Lamkin Lane opened up in Caloundra recently, the brainchild of Tim Adams and James Pedrazzini both champion baristas. Many on the coast are aware of Tim's profile as a roaster, which he's been building via a mobile van but Lamkin Lane is a new venture and has brought a new level of coffee sophistication not just to Caloundra but the Sunshine Coast as a whole.
The premises was once a haberdashery, a black shed facing a multi-storey carpark shoehorned into a lane behind the main street. If someone had told me they'd open a cafe there before Lamkin launched, I would've laughed at how ludicrous it was.
Instead, they've turned the shed into a modern, spartan warehouse affair more akin to Melbourne than the usual expectation of coffee on the coast.
But onto the important stuff.
There's five grinders next to the white La Marzocco, two more on the bench behind and a deli grinder over near the large bean storage, which I assume is there in case someone needs ground coffee to take home.
The five on the bench are typically stocked with the Lamkin Lane blend, Tim's seasonal blend (currently called 'Season 9') and either three single origins or two and a blend. Occasionally the blend is from a third party roaster, but typically they're all Tim's roasts.
The single origins change regularly - they rarely stay in the hopper for more than a week, if that.
Tim's roasting style is smooth and even, without even a glance at the current trend of roasting for filter.
This is an espresso joint, through and through.
To say that Lamkin has fundamentally altered my appreciation and understanding of coffee would be an understatement. Not even self-roasting widened my horizons this much.
I finally understood why this was so after a recent post on the Londinium blog
For me the critical element that must be present for a coffee to be called espresso is mouth coating.
For a coffee to be called espresso it must be sufficiently dense and syrupy to ensure a coating of the inside of your mouth.
Irrespective of flavour, body or acidity this is what defines coffee and Lamkin Lane.
I've gained an appreciation for the variance of acid in espresso, for fruity flavours, for mouth bombs (like a Rwandan a few weeks back which absolutely blew my mind) as well as the traditional choc/caramel flavours I've been chasing.
Yesterday, for the first time, I tasted an actual definable flavour - Strawberry - in a El Salvador Finca San Jose. Last week I took home a kilo of Indo Suluwessi that was just sensational.
The only downside of the place is that I've gotten really slack with my own roasting!
Tim and James are fantastic hosts, the shop is always busy, but they always take the time to have a chat with me and know my brew preferences. For me they eschew the cup and spoon, just handing the D'Ancap espresso cup straight over the machine so I can get it while it's still the perfect temp.
In short, this would have my vote as one of the best - if not THE best - shrine to espresso in the country.
Well worth a visit.