Tag Archives: Seven Seeds

it only takes seven seeds to yield visits aplenty

I miss Alex.

Seven Seeds interior

There, I admitted it.

Months and months of trawling through random bits of paper and I found a (deliberately) silly poem I wrote about Lenin, Russia and global warming on a receipt. On the other half, I found coffee blends and single origins he’d recommended to me and realised I missed him quite a bit, despite having seen a fair bit of him for some serious fat bastardry in Hong Kong this January just passed (he’s actually a killer karaoke singer – wouldn’t have picked that).

Though Alex looks to give the impression that he’d be the first person in the world to possibly accidentally offend you, one of the things I’ve always admired about him is that if you straight-up say “I have no knowledge of <insert appropriate topic here>” then he is happy to share the knowledge he’s acquired in said area.

I’d initially met him at a Libertine pigfest that I’d somehow successfully managed to arrange and so we got to chat more via that dreaded microblogging social platform and confessed, look, I can’t drink a lot of coffee due to side effects of meds AND idiot IBS, but I want to learn more. Care to help a nigga out?

Seven Seeds, back counter

Thus, he took me to Seven Seeds and my coffee initiation begun.

Seven Seeds counter

I think that date we had four or so coffees each – I had as much as I knew my body would handle – espresso, the Magic (a double ristretto in case Courtney crucifies me for referring to it as thus), Clover, long black.

the 'magic'

Clover coffee

Man, why didn’t Seven Seeds exist when I was actually still at bloody uni? No matter, I was stuck in a soulless job just round the corner (though many of my bosses and coworkers were rad) and it became my pre-work ritual to pick up a soy Magic with the SS house blend. Pretty sure that their soy Magics are what kept me sane. I remember negotiating door, takeaway coffee and various things in hands and once dropping said takeaway coffee on floor. People from another project rushed to my aid but it wasn’t the humiliation, it was the sheer loss of wondrous caffeine goodness that I most lamented. Screw my dignity.

squee! bikes!

On the more common occasions, I’d show up with a grin (don’t worry, the grin wouldn’t be around for too long after), sipping my precious. “Where did you get that?” my favourite team leader would ask. “Oh, Seven Seeds, just up the road a bit…” and after explaining just how far, it was vetoed as a work coffee run place due to being too far.

Oh, did I mention they do great nibblies too? I never feel lonely eating here by myself – the staff are always so lovely and happy to explain the coffee to you till the moment of epiphany hits. Here’s one of the heartier baked beany type meals I had. Infinite comfort food.


If you want something more breakfasty rather than brunchy, then how about granola?

granola with berry compote and honeyed yoghurt

Or if you’ve survived an onslaught with the public and private health system (as I seem to be doing of late) and are feeling like a treat, then go with the special of the day – smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing – salut, Monsieur Decadence.

smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing

If you can’t eat in, then why not grab a takeaway coffee and some delectable snacky-wacks? I admit these were initially chosen due to their looks but they most certainly did not disappoint. You can see they are divided exactly down the middle so no one has to fight for their share…

flourless mandarin cake & hummingbird cake with takeaway coffee

It’s not just a Carlton institution, it’s a coffee institution. Still feels weird to visit now that Alex isn’t in Melbourne anymore, but it’s a treasured haunt.

just general Seven Seeds prettiness

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

barista stalker

I’m not a stalker. Seriously. I mean sure, I seem to be following Courtney of Cup of Truth fame around, popping up at cafés he’s working at. I assure you appearances can be deceiving. You believe me, right?

But let’s jump back in time a bit, before I outed myself as a faux barista stalker.

When I train in — usually when I’ve skivved from riding my bicycle — I pop into Cup of Truth. As mentioned in an earlier post, it is the best place to get a coffee within the vicinity of Flinders St Station, hands down. Aside from the quality coffee and the appalling jokes, I also enjoy swapping coffee goss with Courtney and Verity. One such day Courtney mentioned Alex Anderson, of Seven Seeds barista fame, being in the process of scouting locations in Kensington for a new coffee venture.

I’d hit pay dirt, the good shit, the shiznit or any other cliché you might be inclined to hurl at it. I had some insider coffee knowledge, without being an insider. Fantastic. So after rubbing it in @alexlobov’s face (my personal coffee idol), I didn’t have much to do with the information. So patiently I waited for the grand opening of Melbourne’s newest coffee Mecca.

With further visits to Cup of Truth, I was able to ascertain that Courtney would, on weekends, be working at The Premises. Thus we are neatly back on the topic of barista stalking. Personally I think stalking is a bit harsh. It’s more like what happens when you find a good doctor. Once you found them, you don’t let go. Ever.

Now that we’ve established I’m only ‘kind of ‘strange, onto the review. I suppose this review is a bit of a repeat of that for De Clieu — great coffee with knowledgeable staff and tasty food. Unsurprising, given Alex & co. were a big reason for Seven Seeds success. The difference between The Premises and somewhere like De Clieu or Seven Seeds is the level of ‘polish’ to the aesthetic. Seven Seeds and De Clieu are executed flawlessly with respect to the architecture and café design. Contrast this to The Premises,which feels slightly less polished and more raw and rustic, perfectly fitting the slightly ‘decrepit in a interesting way’ feel of Kensington.

Ms G and I started the day’s caffeine intake with a pair of lattes (or lat-e as my grandfather pronounces it): a ‘woosie’ soy milk for her, and a manly cow’s milk for me! Very tasty, not too heavy in flavour, nor too milky — a well made latte.  With the coffee circulating, we’d need something to soak up the caffeine.
Gem went for the french toast with stewed vanilla apricots and spiced mascarpone, with the obligatory side of bacon (c’mon, bacon goes with everything!). Simply delicious. The fruit was very subtle and not overly sweet, working really well with the creaminess of the mascarpone. The bacon even worked too!

For me The Premises creamed corn, fried free-range and cumin salt on multigrain toast caught my eye. In my younger years I’d sneak cans of creamed corn from the pantry, but haven’t had it since. While the creamed corn isn’t remarkable on its own (’cause, let’s face it, it’s creamed corn) it works amazingly well with the other ingredients. The gooey yolk and slightly spicy and salty bit of the cumin salt offset the sweet creamed corn. My only quibble with the meal is the size for the price. At $14.50 I’d expect either a slightly larger serving, or the bacon to be included in the ‘base model’ (+$3.50 for bacon).

Sated, but never satisfied we decided on more coffees. I ‘hit up’ a long black Columbian Carlos Imbachi, while Gem (the perpetual hipster) had the El Salvador Kilimanjaro natural as a pourover. To be honest I can’t remember much about my coffee, other than it being tasty. Gem was enamoured with hers, and I was pleased that there wasn’t a beaker in sight.

Full to bursting, we waddled over to the counter to pay.  However, before we were allowed to leave, Gem was quizzed about her take on the pour over. Now while I’m only just developing the palate to discern flavours in coffee, she responded with something about ‘dark chocolate with star anise on the finish’. All gobbledegook to me, I’m afraid. Damn coffee wanksters.

So, in summary: a very nice cafe, in a very nice suburb. You can even stalk your favourite barista there.

The Premises on Urbanspoon

the french press is back, baby

happy customer

“So the creators of St Ali, Brother Baba Budan and Seven Seeds opened a new cafe, De Clieu, and they didn’t fuck it up” —  was my short-attention-span-generation review of De Clieu for Ms G.

Now while my ‘review’ above is a little short, and perhaps a tad profane, it pretty much sums up De Clieu for me. Legends of the Melbourne coffee scene have opened a new place, and as with all the previous iterations, they’ve executed it beautifully — friendly and knowledgeable wait staff, great food and of course, fantastic coffee. Tick, tick, tick.

I was at a loose end while Ms G was at yoga and it was suggested that I pop in to De Clieu. I’d grab a coffee (or two) and then G and I would hit up Auction Rooms for some mad ‘pork knucklage’ (but more on that in a later post). Perfect.

Scanning the oh-so-pretty menus for the smallest looking dish I settled upon the buckwheat and rice muesli. Damn it was good – puffy soft rice, chocolatey crunch of hazelnuts, bitey zing of dehydrated apple, strawberry and orange, creaminess of the yoghurt and the sweetness of strawberry jam.

rice and buckwheat muesli

I’d need an equally impressive coffee to go with my nom breakfast. The more I latte sip, the more I try to expand my coffee horizons, trying more exotic blends and more esoteric brewing methods. Today would be no exception, selecting the Guatemalan Cup of Excellence in the French press.

Now, I realise there is nothing fancy or new about the French press, except perhaps in an old-is-new-again kind of way. In fact, for me the French press (or plunger coffee) is distinctly unsexy — years of my father drinking plunger Lavazza gave me, quite literally, a bad taste for the French press. Fast forward to 2010, and the overlords of the lactose-intolerant-skinny-jean-wearing-coffee-sipping hipsters, Seven Seeds, have deemed the French press cool again. Well, if it’s good enough for those wacky hipsters, then it’s good enough for me. Subtle, tea-like in body, slightly fruity. Really quite delicious, and very much like a pour-over, which is unsurprising given both methods ‘steep’ the coffee in hot water. My father had it right drinking it black back then as such a light-bodied coffee shouldn’t be messed with by adding milk as it completely overpowers the subtle flavours. If only Dad hadn’t used Lavazza! On a previous excursion to De Clieu, Ms G had a similar enlightenment. From the way she describes the experience I suspect there were angels singing, trumpets blazing and soft cheeses and cured meats being distributed.

I shall forever have a soft spot for De Clieu in my heart because it is the place where upon having Ethiopian Nekisse through the French press, I was able to smell and taste the blueberry. A true coffee epiphany moment. To top it off, I gleefully shared my experience with the staff and instead of acting like they’d just been assaulted by some silly girl, they shared in my joy and enthusiasm. Much love.

french press

Following the French press I had a similarly delicious long black with an unnamed single-origin. I was buzzing.

long black

De Clieu is a beautiful venue, and like its larger brother Seven Seeds there’s whispers of design awards with a minimal and uncluttered layout. Unfortunately, as they say, strengths are sometimes weaknesses and seating is in short supply, so get there early. While you’re there grab a French press – they’re not nearly as daggy as you remember.

De Clieu on Urbanspoon