By The Food Dude

So the relentless quest to discover that quintessential cup of Espresso for our coffee loving readers continues!

Our discerning coffee critic the Food Dude, embarks upon a fascinating journey of coffee appreciation, based on flavour, body, texture, strength and presentation, rated out of a perfect ‘5 Beans’. He visits Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Coburg, Brunswick, Northcote, Thornbury, Preston and Reservoir cafe hubs.

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Bluebird Cafe

134 Johnston St


I stumbled across this charming little spot on Johnston St in Collingwood, unassuming from the outside but once I entered it was ‘abuzz’ with foodies and coffee buffs from all walks of life. Busy is not the word, but customer service is an obvious priority. A wonderful atmosphere helped by a great choice in background music and the scrumptious food is a story for another occasion.

Extraordinary coffee is the star today! Barista and proprietor Anthony swears by Proud Mary coffee, a local producer and roastery in Footscray.   Bluebird, serious about their coffee, offering single origin for Espresso of course but 2 special single origins for Filter namely a Brazil Filter Roast Sitio Lagao and Gertrude Santos Red Catuah Natural.  Also on offer is a first press cold drip, and iced latte all using one of proud Mary’s 20 Single origins. These and the house blend are all available for retail purchase here.

For my latte, the Proud Mary House Blend was called Ghostrider.  Proud Mary claims, “we take our time roasting each coffee in order to ‘woo’ the magic that lies within each and every bean”.  My Ghostrider House Blend coffee beans were ground fresh immediately before my coffee preparation. ‘Mmmm’ the taste was full of bold yet soft on the palate flavour, but this was a satisfying and very smooth taste experience.

Latte Rating 4.5 / 5 Beans 

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Growers Espresso /Eureka Coffee

332 St Georges Rd

North Fitzroy

This is the Northern suburbs’ coffee spot for caffeine connoisseurs.

Hamish Elliot, the manager of this delightful little corner store, roastery and espresso bar in North Fitzroy, was roasting some fresh Eureka Blend Coffee in the roastery out the back of the store, so my Barista today at Growers was Bede Eagle .

I ordered a Macchiato, keen to try their single origin that changes weekly at Growers Espresso. After receiving Bede’s usual expert anecdote on the coffee type,  he dispensed the perfect Mach as always, there was that special dollop of milk froth on the surface!

On this occasion it was the Kenya Gachami Espresso roast under the Growers Espresso label, produced in Kirinyaga close to Mt Kenya, a famous coffee growing region, producing some of the most reputable coffee beans in the world. Exhibiting a magnificent plum and stone fruit flavour with a floral, fruity aroma.  I detected a juicy grape/green apple acidity, with a delightful chocolate sweetness aftertaste.

These guys are very serious about their coffee selection at Growers Espresso, they even have two single origins for their filter and pour over coffees, the Pacamara  from Nicaragua  and that Gachami from Kenya. Also a Cold Filter brewed between 6-8 hours to deliver an intense and rich coffee experience !

What next?

Macchiato rating 4.5/ 5 Beans

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Short Round

731 High St


I discovered Short Round by accident, checking out the new cafe strip emerging in High Street, Thornbury, loved the name so I dropped in, welcomed by genial hosts Libby and Clare, I was not disappointed.

The gorgeous, light- and plant-filled fit out is spacious and orderly – a breath of fresh air. A creative and adventurous all-day brunch menu, at good prices. Open from 7am to 4pm 7 days a week. Breakfasts, from French toast, Brioche Sliders, Coconut Milk Oat Porridge served all day and  lunch might be a ploughman-style platter, or seared tuna with raw veg and wasabi aioli. From the cake display, house-made carrot, corn and manchego loaf, or a choc hazelnut tart.

But I came for coffee and so did a considerable band of local Short Round devotees. And there was no let down in this department with the popular local Proud Mary brand encountered again.

This time the seasonal house blend on offer was called Exploding Hear . I asked Clare for my favourite, a latte.  This was a ‘killer’ coffee, lovely aroma, so ‘damn’ smooth full bodied taste and flavoursome on the palate.  I could have opted for a single origin that is primarily used for the non-milk coffees and they rotate the singles from Proud Mary or another reputable local roaster Industry Beans.

Can’t wait and I will be back to try some of the enticing all day brunch choices too!

Latte Rating 4 / 5 beans

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Cafe Rez

12 Edwardes

St Reservoir

For the best coffee in Reservoir, Cafe Rez is a must. The barista team of proprietor Daniel and Natalie produce the best brew around and they use only the best coffee from the celebrated Di Bella Coffee Company. Their house blend, Modena, 100% Arabica is employed for all the black and milk coffees and it’s a perfect smooth tasting coffee, full bodied and a sweet chocolate  and fruity flavour.

I opted for a cappuccino, and the genial Nat made me a beauty, as always with a friendly smile, no matter how busy and served at the perfect temperature, with that fabulous full rounded Di Bella taste. I devoured a second cup to fix my addiction before I checked the specials out. I had to decide between the very popular Pan Fried Calamari Salad or the Chicken, Mushroom and Pumpkin Risotto. The Risotto got the nod on this occasion, and it was superb.

When in Reservoir, the popular Cafe Rez is always well worth a visit for a scrumptious bite but particularly for a predictably good cup of coffee.

Cappuccino Rating  4 / 5 Beans

If you would like Northside Bites to critique your favourite spot, please phone Food Dude on 0427382772 or Email:

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