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Behind the bean: Toby’s Estate

In the first of a new series, Melbourne food blogger Jamie Chong checks out the new flagship store for Toby's Estate

Words by: Jaime Chong
Photography by: Jasmine Blom

What I love about Melbourne is the constant evolution of the café scene in the city. Melbourne has a reputation for being coffee obsessed, so it’s no wonder that we have some of the greatest cafés in the world.

Melbourne’s search for coffee perfection is perhaps the reason why Toby’s Estate flagship café has decided to open shop at Customs House on Flinders Lane. Naturally, being a proud Melbourne coffee lover, I wanted to know Paul Schliewe’s (lead barista) impression of the Melbourne coffee scene. Paul believes “Melbourne is more into coffee. There’s a desire to know more about coffee – where it’s from, is it single origin, how was it roasted, the list goes on”.

The café looks to showcase different aspects of craft coffee roasting, with their key coffee blends available along with a selection of special blends. Paul noted that the Brunswick blend was “a lighter, brighter and fruitier blend” and was more popular in Melbourne than the deeper and darker Woolloomooloo blend.

For those like myself, who are keen coffee drinkers but know little of the complexity of craft coffee making and the different flavour profiles, cupping classes are held at the café. Given that the café stocks 20 different single origin blends, each having a distinct flavour profile – there’s much to be learnt.

Another exciting aspect of the café is the food. I was delighted to learn that the food is made in-house daily, including a plethora of baked goodies and traditional lunch items. Some good items are made to compliment the coffee blends available. I had my eye on a decadent looking chocolate brownie, which had the Woolloomooloo blend mixed through it.

The space that the café occupies is absolutely stunning. Modern, with clean lines and lots of natural light through the big windows, it’s a space that you could sit in for hours enjoying a good coffee whilst watching the world go by. The mixed crowd that it attracts makes for a great lively atmosphere.

I felt inspired after my visit to the café. I wanted to know more about coffee and how it’s created, to try the cakes and sandwiches diligently made by the chef in the kitchen and to buy one of the totally stylin’ coffee machines in store. In the sea of Melbourne cafés, this one is here to stay. In the few short months since opening, it already has a steady loyal following, myself included.

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