Should you treat coffee like wine? Aunty Peg’s – the cellar door to Proud Mary’s Collingwood roastery – encourages you to think so.
The brew bar is set up for drinking coffee without the distraction of the brunching crowds you get up the road at Proud Mary, the cafe. There’s no milk or sugar, either: the coffee at Aunty Peg’s is strictly black and straight-up.
There’s not even an espresso machine – not because Aunty Peg’s doesn’t serve espresso, but because Proud Mary owner Nolan Hirte has ripped three group heads and their technological back ends out of a Synesso and installed them like beer taps behind the bar. The idea is to remove the barrier between customers and staff and promote more coffee communication.
You can watch – and hear – the roasting activity from your stool: the noise, described elsewhere as a “steady thrum”, is more of a racket at full production, a reminder that a roastery is a coffee factory. Throw in a boombox back beat for extra effect.
The coffee deal
The coffee menu is a fortnightly showcase of similar-but-different beans: maybe natural process coffees from Ethiopia, El Salvador and Panama; or three varietals from Guatemala (pache and catuai, yellow bourbon, and caturra).
Proud Mary’s filter brews, served in stemless wine glass-style tumblers, tend to be mellow and sweet and low on sparkle: a Guatemala yellow bourbon, from Finca Pancum in the Chimaltenango region, is muted and jammy, with caramelised apricot fruit and a silky mouthfeel. Espresso shots are better: a double of Santa Sofia caturra from Coban/Tactic has a big candied cherry nose and bright, complex fruit flavours with a creamy mouthfeel and a long finish.
Apart from the group heads, the bar also has actual beer taps, which pour a nitro cold brew of Panama gesha, served with a sweetening shot of cascara: the taste is like a light stout with a coffee back note but no alcohol.
A big pastry kitchen upstairs supplies the whole Proud Mary operation with cruffins, croissants, slices and cakes, and you can buy all kinds of gear for brewing at home.
There’s even a test bench where Aunty Peg’s staff will walk you through an Aeropress or V60 workshop to help sharpen your brewing technique.
Where 200 Wellington Street, Collingwood, phone (03) 9417 1333
When Daily 8am–5pm