103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne 3051
03 9326 7749
Google map link
Date: Friday 26 March 2010
Coffee Brand: Small Batch (Auction Rooms Brand)Ethiopian Sidamo, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Guatamalan, El Salvador, Kenyan
Hunkered down in the easy-to-miss but very chic area of Errol street, Auction Rooms is good example of genuine and thoughtful in-house roasting. They do not boast or bluster, but Auction Rooms operate in an understated and relaxed manner holding a steely reserve for quality. We were informed that the house blend is a constant work in progress; dynamic and ever changing. This is impressive because the coffee experience will shift and morph building upon previous blend-successes. The physical layout of the venue provides a very welcoming ambiance, between the back courtyard to the indoor seating to the open plan kitchen and elevated bar. Everything about this place connotes honesty and openness.
On this day, both baristas (one formerly of Dead Man Espresso) demonstrated that their skills are sharp behind the coffee-box, and the floor staff were (i) super friendly, (ii) very informative and (iii) completely honest. Combine that with the environment of the restaurant, and one just feels very welcomed and warmed. If first impressions truly last, then we are really going to enjoy frequenting this establishment…
Coffee: Doppio Espresso
Reviewed by: SimonL
Trying this house blend as an espresso brought a mixed reaction. I wanted to try it to find out why it worked so well in the Café Latte.
Bright lemony acidity and faint red fruity notes abruptly gave way to a dark, smooth and strong earthy body, then tapering into a tangy cleansing bitterness. The blend seemed a touch blocky and in two minds – delicate finesse with a strong mid-palate finishing different again. But on further reflection this is the nature of blends and why good roasters do it so well. Commercial blends seem one-dimensional, sweet and seductive. Blends like this one provoke thought and interest beyond just throwing it back and moving on. Overall the blend was highly enjoyable and it works incredibly well with milk as outlined in the Café Latte description. Pour though was closer to a standard espresso. I would like to try this house blend side-by-side against others around Melbourne.
Coffee: Short Macchiato
Reviewed by: SamW
Served by one of the baristas, this macchiato had a light and plush crema with a small amount of coffee art. A soft introduction of chocolate and earth tones swept across my mouth before a crescendo of cleansing bitterness wiped my palette clean. Encore flavours of charred nuts finished off this symphony.
The blend seemed a little bit unbalanced in this coffee, and I am not sure why (please read ristretto review). Perhaps the milk dulled some flavour characteristics whilst bringing others to the fore. Either way, it is a complex blend that has a lot of scope and depth; well deserving of it’s score.
Coffee: Cafe Latte
Reviewed by: SimonL
This Café Latte was easily as good as anything I’ve had in Melbourne. The presentation and true to style was spot on as was the flavour. Auction Rooms current house blend is a marvel with milky coffee. The seamless integration of milk and espresso was a Torvill and Dean union. The aroma suggested floral, cinnamon, and anise. The flavour had its foundations in chocolate, with sautéed walnut, sweet creamy milk and exotic spice toppings. Smooth and luxurious, this was a coffee to savour and remember.
Reviewed by: SamW
This coffee was a morning sunrise in a cup. Like squinting into the horizon at sea, the brightness of this ristretto almost made me reach for sunglasses. The flavour profile was completely different to the macchiato. There were strong acidic and lemon tones with very light, warming tannins. If sucking a lemon was pleasurable, it could be used to describe this coffee. But this coffee was awesome…and sucking a lemon is less so. Contrary to the macchiato, this ristretto had magnificent balance and prose.
One final note. It was served with a small glass of mineral water to cleanse the palette, which made the whole coffee drinking experience highly pleasurable.
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