The most important thing in specialty coffee is consistency – consistency of coffee, consistency of milk, consistency of service. Every coffee must satisfy the same standard of quality. Every customer must receive the same positive experience. Successful coffee shops are consistent coffee shops because their regulars know they’ll always receive a great cup of coffee.
Tragically, most specialty coffee shops will pump out good coffee for a short period of time before standards start to slip. Owners and baristas get lazy, consistency drops, and customers simply change coffee shops. It’s a brutal industry.
Bench Espresso on Hay St is not one of those shops. These guys have been pumping out consistently great coffee for a number of years, providing high-quality brews for hundreds and hundreds of CBD folk. You don’t need blogs telling you it’s good – just look at the line out the door.
Bench champions local roaster Five Senses with a classic two-grinder set up. The G2 espresso blend has a nice syrupy body with a raspberry brightness coming from the small Ethiopian component. The G1 blend is robust and sweet, perfect for that silky flat white.
We also love the filter coffee. The Five Senses Equador, brewed through Hario V60 pour over, was fragrant and light-bodied with sweet/tart notes of dried apricot. Cold brew has been available through out the summer. We do think, however, the ordering process would be less of an ordeal without three different brew methods for each coffee (pour over, Aeropress, Clever Dripper).
While Bench is consistent, it’s not perfect either. Several years of successful business have taken their toll on the interior feel of the shop. The bench displays are cluttered and confused. The filter bar is crammed into the service area. Most upsettingly, the espresso machine space is usually a mess – there’s coffee and milk everywhere! Great coffee requires an OCD-level of cleanliness because, sooner or later, a dirty work environment will start to manifest in the product you send out.
The good news is that a dirty bench is easily fixed – just harass those baristas to lift their game. At the end of the day, Bench is still doing an extraordinarily good job. They have a number of loyal followers who have been happy for a number of years, and that’s a massive feat. Bench, no doubt, is still setting the benchmark for the new kids on the block.
Bench Espresso is located at 471 Hay St, Perth City.