Monday, August 29, 2011

Follow the Coffee Trails to Toby's Estate Cafe

It's exciting when you're around passionate people. Their enthusiasm and liveliness is infectious, and you tend to learn a lot too. There's a lot of passion in the industries of food and drink, and right there somewhere up the top has to be Toby Smith of Toby's Estate coffee.

Toby's Estate coffee beans
If you drink coffee, you're probably acutely aware of Toby's Estate and its enviable reputation for great coffee. With a massive wholesale distribution network throughout Sydney as well as a growing brood of flagship cafes, the latest - opening for its first day today - is sidled right across from Broadway Shopping Centre on Bay Street in Glebe.

Toby's Estate Cafe, Bay Street, Broadway
Neighbouring the Co-op Bookshop, the new cafe is as splendid as it is welcoming. With warm tones and a slight retro feel, it's a coffee paradise for bean beginners all the way through to absolute afficionados.

At times it also resembles a science laboratory, but on the launch night there were inviting espresso martinis to be had - not on the cafe menu but something for future consideration given how well they went down with the launch party crowd.

Some serious crema with the espresso martini
Vodka, Kahlua and Frangelico liqueurs, shaken with a shot of none other than Toby's Estate espresso, strained into martini glasess with a few coffee beans for garnish. It was the best coffee I'd had all day.

Espresso martini
So good was the espresso martini that I felt justified breaking my 'no coffee after 4pm rule' and hitting up the bar for seconds. Someone also mentioned the caffeine uplift would be dulled by the somewhat sedative alcohol, and I was more than happy to go with that explanation.

Canapes by Forte Catering
Tiny tidbits of tasty canapes made their way around the room on pieces of black slate, and included these scrolls of jamon serrano with cheese, smoked duck breast with cucumber and mini lamb pies.

Coffee or science equipment?
In addition to a couple of Mirage espresso machines (including one lever machine), there are several other instruments for coffee extraction up on the zinc-topped counter space - and not just for display purposes.

Siphon coffee maker
Even with retort stands and flasks about (hello, year 12 chemistry), the siphon coffee maker is the one to watch; from its red hot heating lamp, to the bubbles of boiling water and the ever-fascinating process of condensation.

Siphon coffee
It's a softer extraction method than high pressure espresso machines, and thus results in a softer, more mellow end product too. And the beauty of all this equipment is that you can try them all in a degustation-like fashion and really taste what they're doing to the beans.

Like in wine tasting, there's always a lot to learn, but in the end, it has to be enjoyable and to each's own tastes, so I think it's just as much about experimentation and diversifying your experiences as coffee knowledge.

Toby Smith of Toby's Estate
Man of the hour Toby Smith couldn't help but exude his passion for coffee as he took to the stage to conduct an old school slide showing of some of his travels around the world for the perfect coffee.

Toby's passion/obsession started in sincerity more than two decades ago when he first tasted Yirgecheffe; an Ethiopian coffee bean. And now, completely enamoured with coffee origins, he's produced a stunning and enjoyably informative coffee table book (pun intended) detailing his visits to coffee-growing destinations of the world, Coffee Trails.

Images taken from Coffee Trails by Toby Smith

Images taken from Coffee Trails by Toby Smith
Travel journal and a coffee encyclopedia, the photos are simply breathtaking, the stories compelling and some of the artworks richly painted in coffee itself. It's pure passion for something, and so exciting to take in and learn about. And for bringing new perspective to that morning cappuccino - thank you Toby.

Food, booze and shoes attended the Toby's Estate Cafe and book launch with thanks to Liquid Ideas.

Toby's Estate Cafe on Urbanspoon

12 comments:

lateraleating said...

I'm not a cocktail lover or a coffee lover but when it comes to coffee cocktails things change :)

joey@FoodiePop said...

Great looking cafe.

sugarpuffi said...

omg the cafe looks amazing! esp the bubbling flasks like im in a scientist's lab!

Dumpling Girl said...

I don't drink coffee at all, but would happily give the cocktails a try :)

Corinne @ Gourmantic said...

Snap! :) Now I see the missing piece of the jigsaw! Such a shame I missed you. We could have toasted a couple of boozy espressos together!

Lil said...

This is close to my uni so I should definitely pop in and have a look-see! It looks so intriguing!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I wish I drank more coffee!

Tina said...

Hi lateraleating - Yes, I do believe espresso martinis are worth turning for :)

Hi joey - It sure is; I'm sure you'll like it.

Hi sugarpuffi - Isn't it just?

Hi Dumpling Girl - They're not on the regular menu (yet) but who knows...

Hi Corinne - You're too sweet :) Next time!

Hi Lil - Definitely have a look-see! :D

Hi Lorraine - Practice makes perfect ;)

minibites said...

that espresso martini looks soooooo good! and love the candle settings :D

Tina said...

Hi minibites - The candles were the first thing I noticed when I entered... :)

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

This would be the perfect place to take my husband to - he's not so much a coffee buff as a coffee snob, so he could do with some education in the area!

Tina said...

Hi mademoiselle délicieuse - A coffee snob that needs education...? Interesting... ;)

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