Well, this was an interesting one. Where to start?
“Briki” is a relatively recently re-opened café near Thornbury Station, at the old location of The Brickie & The Barista. I’ve often cycled past it, and it’s quite conveniently located on my way to work, so I felt I really had to try it some time. Also, while I’d never been to the predecessor Brickie & Barista, I had been told it was very good.
Fair warning: if you don’t like rants, you won’t like this one.
The place looked very promising: a little corner store with a hole in the wall, people from young to old standing around chatting with each other – it generally looked like a vibrant little place with a sense of community. It appears to be an independent business, so I really wanted to like it.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. I’ll start off by giving a rough breakdown of how I got to the final rating.
- Bro-level: 1/5 stars
- Service: 1/5 stars
- The actual coffee: 1/5 stars
Let me elaborate. The first thing that struck me, is that there were two bros doing the coffee work. One of them, the experienced one, pulling the shots and stuff, giving directions to the other one, who appeared to be an apprentice-bro. Fair enough. The other member of staff, the only lady human, was relegated to smiling at the customers over the cash register, and cleaning up tables. Maybe she doesn’t know how to make coffees, but it’s such a pattern that it’s hard to ignore.
The service was definitely not great, for a number of reasons. I want to cut them some slack, because they were clearly swamped with customers, and the dude making the coffee had to direct the new guy too, so that’s fair enough. Everybody has to learn, after all! I am also not going to hold the very long wait (by the time I was eventually at the counter, I still had to wait about 10 minutes to get asked for my order), and then the brusque customer skipping in front of me when I was at the head of the queue, against them. What was weird though, is that I ordered my espresso “for here” and “in a real cup” – I care about that quite a bit. When the barista got to my order, he looked a bit confused, and confirmed with me whether my coffee was for here or not (eye contact, he asks me, I say clearly “yes please; in a real cup!”, the works). But lo and behold, he promptly hands me a paper cup with a plastic lid on it. Boo! Apart from the material wastage, espressos cool down quickly and paper tastes like crap. Or maybe they don’t and I’m just a grumpy old fool – I don’t really care. But yeah, all quite disappointing.
Anyway, after all of this, I was more than happy to just have some coffee in my hot little hand and fill myself with caffeine. I opened up the lid of the cup and… a massive amount of liquid. Like, a standard flat white cup, about two thirds full of “espresso”. It was scalding hot and mostly tasted like burnt water. I’m not going to waste more words on it. It was literally significantly less tasty than the push-button auto-grinder coffee machine at work. Now, it should be noted that I am quite spoiled at work in that regard, but still, I don’t expect a $4 freshly made espresso to be bested by any automatic workplace coffee machine anywhere.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ll be coming back here. Maybe it’s teething issues, but with the surly service and frankly shithouse coffee, I’m not sure there’s much to be done.