From the outside, you get the feeling The Coffee Laboratory was a local store and in some respects, you still do … it is however, more of a ‘hidden Brisbane coffee gem’, as Mug Shots tweeted. Inside the treasure appears, there is an amazing array of historic paraphernalia … you can literally immerse yourself in the history of coffee roasting and brewing. It’s more like a coffee museum, than a laboratory. Having said that, the gas bottle hooked up to a roaster that looked like armour a shining knight might wear, gives the impression that a scientific genius is at work.
There are 3 hoppers near the espresso machine with beans that were roasted on site – there were Colombian, Costa Rican and Kenyan single origins on offer. There is no house blend to speak of, you can choose your own blend and Jae mixes it by putting some grinds of your selections straight into the basket. Coffee purists may turn up their nose, but variety is the spice … or coffee … of life. You may not get the same thing twice but what an adventure!
The blackboard promoted cold drip iced coffee … it was made on Costa Rican single origin dripped for 24 hours followed by 4-10 days in the fridge to develop the flavours. We had it black with sugar syrup on the side. It was shaken not stirred to provide a ‘head’ on the coffee – never seen that before.It provided a refreshing, bold coffee flavour that mellowed out nicely. With the sugar syrup it was almost like a coffee ‘cola’. Mocha mate sampled the mocha on a ‘bit’ of the Colombian and a ‘bit’ of the Costa Rican that provided a punchy start to his day. Jae was keen to get our opinion on the coffee and got more chatty as time went on.
We decided to have long macchiatos on the Kenyan beans. Jae confirmed the choice as wise, and checked we were happy with the way she made long macch’s before getting underway. They were delivered in quirky cups and saucers. The coffee was bold and tasty, and the touch of milk seemed to enhance the black coffee. We were welcomed back anytime and as Jae said, ‘it’s a great place to have coffee meetings’ … and it is! Despite lots of people coming in and out, there was a sense of being in a quiet corner of a museum as we chatted and sipped.
As well as the historical, there is plenty of contemporary coffee equipment, beans and things to buy. There is even Kopi Luwak in some resin to view … a Kellogg’s LCM comes to mind! Although there are mixed reports on The Coffee Laboratory, it is really one of those places you need to experience for yourself … experiment with what they have to offer and make up your own mind. Definitely worth a visit.