Fabretto Brothers

 

Maybe today’s review will be a little unfair because, in my mind, I had expected Fabretto Brothers to be one of the best coffee venues in Geelong. As it turned out it was fine but certainly not the place I am going to rush back to on a regular basis. A couple of really simple changes would improve the experience and you’re not going to be surprised to hear what they are.

fabrettoFirst up, the coffee was served in a cappuccino cup meaning that we are still running at around 33% of cafes and coffee shops serving long blacks in tulip cups. I have had people ask me why this is so important and so I took a photo of the coffee today as it was presented. As discussed in the past, the crema on a black coffee is critical to the taste and to the presentation. Using some pretty rudimentary mathematics, I calculated that the top surface area of the coffee in a cappuccino cup is almost exactly twice the area of the top surface area of a coffee in a tulip cup. By definition, then, the crema needs spreads across twice the area, making it either really thin or, in some instances such as today’s coffee, the crema simply breaks up (see image on the right). This takes away from the flavour and it takes away from the presentation.

The other thing – and yes, I’m being picky – is that my saucer had drinking chocolate sprinkled on it, presumably from the last cappuccino the barista made. I know that I don’t drink from the saucer but that should have been wiped away before the coffee was served. That sort of attention to detail has cost the Fabretto Brothers half a star.

So, will you enjoy the coffee served at Fabretto Brothers – yes you will. That said, a couple of minor tweaks could make all the difference.

 

Address: 14 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.fabrettobrothers.com.au
Telephone: 0417 355 110
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Fabretto Brothers
Headline: A little disappointing because I had heard so much positive feedback about the coffee. Good coffee without being very good.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Sailors Rest

 

I was starting to despair – I had struggled to find anything better than “pretty good” coffee down on the waterfront in Geelong’s CBD. But at Sailors Rest, I am able to report a coffee that was very good.

The venue itself was a haven for seafarers from 1912 until the 1980’s, providing company and entertainment for sailors in Geelong’s port. It is also suggested that the illuminated sign, erected in 1926, is the longest standing electric sign in Victoria and so, all things considered, this is a really important piece of Geelong’s history. It’s nice to know that we can take visitors to the waterfront and buy them a really good coffee right opposite the beach.

My long black was presented in a tulip cup, albeit one with a peculiar twisted handle. The coffee itself was strong and flavoursome, served in the right cup at the right temperature. My coffee partner today ordered a cappuccino and reported it to be very good as well.

All in all, a very good coffee experience.

 

Address: 3 Moorabool Street (cnr Eastern Beach Road)
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.sailorsrest.com.au
Telephone: 5224 2241
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: At last, I’ve found somewhere at the waterfront that serves very good coffee. Would be even better on a sunny day!
Coffee Rating: Four stars

The Corio Bay Roadhouse

 

Sometimes, you just have visit an iconic location and around these parts, they don’t come much more iconic that the Corio Bay Roadhouse. A full-on truck stop on the Melbourne end of Geelong, it is quintessential truck stop and quintessential Corio. In a previous life, I worked on a project that had me stopping at truck stops from Cairns to Hobart and Melbourne to Geraldton. Until you have spend time as one of these places, you just don’t understand the critical role they play in the well-being of our truckies. An opportunity for a hearty feed, a shower and far more importantly, a friendly face and chat – they are part of the Australian landscape and all power to them.

My truck stop experience over the past 20-odd years prepared me for an under-whelming cup of coffee at the Corio Bay Roadhouse – I have seen cappuccinos made with caterer’s blend instant coffee in a central Queensland truck stop – but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by the Corio Bay Roadhouse coffee. Not to the extent that it would push its way into top 90% of coffees I have tried in Geelong but seriously, it was actually pretty good.

The cup wasn’t a tulip cup but the crema was good, the temperature right and from a flavour perspective, better than satisfactory.

Added to the coffee was the fact that I was called “Love” and “Darl” by the lady behind the counter and that I could have had a full-on mixed grill for $15 – and this is a truckie’s mixed grill!

If you live in Geelong and you haven’t stopped for at least a coffee at the Corio Bay Roadhouse, you need to take a long, hard look at yourself. You’ll find better coffee in plenty of places around Geelong but I can guarantee you won’t find this experience anywhere else in your home town.

 

Address: 383 Princes Highway
Suburb: Corio 3214
Web Site:
Telephone: 5275 1207
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.30
Coffee Suppliers: Espresso Vivo
Headline: A unique experience in Geelong – if you live in Geelong and have never been there, you should. Not the most amazing coffee but certainly better than satisfactory.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

Bean Squeeze – Manifold Heights

 

The aim of this web site is to identify the best coffee experience in Geelong and if that’s what you’re after, you should look elsewhere. You are only on site for the bare minimum of time that it takes to create your coffee and hand it over to you.

Bean Squeeze has set up eight take away coffee locations around Geelong designed to give drivers the chance to purchase a take away coffee without leaving their car. By definition, the coffee is take away and therefore is delivered in a take away cup. You can bring your own “Keep Cup” but make sure you have washed it before you get there – they handed mine back to me for health and safety reasons. I hadn’t washed it since yesterday’s take away coffee.

No-one should turn up at Bean Squeeze expecting a fantastic coffee experience. If you, like many people, like to stop off and purchase a coffee on the way to work or anywhere else, though, and don’t want to get out of your car on a cold morning, your laziness will be rewarded with a coffee that it is better than satisfactory at Bean Squeeze.

Try one next time you’re heading off on a journey …

 

Address: 251 Shannon Avenue
Suburb: Manifold Heights 3218
Web Site: www.beansqueeze.com.au
Telephone: 5222 7164
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: It is what it is – if you are looking for an all embracing coffee experience, look elsewhere. If you are looking for takeaway coffee, better than satisfactory!
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars

The Sprout and The Bean

 

The Sprout and The Bean is located in a small shop, just east of the main part of Malop Street in the Geelong CBD. It is typical of most organic cafes – small, bordering on tiny store with a bit of a retro furniture feel. The food offerings are very limited, due in part to the very small kitchen – I have seen bigger kitchens in apartments. As a result, you are able to choose from the soup of the day, the curry of the day and one or two pre-made wraps, featuring falafel and other vegetarian fillings. For some, this would be heaven. For others like me, this is not a place where I’m going to find anything that I am going to want to eat.

Fortunately, then, this is a coffee review site and not a food review site

The coffee was certainly OK but broke a few of the cardinal rules – first up it was served in the wrong sort of cup (cappuccino bowl), with very little if any crema and not quite hot enough for my liking. If I am going to visit somewhere to specifically have coffee – and with the limited menu, that’s the only reason I’d be likely to visit – I am going to be looking for coffee that is better than what I received. An interesting observation from my coffee partner for today was that in her two coffees, there was significant flavour and texture differences which is also not such a good sign.

All in all, if you are a vegetarian and you want to go somewhere for lunch with coffee as an afterthought, then The Sprout and The Bean might be a good option. If you are after good coffee, you’ll find other places that serve coffee that is at least as good, if not much better

 

Address: 1/163 Malop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.facebook.com/TheSproutAndTheBeanCafe
Telephone: 5222 1270
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Jaspers
Headline: Very small organic cafe. Very limited menu. Very limited seating. Coffee good.
Coffee Rating: Three and a half stars