Cafe Reviews

Cafe Review: Penny Farthing, Melbourne (Australia)

Penny Farthing is 'charming'. It's trying to be. It succeeds, I think, if you're into that kind of thing. But I kind of thought it got in the way of what's actually good about the place: the coffee is really good. Serving Industry beans, Penny Farthing does it all: espresso, food, wine and pourovers/Aeropress/chemex. But really they do espresso (and lattes and cappuccinos, for the Aussie crowd). I did eventually get my chemex, but it came so late they offered it to me for free (though the person at the tiller didn't hear this and charged me for it). Basically it's a really busy place, which is because the coffee is really good.

The coffee

The chemex I had was well extracted - a Panamanian washed coffee from Finca Hartmann. I am always surprised when a washed coffee tastes good, and in this case I was pleasantly surprised. It didn't jump out at me like a geisha Panamanian geisha sometimes can. The coffee stood out for having a warm sweet body but with gentle floral and berry notes, and plenty of aftertaste. A delicate and luscious coffee for an afternoon - suitable for the sometimes chilly afternoons we get in Melbourne.

The space

Penny Farthing decorates its space with quaint items that reflect its name and brand. It adds to the aesthetic of the place. I'd describe this as a nice place to come, look around, have coffee, meet a friend, but definitely not a place to sit down with a laptop or relax for an extended period. The baristas were constantly busy and even the servers didn't really have time to talk.

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I enjoyed my visit but wished it were a little less hectic - more than I was expecting for a suburban coffee shop. Still, I would go back if I were living in the area.