John Lee knows his coffee. Evidence? Well, for a start, he’s worked as a barista at places such as The Source at Mosman and Dose at Willoughby.
But experience aside, all you need to do is take a look at the coffee John and his wife, Monica, have chosen to serve to see that this guy knows his stuff. If we mention names like St. Ali, Sensory Lab, Proud Mary, Reuben Hills, Market Lane and Small Batch, you’ll see what we mean… the best coffee, from the best roasters in the country.
The sleek white walls and dark wood floors give Handcraft Specialty Coffee a minimalist, clean feel without being too clinical. Pendant lights hang in a line above the bar and the striking white La Marzocco Strada EP stands proudly to greet you as you come in.
Offering Newtown’s biggest range of filter coffee choices, a who’s who of single origins and blends from roasters around the country, and a house blend made by St Ali in Melbourne, Handcraft Specialty Coffee has taken Newtown by storm. The house blend is Orthodox and is made from Colombian San Agustin Supremo, and Brazilian Rainha Yellow Bourbon. Roasted medium to light, it is full bodied, smooth and balanced, with chocolate notes and hints of red fruit. It’s delectable in milk – and with Australia’s overwhelming preference for milk-based coffees, it’s no wonder John and Monica selected it.
The rotating single origin offerings come to Newtown from places like Panama, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Guatemala and Colombia; John hand picks a different coffee for filter coffee and black coffees on a weekly basis. Customers can also opt for V60 or AeroPress and in the near future Handcraft Specialty Coffee plans to start offering old school French press, too. Keep an eye out – there’s a focus overall on lighter roasted coffees. John said that even though they’re more complicated to make, they’re also more enjoyable to drink so it’s worth the effort.
Handcraft Specialty Coffee is open for breakfast and lunch, Monday to Saturday and is frequented by customers of all ages, from students, coffee geeks and hipsters to Mums, work colleagues and seniors. Monica, whose childhood was spent in Brazil, heads up the kitchen. Some items on offer feature a South American twist; namely The Pastel, a savoury Brazilian fried pastry, which is served with tomato ketchup and chilli sauce. There are North American influences too, with a ham and pickle sandwich (the pickle comes in especially from Detriot), with cheese and tomato.
One last thing – would you do us a favour? Be the first to start the ball rolling on the suspended coffee experience at Handcraft Specialty Coffee. They’re keen to offer the service, but no-one’s asked about it yet.