Seven Seeds and Brother Baba Budan

March 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm (Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Melbourne CBD, Victoria)

Seven Seeds is another of Melbourne’s hidden gems.  The home of “the best expresso in town” (in the words of Matt Preston) is pretty much indistinguishable from the other warehouses lining Berkeley Street in Carlton.  However, thanks to its reputation as one of the best coffee roasters in Melbourne, it’s never short of patrons.  In fact, the only sign of the entrance is usually a steady stream of customers moving in and out of the old wooden door.

The interior of the converted warehouse has a very laid-back feel, perfect for a time-out at any time of day.  I’m a huge fan of the utilitarian décor; cutlery and menus stored in empty ammunition cases, woolen warmers on the ceiling lights and a clever use of space that turns bicycles into a wall feature.  There’s even a room full of coffee bean plants and one for roasting beans.

Apart from its signature expresso blend, Seven Seeds also offers a range of single origin, single estate and micro-lot coffees, all incredibly exotic-sounding (along the lines of Kenyan Kiangombe and Sulawesi Toarco Peaberry).  Their “Coffee of the Day” is always intriguing enough to tickle the tastebuds of any coffee-geek.

In terms of food, there is a good selection of seasonal breakfast items, ranging from buttery french toast and fresh baguettes to spiced beans.  On my most recent Sunday morning visit, I ordered a buckwheat and rice muesli with rhubarb compote and Greek yoghurt.  The buckwheat, puffed rice and toasted nuts were wonderfully crunchy, staying crunchy even after being smothered with yoghurt, rhubarb and a splash of milk.  The compote was delicious; not jam-like, so that I got a huge whack of fresh rhubarb flavor rather than sugar.  Coupled with a cocoa-y Colombian coffee, it was the perfect reward after a pretty epic chilly morning walk.

It’s also a good lunch spot to take those friends who have a thing against early mornings.  Particularly good if, like me, you like salads that are a little bit out of the ordinary.  Loved the chickpea and brown rice salad with dried fruited, toasted nuts, herbs and pomegranate molasses.

Can’t be bothered going to Carlton?  You need not fear because Seven Seeds has a “sister-café” in the middle of the CBD.  Located on Little Bourke Street, Brother Baba Budan is best known for its shortage of seats, with most of its chairs actually found hanging from the ceiling.   It is named after the Moslem pilgrim who is credited with introducing the coffee bean to India from Yemen (All About Coffee, by William H. Ukers, 1922).  It is definitely my café of choice when in need of a quick caffeine-fix, perfect when coupled with one of the pastries or muffins on display at the counter.

Might I recommend a hazelnut meringue muffin; light and fluffy on the inside, crunchy on the outside, studded with hazelnut pieces and cranberries and topped with with a cream cheese frosting, cranberry pieces and caramel.  Try it paired with a magic coffee ^^

The latest member of the Seven Seeds family is De Clieu on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.  Will certainly be posting the inside scoop here as soon as I check it out ^^


Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon


Brother Baba Budan on Urbanspoon


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