Darwin’s at the University of Queensland


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Hail exam time for uni kids. During exam blocks…anything with caffeine in it is a necessity. I went to uni early to try cram in whatever study I could yesterday, and I thought I’d stop by Darwin’s Cafe, which is connected to the BSL (Biological Sciences Library). I’ve stopped over on previous occasions at different times of the day. It’s living in the fast lane..and it seems like it’s ALWAYS peak hour for Darwin’s…They have one barista tamping the whole time, one on shots and milk…and one at the register and a few wait staff. I headed over at close to 8am and ordered 1 skinny flat white with soy, and 1 skinny flat white (both in the large size) and a large can of V.

I was also super hungry so I ordered an Eggs benedict with a hash brown.

Food Rating: 5/10

I wasn’t expecting much for a high volume coffee selling Cafe to produce a good eggs benedict. The hash brown was burnt, and the hollandaise sauce was one of those pre-made ones (Once you’ve had homemade, you can’t go back). I did make a smiley face with my food though….which was ..cool.

There have been occasions on busy days where I have waited for more than 10 minutes for a coffee…this time they got lucky. From when I left the counter until my coffee was ready, the super-speedy Barista has an impeccable timing of just under a minute. I did run into a little hiccup with my order however, as the lady on the register didn’t put through my soy order…I ended up with 2 skinny flat whites. On a normal day I would just drink both and swallow my frustration, but I wanted to test their service.

Service Rating 6.5/10

When I went to collect my coffees, I double checked with the barista that there would be one soy and one skinny milk flat white…he checked the docket and realised the lady on the register didn’t put it through…without fuss he then politely made me another soy coffee. When my eggs benedict arrived, they had forgotten my hash brown too.. I guess they’re just too busy to be able to be consistent with their orders. I am however, thoroughly impressed with how quickly they fixed up their mistakes.

(In case you’re wondering…The said skinny flat white was adopted by a lady waiting in line, who had ordered a large skinny flat white..it didn’t die in vain)

Coffee Rating: 7.5/10

Darwin’s uses Blue Sky Coffee beans (I think their flagship store is in Newstead), which is a single origin Cuban bean…and I rate it pretty well. It tastes a little similar to a few boutique cafe coffees from West End.

Verdict: 6.3/10

There’s not much choice in coffee around UQ, but if you’re prepared to line up and potentially have your order mixed up, head over to Darwin’s. I would only go there out of necessity, and not really by choice. Darwin’s you need to train up your staff on the register! It’s priced fairly at $4.00 for a standard large coffee, and they have a loyalty card system as well, which helps out uni kids on a budget.

Until next time….



Dandelion & Driftwood


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By special request of dearest Darius, my next blog will be dedicated to Dandelion & Driftwood. If you’re ever in Ascot, be sure to drop by to the Dandelion & Driftwood cafe to try out their syphon coffee. Their address is: Shop 1, 45 Gerler Rd Hendra, Brisbane, Australia 4011 and there is usually ample street parking available.  I’ve been there several times over the course of a few years, and from what I think I can recall..they’ve revamped the menu. It’s a dainty little cafe…it doesn’t sit more than I would say 15-20 guests, but they have a designated takeaway coffee Barista who operates a coffee-machine outside the store. You’ll see many locals walk by with their dogs and order a coffee or two in the mornings.

Coffee rating 8/10: I wish I could review it a lot better than this, but to be honest I’m  admittedly not a big drinker [fan] of syphon coffee..and so I wasn’t expecting it to taste as it did. We didn’t really know what we were ordering…It ended up tasting a lot stronger than espresso coffee. I ordered a Costa Rica Zamorana Duice Syphon coffee..and it took a bit of getting used to.

I should really train myself in the art of appreciating syphon coffee. When you order from their syphon bar, the barista uses the..”uber boiler” and the coffee goes through a set of funnels, boilers and drips…it looks like a chemistry lab of sorts. I think watching the laborious process was good enough for me. With that said, their flat white tastes very smooth.

Food rating: 6.0/10

The scones are amazing!…we only left enough crumbs for ants- brownie points for the scones. I was a little unimpressed with their chicken toasted sandwich though…they use processed chicken (ergh!)..boo. However, the presentation of the sandwich is very quirky. It comes toothpicked with a gerkin and an artificial cherry in a little basket (none of which I actually ate…due to personal preferences).

Service Rating: 9/10 It’s a very small cafe, but the service is amazing. It’s fast and the baristas are very easy to get along with.

Verdict:  7.6/10

So with that said, I wouldn’t make a trip down to Hendra to D&D for their food. It’s the environment, the coffee and the scones that would bring me back again and again. I’ll definitely return to Dandelion & Driftwood. Call me up for a D&D date… I’ll be there with bells on.


Cirque in New Farm


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I’m just your average coffee-loving-consumer who wants to share with you reviews on coffee beans, cafes around Brisbane and anything else that I find might be of interest to you. My inspiration for starting this blog was actually to keep track of the different coffee beans that we try out at home. We have a Blanco Automatic Coffee Machine CMA60X built into the Kitchen (it’s wall mounted)  for my lazy days and late night coffee fixes.

I’ll kick off this blog with a review on Cirque in New Farm which is on 618 Brunswick Street, New Farm, QLD 4005. From memory, this was a recommendation from my friend Betty. When we arrived, the cafe was so packed that we sat outside with a menu for about 15 minutes. It has two levels, and we were fortunately seated upstairs, which is less crowded.

The service rating 8/10: Our waiter was exceptionally knowledgeable, and very persuasive. I ended up ordering a skinny flat white, eggs benedict and a freshly squeezed juice. I know I went a bit overboard with my ordering…and luckily I did.

The coffee 3/10 : The first time I ever go to a new cafe, I order a skinny flat white to test it out. On average, I probably drink one cup of skinny flat white per day and have done so for the past 5 or so years, so it’s something that I’m most familiar with. At cirque, the food is AMAZING. And the coffee I would rate less than average. It tasted a little burnt and aside from that it tasted a little sour… I’m glad I ordered the juice, because my coffee was less than satisfactory.

My verdict? I would definitely go back for the food, but I’ll stick with juice next time I visit.

– Coffee-critic-chad