Code Black Coffee is Melbourne cafe code for the sleekest, blackest, most polished concrete warehouse cafe in town.
This converted Brunswick warehouse is too woggy to be a hipster hangout despite its inner-north location, channeling the enduring influence of suburban eurostyle on Melbourne culture in an industrial luxe feel – hard, shiny surfaces, a palette of black, rust, chrome and polished concrete and a post-Prince soundtrack of music best described as “black”.
The Code Black Coffee roastery is here, too, working up a range of blends and single origins for espresso and filter brews.
There’s a couple of singles for espresso in the grinders each day – one for black, one for milk. Big, ripe floral aromas waft from a short black of Ethiopia Gelana Abaya, followed by a tangy, bright fruit hit in the cup. There’s black molasses sweetness and even some rose floral flavours when the fruit blows off.
A pourover of the Gelana Abaya, served in a Kalita pot with a chunky tumbler for sipping, has more of the floral aroma, complex stewed fruit sweetness and a burnt toffee finish.
“I wouldn’t recommend this black,” says the waitperson of a Sumatra Umang Isaq (“orangutan coffee”, grown on a plantation where coffee trees share rainforest habitat for the endangered apes). The grapefruit in the tasting notes turns into a nice citrus acidity in a piccolo, and there’s a bitter cocoa finish – it’s good with milk, as advertised.
The breakfast and lunch menus are full of crowd-pleasing dishes with a bit of “wow” factor, from house-made crumpets with orange and cinnamon ricotta to beer-battered soft-shell crab with bacon and spicy slaw on a soft milk bun, or a crusty roll stuffed with sliced chicken breast, sweet apple slaw and chilli-glazed bacon that starts out sticky-sweet and turns on a slow chilli burn.
The crowd is a real Melbourne melting pot – Euro-, Asian- and Atlantic Protestant-Australian – and the shelves are stacked with coffee to take home, as well as a range of great brew gear from Japanese pourover specialist Kalita.
Code Black Coffee Roasters
Where 15–17 Weston Street, Brunswick
When Daily 7am–5pm