I first dropped in to Aunty Peg’s not long after it had opened in December on a trip with Feast Melbourne. Like most of the hipster hangouts in Melbourne, I nearly rode past the unit on Wellington Street but thanks to Google Maps and a beady eye, I nearly arrived on time. It was suprisingly quite for a Saturday morning but I guess it was early and most people were out having their typical Melbourne brunch. Us on the other hand needed strong black coffee and Aunty Peg’s hit just the spot.
Aunty Peg’s is the latest venture by Proud Mary, one of Melbourne’s most popular coffee roasters. Unlike the original Proud Mary cafe, which has a good sized breakfast and lunch menu, it’s all about the coffee at Aunty Peg’s. Don’t expect to find your usual latte or flat white on the menu, Aunty Peg’s serve an extensive of black coffee in many different styles. There’s espresso, filter, cold drip, brew batch, nitrogen cold brew and V60 but I repeat NO milk. Anyway, why would you want to ruin the sublime taste of quality coffee, right?
My first coffee at Aunty Peg’s was a cold brew which is poured from a tap creating a chilled black coffee with a smooth silky head, just like a beer. It was a novality to sit at a bar and have half a pint poured infront of me at ten in the morning and the buzz from the coffee was far greater than a beer. However, it wasn’t blow-your-socks-off stong, but instead light and drinkable, just perfect really.
When I returned to Aunty Peg’s a few weeks later, I enjoyed an espresso from Costa Rica which was the kind of coffee that is intense it usually leaves me screwing my face up. Not on this occasion though and I was left satisfied by the rich fruity flavours of the beans. As this visit was for “business” I was shown around the warehouse including the store room where the green beans call home. Kept at the optimum temperature and humidity, each bag is from a different farmer across the world, many which solely rely on the help of Proud Mary to feed their families. Every bag has a different story and it was fascinating to learn so much about the industry.
I was then shown around the roasting room which is where the magic happens. Retro Cadillacs , Apple Mac’s and bearded men with colourful socks pulled-up filled the space – this is ultimate hipster territory. As the bean to brew process was explained to me in detail, I sniffed in the sweet aroma that filled the air, it tasted just like cake and I was in my element. It really is amazing how much time, effort and love goes in to making the perfect cup of coffee, even the roasting machine has it’s own ‘heart rate’ monitor to make sure everything was swell.
I was lucky enough to have a sneaky peak upstairs which is in the process of being transformed into a coffee training school to allow budding baristas the chance to perfect their skills and educate others about coffee. Next to the management team hard at work on their Mac Books, on-site pastry chef Gad Assayag and team prepar some of the most delicious smelling treats.
My exceptionally memorable pistachio and orange blossom filled coissant tasted as it has come all the way from Paris. This is a place where I dream to work with a small bunch of friendly faces who share a passion for coffee and give it their oar to create something magical.
This is a very gleaming review I know, but I actually can’t fault Aunty Peg’s. Every single person who works with Proud Mary has a genuine love for coffee and this really shows – they certainly know their shit. The cafe around the corner serves up a cracking brunch too, I had some fruit toast with honey butter and caramel mascarpone when I was there.
It’s not often I return to the same place for coffee- why bother when there is so many to try? – but I will be bringing friends, family and anyone one who hasn’t been to Aunty Peg’s again and again and again. Hats off to you Proud Mary, you’ve done a damn good job.
Living life, loving coffee,