Style Melbourne

Hunt for the Ultimate Coffee: Sensory Lab

We Melburnians like to lay claim to being Australia’s capital of many things: fashion, food, sport, festivals, culture and coffee. We do love our lattes (in a glass) and like to think we have adapted a European-style, cafe culture to our casual way of life. There are many in this town who are very serious about their beans and a new addition to the coffee scene takes a different approach. Welcome to the Sensory Lab. As you all know by now, based on the references to coffee I have made in my previous posts, I love it. I even own the best coffee percolator for camping and hence took a trip down to the cafe to sip and sample their wares.

The name of the Sensory Lab gives no hint as to its brewing focus, however it does tell you they have got the art of making a cup of joe down to a  science. Situated at the entrance to David Jones at 297 Little Collins Street, the Lab is bought to you from the minds of the St. Ali team, often lauded for their passion for coffee. Here coffee is high-end stuff, when first opening late last year the lab became infamous for its $12 cup of coffee. Don’t be scared. Your usual cup is probably just a  few dollars. It’s all about pure flavour rather than body or crema as the barista work away like mad scientists at a beaker strewn bar. Drinkers taste profiles are tested via filling out a short form of which flavours they prefer (citrus, mint, sweet, salty etc) and then the aroma tests begin. The lab encourages visitors to try out brewing methods they may not be used to, from Japanese siphon, to French press or espresso for the hard-core.

I sampled a Costa Rican coffee from Herbazu. Straight up and served in a transparent cup it slid silkily down the throat with no need for milk or sugar. To my untrained palate it tasted clean and a little fruity. Matched with the cafe’s vibrant raw-food influenced menu the experience is more akin to food and wine matching, than a quick hit of caffeine on the run. For me coffee is like art; I’m certainly no expert but I know what I like (usually that means in espresso martini form). Here you can learn much more about origins, methods and taste fast. Don’t be intimidated, simply ask the baristas to share their secrets. I’d recommend a trip down to the Sensory Lab for serious coffee afficianados or those who want to find their ultimate cup. However be warned – a regular brew may never satisfy you again! I think I feel the cravings coming on. One thing I know for sure. We should order a good brewing machine to make coffee in the office. I will probably choose one at as they have a wide range of equipment.

One Thought on “Hunt for the Ultimate Coffee: Sensory Lab

  1. this is interesting…

    I might consider checking this place out

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