Little Rogue hides behind a blue door half-way along a laneway behind Melbourne’s busy Swanston Walk, a small room with low tables and stools and a bar at the window where you can read the desktop graffiti or watch the delivery vans roll by outside over your morning coffee.
Small Batch Roasting Co’s Candyman blend is the mainstay of Little Rogue’s espresso brews, and in a short black – served in a tulip cup so you can swirl it around and really get your nose in, says co-owner Leo Lee – it has a nice orange-marmalade bitterness and a long savoury finish.
There are Small Batch single origins for espresso and pourover chalked up on the blackboard – and crossed out when the fresh roasts are finished – as well as beans from guests including Dukes and Market Lane.
And Little Rogue features what might be Melbourne’s only hand-made batch brews, brewed through a two-cup pourover and kept in a thermos ready to pour. A Small Batch Guatemala El Pilar – tasting notes: hazelnut, plum, sugar cane – is bright and fruity around the edges with plenty of nutty flavour, while the Ethiopia Chele’lektu has a lovely floral aroma, all-round fruit and a malty tea-like finish as advertised.
But food is not the point: Little Rogue is a laidback and welcoming space where a mixed crowd of office workers, sketchbooking girls, hipster students and young beardy travellers stop by for coffee that’s always good to go.
Where 12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne
When Mon–Fri 7.30am–6pm, Sat–Sun 9am–6pm