Blackstar is one of the highest rated cafes in Brisbane, and it has a cool name. I had to check it out, despite the warnings from my hairdresser (who, being Australian and a hairdresser, knows a thing or two about coffee and design) that there are too many hippies there. Nah. Not too many.
I don't think there were 'too many hippies' (which I guess would be a lot, be so many that I couldn't taste the coffee, continue to breathe or generally keep my sanity) but it definitely had a chilled out vibe to it. There's only outdoor seating (which is fine in Brisbane, it only ever goes from 'nice' to 'hot'). There's wifi. They're cool with you chilling out for ... like... forever. And there's only a coffee bar that serves a number of beans however you like them, and some treats. No big meals. Some 'breakfasty' stuff, but don't go there expecting to wax poetic about eggs benedict, unless you were going to do that anyway.
I had a couple of coffees, and they were both done well. The presentation was lacking, but I'd rather the barrier to entry for specialty coffee not be as high as the new designer shops set it, anyway. The pourover I had was a Kenyan with a lot of berry flavour, not a high amount of body, but a sweet aftertaste. Pretty standard great Kenyan, and just what I expected from them. I finished it off a bit later with a cold brew, which I generally don't like as much but it just looked so cool.
BlackStar is unassuming and serious about their coffee. There's really often a distinct roasting smell coming from their roaster (which is out the back somewhere), and you can buy brewing gear and beans right from next to the counter. I would have, if I wasn't stocked up on beans and free samples from other places.
Basically, all up, this is a great place to go and check out. In an age where fit outs of cafes can cost upwards of A$500K, it's nice to see a cafe investing only where it really counts - great coffee, friendly staff and a really relaxed atmosphere. Nobody was rushing me out of my seat. They were totally chill. I think I'll be back.
BlackStar is at 44 Thomas St West End and is open 7am-5pm every day.