I was excited to read about several new cafes in the The Age’s 2012 Coffee Army Handbook, including one that appeared in the list of runners-up along with the likes of Three Bags Full and Proud Mary.
Little Bean Blue is located at the Parliament Station end of Little Collins St; just look out for the electric blue chairs outside. An off-shoot of Cafenatics, this cafe is definitely all about the coffee, with a number of single origin espressos, filter and cold drip coffees (including a delicious sounding, flavoured ‘Sparkling Coffee’), along with a house blend on offer. For tea-drinkers, there’s a good range of teas of various origin; the menu on the day of our visit included an Indian Good Morning Blend and Fujian Golden Monkey, Bai Mo Dan and Rock Oolong teas. Little Bean Blue has no food menu but stocks an assortment of sweet goodies to complement your tea or coffee.
Early in the morning, milk coffees are in order, so I opted for a magic with the Panama Hartmann by Proud Mary. A very smooth coffee (thank you Jonesy’s milk) and quite sweet; ‘dried cherry and candied walnut’ tones, according to the tasting notes.
I absolutely love the design of the cafe. It’s a narrow room that’s been simply but cleverly decorated with quirky features including caged lights, a wall feature comprising steel pipework and limestone slabs, and a stylish, timber-panel back wall, all forming lines that seem to add length to the space. The shiny La Marzocco Mistral is also impressive enough to be a decorative item in itself and one wall has been dedicated to chalkboards for displaying the drinks on offer as well as schematics explaining the different brewing methods. The overall colour-scheme is quite muted, with splashes of colour introduced by statement blue chairs and newspaper racks.