It's been nearly 20 years since I've spent any significant time in Brisbane, when BrettH and I were but wee younglings at university. Back then I wouldn't have known decent coffee (or food) from a bar of soap, although Brett has always been more savvy than I in that respect.
The last couple of weeks I've had clients and business partners in town and I've been staying in and around the Fortitude Valley area and explored Brisbane. I've been pleasantly surprised by so much - the Valley has some absolutely incredible experiences going on for foodies. It's a funky, happening place and the city is vastly more interesting than once it was. The trains run on time, the people are nice and I couldn't want for anything more....
Except a decent coffee!
LTD on Brunswick St is my personal pick - an absolute savant of a barista who knows how to work the paddles. The coffee isn't to my taste, too light in an almost filter style, but he does an excellent job of it and you get plenty of nuance and flavour from the cup.
My partner prefers double-shot small flat whites - she felt the brew didn't cut through milk and was too sweet. Disliked it.
Reverends Fine Coffee just a few doors down has a stunning Kees machine in another well-renovated space - but my espresso was again super-light roast and at least 120ml of subtleness to the point of lacking flavour. Again, my milky partner hated it.
We tried Queen Bean on Anne St during rush hour. I don't know if they weren't flushing enough between shots, but it was super busy so perhaps not representative of their best work - all I got was a very hot, bitter brew. The milk wasn't burnt, but it tasted like the coffee was.
Finally in desperation we tried a small local place running Lavazza. They're using the premium beans and the guy behind the counter is quite knowledgeable - not terrible, but nothing to return for, except the enthusiasm of the owner.
I'd welcome any recommendation for espresso in the Valley or Valley end of the CBD where we can get a great espresso that's not part of the hipster filter espresso brigade!