Auction Rooms - the winner!
Auction Rooms in North Melbourne - awarded Melbourne’s best coffee last night - yet owner Andrew Kelly couldn’t attend: he was in Guatemala buying coffee beans. What’s so good about the place, anyway? Well, coffee aside for a moment, it’s as much film set as cafe, with its conversation pit and lab-like filter bar and its various nooks all apparently cobbled together from leftover building materials. There’s drama in the galley kitchen, too, where head chef Danusak Sawansak and his crew turn out cafe food that is sensitive to season and provenance, and in the big central bar where a three-group Synesso Hydra works steadily from shutters up to lockdown. But the Auction Rooms engine room is a couple of blocks away in a semi-refitted warehouse down a bluestone North Melbourne laneway, where owner Andrew Kelly and his roaster, Caleb Heaney, spend three to four days a week roasting their way through the sacks of green beans in countries such as Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica, where Kelly travelled last year. The roasted beans, under the Small Batch label, go into French press, pourover, syphon and espresso brews, and to discerning cafes and kitchens all over town. Auction Rooms also offers a cold brew made in a french press and then put through two pourover filters before it is chilled.