Today I discovered Nitrogen Cold Brew *gasp!*
It was my last day in Melbourne today. Although I am sad to leave, I am glad to have experienced the amazing food and coffee in this beautiful city.
This includes my new (non-local) favourite: Aunty Peg's.
Earlier this morning I ate at Proud Mary. It was an absolutely amazing experience but with one exception: they did not have the Nitrogen Cold Brew I'd been looking for. Luckily for me, they had some at their roasting warehouse: Aunty Peg's. It was supposed to be a mere 5 minute walk down the road and grab a takeaway coffee to go. Turns out, life has a funny way to changing your life forever.
At Aunty Peg's we met a man called Kurtis, a fine chap from New Zealand who had come over to Australia in his early childhood years who grew up to become a brilliant barista. He was super friendly, and openly shared his love of coffee with us as well as a bit of history behind the company.
"Nolan Hirte, Director of Proud Mary Coffee Roasters envisioned Aunty Peg’s to be a welcoming, inclusive space where you could access some of the best coffee on the planet, brewed for you by your one-on-one barista. When naming the space, Nolan thought of his Grandma, affectionately known as Aunty Peg. A bold Scottish lady with a heart of gold, Aunty Peg’s door was always open and her oven was always on. Famous for her warm hospitality and incredible home cooking, Aunty Peg embodied the ideas of how Nolan wanted to share his coffee experiences."
And thus Aunty Peg came about, a place of warmth, affection, and the sharing of coffee experiences to everybody and anybody.
Aunty Peg's coffee bar layout is very much like a "usual" bar. There is a long bench, stools, and taps for the Nitrogen Cold brew. It is incredibly sleek, modern, and extremely beautiful, and it immediately gives off an inviting energy. "Come sit," Kurtis says, as he pours me a glass of brew.
Then I notice that the coffee group heads had somehow been built into the bar itself. Nolan, the engineer that he is, figured out a way to take apart his coffee machine, and then built it into the bar so that his baristas could have more interaction with customers, as opposed to being hidden behind a bulky pressure cooker.
Impressed indeed, I was.
Today I drank the Nitrogen Cold Brew.
"The brew isn't for everyone," Kurtis warns, "so it's probably not what you're expecting." However, I really liked it. It tasted very malty, like drinking a cross between a dark coffee and a dark beer like Guinness. While I am not much of a fan of Guiness, I am most definitely a fan of Aunty Peg's Nitrogen Cold Brew. I say with absolute certainty that NCB is my favourite caffeinated beverage of all time.
Kurtis also gave us a tour of the warehouse, including the temperature-controlled room for the green beans which are kept at a consistent state prior to roasting, as well as the big roasting machines that continuously roast throughout the day. Upstairs is the cupping room and training area, where aspiring baristas can learn the tricks of the trade, including knowledge of the Coffee Flavour Wheel, pour overs, and steaming silky milk.
And now it was time for our flight.
Proud Mary like to serve coffee as individual cups or as a flight, which is serving three varietals of coffee from the same farm, one cup at a time.
Today I drank varietals from a farm in Panama called Finca Hartman.
We kicked off with the lightest blend Caturra & Catuai, which was very mild, sweet, and smooth. I imagined myself in a small cottage home sitting by the window on a rainy day enjoying a good book.
Next we tried Maragogipe, which was quite tangy and bright. This is the kind of espresso I could see myself enjoying on a really warm spring day on the patio.
Finally, we tried was the reputable Geisha, and not surprisingly this one was beyond anything I'd ever had. It had flavours of red wine, earl grey tea, with strong notes of bergamot. No wonder it is the most expensive coffee in the world, with some Geisha varietals going for US$750 per kilo!
After our flight, Kurtis did yarn with us a bit longer, talking about barista life in Melbourne, and how much the city had inspired him to be the best barista he could be. It is never dull to listen to another person talk about their passions, and the stories he had to share were truly inspiring.
Aunty Peg's has opened my eyes to a world wider than I have ever foreseen. Thanks to you, I am forever changed as a person and I will never forget this experience for the rest of my days.
Thank you, Aunty Peg for making my last few hours in Melbourne the best. I will be seeing you very soon!