By Jo Rittey


“So it’s kinda by the servo but down a dodgy looking laneway, then down another laneway,” they said. The urban coffee adventurer in me was on high alert. A hidden café? I’m there.


Actually, I’m a slow off the mark urban coffee adventurer given that bloggers and reviewers have been banging on about The Vertue of the Coffee Drink for well over a year now. Better late than never.


I reckon the next best thing after a café being hidden, is how clever the name is. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink gets another thumbs up for that. Naming your café after the first café to open in London on 1652 is a slight hint that coffee is the focus here.


The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is a micro-roaster who say they source the best green coffee they can, roast to bring out the best in a bean and serve it with care and respect. You can feel this intentional approach, and not just in the coffee; the welcome is a smiling one. They are pleased you are there.


But back to the coffee. Coffee is roasted here according to how it will be used; generally on the lighter side for the filter coffees and a little darker for espresso. For white coffees, they use their Sabertooth house blend, and there is a selection of four single origin/estate/microlot coffees available every day.


On the food side of things, you can break your fast all day and then be spoiled for choice when the lunch menu comes on at 10.30am. There is a range of delights from orange soaked bircher muesli right on through to crispy pork belly with its soft duck egg, spiced sweet potato puree and black pudding. Lunch features such delights as toasted wraps, a smoked beef brisket open burger, a superfood salad or pulled pressed lamb shoulder served with a potato and anchovy croquette. They even suggest wine and beer matches for the lunch dishes. Nice touch.


The cakes and pastries in the little wooden cabinet are temptation personified; interesting, fresh and delicious.


And there’s entertainment as well. You can watch the roaster at work at the Has Garanti coffee roaster, gleaming in all its copper, brass and stainless steel magnificence.


So, pop those adventuring boots on and get on down the alley. Wonders await you.




8 Raffa Place, Carlton


Mon – Fri 7 am – 4pm

Sat – Sun 7.30am – 4pm



Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders. www.conversationwithachef.com


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