Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird is a micro-roaster and cafe in a low-key industrial-styled space, tucked away in a quiet south-eastern suburb of Melbourne.
Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird takes its name from one of the numerous legends about the origin of coffee and the inspiration for its coffee style from Melbourne’s espresso-drinking history.
Head roaster Andy Gelman says he aims to highlight flavour without sacrificing body: he’s shooting for a specialty take on traditional espresso.
“That’s what espresso’s about to me: texture,” he says. “We roast so that it tastes good made in a style. I’m more interested in the flavours than in the clarity.”
So a short black of Costa Rica Lluvia de Oro (golden rain) has a big, creamy mouth, a bright front and a sweet, nutty finish.
Lluvia de Oro is a Sarchimor/Rume Sudan cross, a coffee with Timor robusta lineage. But Andy Gelman argues that as with wine, terroir is more important than variety (though there’s no doubting the robusta roots of this big, creamy coffee with plenty of Easter-egg sweetness).
The Coffee Bird’s monthly menu features beans from half-a-dozen origins that are sourced and roasted by Gelman for both espresso and filter: you might get a Guatemala Plan del Guayabo (sweet citrus, chocolate, nuts, very clean) or a nice Kenya Kii AA, a bright and lively coffee with clean citrus acidity and a light tea-like quality.
Filter brews are made using a Clever Coffee Dripper: “You’ve got the steep of a plunger, which allows you to get the texture in the mouth. Plunger’s got that awesome mouth feel – really rich and smooth. Then the paper filter gives you clarity,” Andy Gelman says. His precise Clever Dripper method ensures a consistent filter brew.
Food comes from a bready breakfast and lunch menu of melts, wraps, rolls and salads: Welsh rarebit with capsicum and tomato relish; a Caprese breakfast of buffalo mozzarella, tomato and basil on sourdough toast; and a ham flatbread with Russian mustard, cheddar and tomato.
And Omar is open from 6am on weekdays for, er, early coffee birds.
Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird
Where 124 Gardenvale Road, Gardenvale, phone (03)9596 4186
When Mon–Fri 6am–4pm, Sat–Sun 7am–4pm