The Magic of Melbourne’s Coffee - Blended Beard Café, Docklands

Discover Melbourne’s gift to the coffee world with 'Blended Beard Café' in Docklands. It's where the magic happens!

Published by Netta on 12/03/2018

Melbourne has long been regarded as the coffee capital of Australia – if not the whole of the southern hemisphere. I wanted to explore this claim by spending some time at my regular café called Blended Beard in Docklands, where there is ''magic'' happening. 

Image courtesy of @blendedbeard

I will be the first to admit it, living in Melbourne, I have become somewhat of a coffee snob. Being served a bad coffee is something that should just not happen in this city and when it occasionally does, you certainly notice. Spoilt by the high-quality standards offered at the many cafes, I have become used to my daily cup of caffeine, hitting just the right notes, blended by the best baristas in the business. One such place is Blended Beard café in Docklands where I am consistently served up my favourite brew, the latest Melbourne craze “magic”. 

Image courtesy of @blendedbeard

Forget flat whites, long gone are lattes, the buzz word in Melbourne’s café scene is magic. A surprising smooth sweet hit, that used to be the drink of those behind the bar, it found its way out into the public, and although you won’t see it on a menu, any decent café worth its name will know what you mean if you ask for a magic next time you make your coffee order. 

Barista Sam at Blended Beard breaks the process down, “instead of pouring out a full 30ml espresso we pour out what we call a ristretto, around 15ml - so the first half of the shot, which is where a lot of the sweetness of the coffee comes through, the second half of an espresso shot is generally bitter. A ristretto is a little weaker shot then an espresso but it’s a lot sweeter and in a magic we use 2 ristretto shots to get that strength back whilst only keeping the sweet elements. We then pour ¾ milk so it’s not as milky as a normal latte.” 

Part of what makes a magic, or any milky coffee, so magic, is the creamy mouthfeel of well-textured milk and Sam explains the temperature is really important, “when you heat the milk past a certain temperature it actually breaks down the milk proteins which keep the milks texture. So when people ask for their coffee extra hot I get upset as this means losing the flavour of the coffee.” 

The first espresso machine landed in Australia in 1954 and came directly to Melbourne, that’s a long history of coffee for this city and perhaps along with the European influence of those early immigrants, explains why the scene is so strong today. People want to know where the coffee beans come from and where they are grown. A good café like Blended Beard will have contact with the farmers, producers and roasters and have rotating blends according to the customer’s preferences. It’s the difference between a big mass franchise and the Melbourne independents.

Image courtesy of @blendedbeard

Joint owners Mira & Trish opened Blended Beard from the frustration of not being able to find a café that suited their needs, “we genuinely love coffee and the product and I think that really helps us make it the best way we can. We have a variety of coffee styles here, and we like to experiment and try new things. We probably sell close to 1000 coffees a day, 80 kilos of coffee a week but every cup needs to be perfect. It’s a full process from the supplier, to the grinder, to the machine and we are constantly tweaking and checking these things. Sampling 5 or 6 cups a day we have to love what we do!” 

There really is nothing quite like a Melbourne coffee, a combination of key elements orchestrated in just the right way to create an exceptional cup of goodness, distinctive and memorable, bring on the magic. 

Try your own magic at Blended Beard Café – 818 Bourke Street, Docklands

Words & Images by Netta Justice

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