In the first week of January, as is usual for Melbourne, there was a strong Antarctic wind blowing, probably it was about 5°C and 30km/h. We were straining forward along High St in Thornbury, walking at an angle almost diagonal to the ground. While it was cold, the sun was still scorching, and we could see our skins turning redder as the minutes went by. Above the howling wind and screams from the sunburning people around us, I couldn’t quite hear what my companion was trying to say, but through a series of complicated hand-signals we agreed that we should seek refuge. We were in front of what looked like a cosy café, called Brother Alec.
We decided to brave the troupe of athleisure-clad folks who highlighted our frumpiness, but after managing to batton down the door against the frigid wind, we found ourselves inside a busy but friendly and welcoming café.
I ordered my usual double espresso of the house blend, and my companion ordered a cold brew (for you see, it was scorching outside too – Melbourne, amirite?). The cold brew was comical: for $4 they deigned to fill a whisky tumbler (or was it a thimble?) with ice cubes, onto which they splashed some cold-brew. The inadequate dose of caffeine left my friend in a morning pre-coffee rage, which almost caused a dangerous situation, but never mind.
The espresso though! The espresso! It was really amazing. Definitely not entirely “old-world” brash, but very full-bodied and flavourful without being sour! It held its own! It had character! I almost got into a long conversation with it (but that was before realising I had to restrain my friend)! Anyway, all I can say is, go drink some before they change it. Apparently it’s a thing called Syndicate Coffee, made in Richmond. So it’s local! I endorse. Bought myself a pack of beans. Even Filter the cat seems interested – and you should see how critical he is in his coffee blog.
Brother Alec definitely gets the elusive distinction of a “Does Not Suck” Award! 4.5 cups out of five!