Black Circle Café, 4/12 Alma Rd. New Lambton, Mon-Fri: 6:30-5pm, Sat: 8am-2pm.
The world would become a simpler place if every café owner just named their blends after their favourite songs. Imagine the time you could save searching for your next favourite cup. All of those confusing references to yield, dose, origin and process could be replaced with a few simple words that could say everything you ever needed to know.
Who cares about how they wash coffee beans in the New Guinean highlands? Give me a 500 gram Bat Out of Hell and I’m Walking On Sunshine baby.
Over at the Black Circle cafe in New Lambton, owner Daniel Wolinski has chosen seminal Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam to headline on his main stage.
Displayed on the back wall are a range of coffee blends named after his favourite of their songs. Fans of the band will recognise the titles – Immortality, The Fixer, Oceans and the first album favourite, Even Flow.
Any fans of blends from premium East African, South and Central American origins will also have reason to raise their hands up and sing their hearts out too.
If the musical references are a little old school – if the 1990s can already be called that - then the coffee Wolinski pours here is much the same. This is a café that not only celebrates the nostalgic value of music and the Black Circle of vinyl it came recorded on, but the classic chocolate and caramel tastes that have dropped out of the charts at many other coffee venues.
This is a café that not only celebrates the nostalgic value of music and the Black Circle of vinyl it came recorded on, but the classic chocolate and caramel tastes that have dropped out of the charts at many other coffee venues.
The house blend is a spicy and dark one. A duo of Brazilian and Costa Rican maestros play the classic notes up front, with a rhythm section hailing from Ethiopia and Kenya. Add a few solos from a Sumatran and you have it – the Even Flow. The song this one was named after is an explosive concoction that bursts forth from somewhere unstable. The blend does it justice.
The gentler ballads in the Black Circle collection are the lighter and fruitier Immortality and Oceans blends. Alongside the Even Flow and The Fixer, all are available in either a 250g ($13) or 500g ($22) bag of grounds or beans.
The when and the where of how this café discovered that coffee are still on the hazy side. We know it is roasted and blended in Manly but the rest seems to be a bit of a secret. Perhaps it should stay that way. We also know that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first talked about the blues as schoolboys on a train station platform. To find out what happened next we have to go out and buy all the albums. Or we can just buy a coffee and wait till they play them at Black Circle.