The Brunswick East Project

Streets Of Your Town

Words by Jerome Lebel-Jones
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre

Many of you will be aware that things are happening in the world of coffee. Some are calling it The Third Wave. I personally don’t think it needs a name, because I see it first and foremost as a flight to quality. Sure, making coffee using alternatives to the espresso machine or serving a microlot from Ecuador are great signs of progress, but what excites me most is that the already exceptional standard of coffee in Melbourne is continuing to improve as a result.

Which is precisely what I love about The Brunswick East Project. The coffee is magnificent. And it’s in Brunswick East, about as far up Lygon Street as you can go before it disappears and becomes Echuca. We’ve always been able to get good coffee in Melbourne, problem was that it was limited to a small geographic area. Cast the net a bit further afield and you were buggered.

So for mine, what we stand to gain from The Third Wave is great coffee in more places. Better coffee everywhere! How long do I have to wait until it reaches Torquay and Phillip Island? Probably not that long actually. It’s not like we’re about to get house roasted Geisha made in a syphon anytime soon, but it won’t be long before you’re able to seek out a decent cafe latte at the beach. In fact last time I was in Lorne I had a coffee at The Bottle Of Milk, which was bloody good. Despite being a burger joint they’re taking the whole coffee thing seriously, serving Seven Seeds coffee and sparing no expense with the equipment- a Synesso espresso machine takes pride of place next to a Mazer grinder. Dear Third Wave coffee people, please keep doing what you’re doing because it’s working.

So back to the peeps at The Brunswick East Project. Owner Marinus Jansen is an interesting guy. I get the sense from my chat with him that he likes to do things his way and likes things to be just so. That’s a good thing for us, because his pernickety attention to detail results in good things in the cup. I’ve worked with people like Marinus. If you’re a near enough is good enough person, run for the hills. But if you care about the result, sit back and enjoy the madness.

A great example of the Marinus way of doing things is that he makes every barista in each of his cafes roast coffee. Absolutely necessary? Probably not. Does it help the barista deliver a superior cup of coffee? Shit yes.

The end result is that the coffee in the cup is as Marinus intended. And it’s fair to say that the locals are loving it. That’s the other thing you notice here; there’s a real sense of local community. You get a feel for what it would be like to live in the hood. It’s just a little ironic that a cafe worth crossing town for, is in fact that ultimate local’s haunt.

If crossing town’s not really your thing, Padre Coffee also has a cafe at the South Melbourne market. They’re also about to open one in the city approximately three doors down from my day job. Can. Not. Wait.

There are plenty more good things I could say about The Brunswick East Project, but I think you already know why you should pay them a visit. Consider the other goodness a little reward for trying somewhere new.

Words by Jerome Lebel-Jones
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre
Originally published 5 August, 2010

The Brunswick East Project
438 Lygon Street
Brunswick East, Victoria 3057
T. 03 9939 8422

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