De Clieu is an undisputed institution. At the heart of Collingwood and Fitzroy, two of the urban cultural centres of Melbourne, it is (reputedly) the place where the 'magic' (a double ristretto flat white in a 150ml glass) was invented, then exported to every cafe in Melbourne, then Australia and even now the world (via New York).
De Clieu was originally one of the Seven Seeds group, but was sold early in 2013 to become independent. They now stock a variety of cafes including Seven Seeds, 5 Sensesand The Maling Room, another Melbourne institution that has been brewing and roasting for over a decade. Nothing much aesthetically has changed since the sale, and the coffee, ambience and food are all still excellent.
Like any specialty coffee shop, De Clieu offers a pour-over and cold-brewed coffees as part of their line-up. I had a nice chat to the barista and decided to try their Ethiopian Kolowa washed coffee.
Produced by The Maling Room, coffee from the Kolowa washing station is from Dalle in the Sidamo region of Ethiopia. It's incredibly bright and fragrant for a washed coffee. Even though I was warned they were down to their last packet and it was 3 weeks past roast, I was stunned by how much flavour was in it - very sweet berry jam and a chocolatey finish, and a bright juicy body. As a nice touch, they gifted me the bag with the remaining coffee at the end as they were closing (as well as some complementary pastries!). And no, they didn't know I was going to write anything.
Clever Dripper brew recipe
I checked in with the Barista for her brew recipe and was surprised with a fairly high concentration of water to coffee (approx 10:1). I replicated this at home and it came out perfectly, so I would recommend this ratio for this coffee. This was brewed in a Clever Dripper, though would work in french press as well (if then filtered)
- 16g grinds, somewhat coarse
- 150g water at 93 deg C
- 2m30 brew time
De Clieu also has a great ambience and modern interior design - music is a bit loud inside, but you'd sit outside if you could [stand the Melbourne cold].
The food menu is also worth noting - they have enough for a decent breakfast or a lunch, though as with most cafes eggs and bread play a central role.
Overall, I've been before and I'll be back and happily recommend De Clieu to any visitor.