffee (we send out a questionnaire).


This week we are showcasing:


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Naked’s Mega Choc Blend Review

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

We’ve been reviewing cafes for over a decade now.  It’s time for a change of pace, a time to get to the core of the issue of great coffee and sublime experiences.  

It’s time to talk to the roasters!

There is a massive array of coffees across the world and tastes vary as much as there are coffee producers. For the record, I like a nutty chocolate coffee and my guess is that I am not alone. When I met with Jason at Naked Espresso Company (Naked’s Founder), I was delighted to see his passion for all things coffee culminated in the Mega Choc blend, a 100% Arabica roast.

I asked Jason what the ‘scoop’ was with this Indian coffee. He assured me “There is a beautiful Indian coffee in them there hills, north of Bangalore”.

In the Buddan Ranges, Sethuraman Estate, they actually wash this Indian bean and ferment it for 24 hours. This produces a beautiful and unique bold flavour. It’s what we mortals love most about coffee!


The blend is comprised of 30% Indian (Sethuraman) and the rest is Brazil, Columbia and Indonesia. Not to diminish these countries, but like Hussein Bolt, we expect greatness from them.

Sethuraman Estate is one of the first plantations to grow Robusta right next to Arabica… How is this possible, you ask? Well, I am led to believe that there is an elevation zone that it is possible IF you get irrigation right. Basically, high altitude Robusta, washed Robusta and treat it like an Arabica…Mmm lets see what happens.

The farmer at Sethuraman (a 6th generation farmer) is an engineer by trade and has a complex (hopefully patented) irrigation system. Most other growers are ‘very old school’ and at the mercy of the weather. This is a real step forward and like all innovations, it will be copied soon (we expect greatness from you India).

Jason confessed he ‘fought’ with some customers about this coffee innovation as they were putting the blend together. “Indian coffee can be quite hard, that’s why we soften it down…we were looking for that bold dark choice flavour. The Indian brings out those dark rich flavours!”

This is Naked Espresso’s most popular bean and a stalwart of the business.

So, what do you need to know if you’re using this coffee?

Making at home…as always, the slower the better. A fine grind is better, and a “35 second pour is what you will be looking for” according to Jason. “Being a dark medium roast, we have ‘pushed the sugars’ (Carmalisation)… this is a hard coffee to over extract.”

What is the optimum time to drink?

You’ll get the coffee 7-10 days after roast. The ‘Harry Potter effect’ (the change) happens at 14 days and can be good up to 30 days. Optimal is 12-19 days. DO NOT PUT IN FRIDGE. Sugars and oils congeal if you put in the fridge…so you’ll damage the coffee. Definitely reseal. However, a dry dark cupboard is in order.


This is unique coffee that drinks well with milk or without milk. Filters, plunger, stove top…or espresso. It’s also great as aero press coffee.

When MCR drank it…

A delightfully delivered chocolatey coffee with bold notes and a distinctive sweetness. It delivers on its promise!  In fact, we’ve been back a few times getting this story,.. ok I could have done it in one hit,.. but its good coffee!!

Overview of Naked Espresso Company.

This is a family business based in Melbourne with a strong heritage in coffee retail and wholesale. “We love talking directly to our end user, and having owned cafes myself, that’s where my passion lies. We consider the domestic espresso market (home Barista) the cornerstone of our business and the industry.”


Why Naked?

We called the business Naked because we are obsessed by the naked group handle. Also, naked means transparency ‘pure and authentic’ – and maybe a bit naughty 😉

Special Deal for MCR

MCR has secured a limited release special deal for readers at a significant discount to RRP.  Don’t miss out!

Mega Choc Blend:

1kg: RRP $40 for $30 (limited to 50 units MCR only).


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The absence of rush.

Thursday, February 12th, 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.

absense of rush

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Cloudy with a chance of a coffee price increase!

Thursday, October 16th, 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,..

Peter Christo


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