What do you get when you add two best mates from high school, an uninspiring empty shell of a shop, and an obsession with coffee? The ultra-cool Chatswood coffee mecca, The Steam Engine.
Roland Davies and Samuel Werrett don’t just have an interest in coffee; they have an obsession. When they dreamed about opening a cafe together they were only half serious, but when this site popped up, they took one look at it, and it was go time! The pair set out to bring specialty grade coffee to their customers in Chatswood.
The Steam Engine may be in what Roland describes as a bland urban area, but the boys have made sure their 23 square metres of coffee paradise spices things up for the locals. The curved ceiling, with gorgeous red detailing, makes you feel like you’re in the carriage of a Victorian era steam train carriage – hence the name, right? Despite its size, there’s a truly social atmosphere here, with plenty of regulars and a healthy dose of banter.
Roland and Sam are as passionate about their supplier, Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters, as they are about their cafe. After touring their facilities and sampling their coffee, there was no doubt that Toby’s would be the one and only supplier to The Steam Engine. Their attention to detail, the fact that they cup every single batch and test every bag of every blend for consistency – what more could coffee lovers ask for?
The house blend is Vapor, which consists of beans from 8 different origins from Africa, South America and Central America. It is designed to pair beautifully with milk, however at about the 10 day aging mark it also pulls a full-bodied, clean long black. Mid palate, it is all black forest, full of chocolate with hints of cherry, pecan and blackberry.
The Steam Engine constantly rotates their single origins, offering two different origins each week. The staples tend to be single components of the house blend, the highlights of which are from Ethiopia, Panama and Costa Rica. There’s a steady stream of amazing single origins from Panama, thanks to Toby’s Estate owning a farm there and having control beyond just buying and roasting. Roland and Sam’s favourite is the Panama Finca Santa Teresa Batista Honey Gesha – quite the mouthful, in both senses of the word. Also available are V60 pour over, AeroPress, syphon, cold drip and cold brew.
The Steam Engine opens for breakfast and lunch from Monday to Saturday. Keep an eye out in 2015 for monthly After-Dark Brewing Sessions, for those with a passion to learn and talk coffee. And even if you’re lacking a little passion, these young men have plenty to spare.