While I’m comfortable in fine dining restaurants, and pretending to know what wine I’m talking about, make me go anywhere remotely trendy, and I freeze.
I’m just not a cool kid. The thought of Bree Street, or most places in the CBD, makes my pulse race – and not in a good way. So, although the best coffee shop in the world exists only a few kilometers away, it was for this reason that I was just never brave enough to visit. Who knew coffee could bring an entire existential crises to the fore?
When an invitation from the team behind TRUTH landed in my inbox, I didn’t feel my excuse of “not being cool enough” would quite cut it. So, one Saturday, we headed to the big smoke to see what all the fuss was about.
Completed by Haldene Martin in 2011, TRUTH is known for its signature steampunk-style interiors. Centered around a huge, scavenged roaster, the space is cavernous – filling 1 500m2. We arrived on a buzzing Saturday morning, and by the time we sat down to eat, there was already a never-ending queue of patrons waiting for their morning fix, and more.
We began our visit with a coffee cupping session, led by experienced barista, Innocent. Learning how the beans are roasted, then ground (top tip: roasted beans tend to have the best flavour one week after roasting), before appreciating them with liquid. Hot – not boiling – water is poured over the finely ground beans, allowing them to steep for a few minutes. The surface of the coffee is broken, once, to appreciate the aroma of the brew. Then, any particles that have floated to the surface are skimmed off, before the first taste. We learned which flavour profiles to look out for and common descriptors, before sitting down to enjoy a brew at our leisure.
Luke ordered an espresso – shots come double, standard – and I had a soy milk latte. While my latte was exactly what my weary Saturday morning soul needed, it was Luke’s espresso that stole the show. I have happily gone without sugar in my coffee for years, but don’t take away my milk. But, after Luke’s gasp of delight upon his first sip, I had to see what the fuss was about. The coffee was sweet, fragrant and unlike any other I’ve tasted – as I was used to the inherent bitterness of espresso. We learned that coffee can have hundreds, if not thousands, of characteristics, but bitterness is always a bad sign. So, I just learned that I’ve been drinking bad coffee.
For breakfast, the Mr had the signature Steampunk Benedict and I had a build-my-own-option of toasted sourdough with tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms. Perfectly poached eggs (although the Hollandaise was a little on the runny side) and delicious sourdough, we might have gone through a few more rounds of coffee during our visit. Luke also sampled the Sunrise Espresso – Innocent’s specialty – a combination of espresso, orange juice and a touch of condensed milk. Like the menu says, it was better than it sounds.
If you’d like to learn more about the humble coffee bean, TRUTH runs a selection of courses through their Barista School, ranging from a morning, to five days.
Note: We enjoyed our visit as guests of TRUTH. All images and views are my own.