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One of the many things I like about writing this blog, is that it records (for posterity ? hah!) some of my thoughts, opinions and memories. We all change over time. People, fashion, tastes (and taste), politics, knowledge, restarants and chefs … and cafes too.
Six year or seven years ago I lived in (north) North Fitzroy. A bit of a wasteland, the Loaded Dog hotel had recently closed and food and entertainment options close to hand were few and far between.
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A new coffee shop, Growers Espresso, opened on the corner of St Georges Road and Holden street, serving locally roasted Australian grown coffee. My initial thoughts were … blergh – Australian grown coffee? locally roasted?? why would you bother? Ten years ago, my Melbourne, and my taste buds were very much directed towards strong, bitter, Italian roasted espresso blends. My tastes stayed this was for quite a few years; I like to think I was making up for the many years of Nescafe with frothed milk that was served to me in Queensland cafes. I tried Growers Espresso coffee once, but wasn’t really impressed.
So seven or so years down the track, I start going to the Farmers’ Markets occasionally, particularly Collingwood. There are three coffee choices at the market, the farm cafe, Dr Java and Growers Espresso. I would snub Growers (still!) and go to Dr Java. Then one day, I changed. I dunno why, but I stopped at Growers and it was good coffee. Really good coffee.
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Nowadays. I really look forward to the markets (I barely shop for food anywhere else) and my Grower’s coffee. If I work out my morning schedule properly I can drop in for a morning coffee; if I don’t attend a weekend market I drop in, or walk down for coffee. And on Sundays when they are closed, I make a pourover with some of their single origin beans at home. You could say my tastes have changed over the years.
The “killer app” though for me was their change to a “Farmer’s Market inspired” menu. Here was provenance for my snacks and lunch. Many of the producers are local folks I know and trust from the Farmers’ Markets. Lovely heirloom vegetables (no unripe greenhouse tomatoes here); free range Milawa chicken, rare breed pork, local artisan cheeses, free range eggs, Mt Zero olives and all manner of good and delicious things!
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The menu changes regularly, but the favourites are there whenever I visit. Coconut bread toasted, and served with Di’s rhubarb and Schultz Yogurt. muffins made in-house everyday, baguettes, frittata and Michele’s bikkies from Castlemaine. The menu showcases fresh, seasonal and local produce, and delicious breed from Dench (also local). Regular features are Milawa Chicken, Gypsy Pig, Holy Goat Cheese, Lochelian Cheese I’ve even seen smoked barramundi.
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I still enjoy a Genovese coffee fairly regularly (mostly from Liaison) but it sits nicely alongside my local – which offers an Aussie Grown Eureka Coffee Blend and someother interesting bean every day. Espresso or pourover. So very “modern and third wave”. And yes, they roast on site.
Funny how things change … I’m sure Mark, Hamish and the team have been doing things like this for ages .. I just wasn’t in this “space” until 18 months ago. Now I am, they’d better not go anywhere soon.
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Follow them on twitter at @eurekacoffee