“So what exactly is a Steampunk?”. It was the question on everyone’s mind, and the reason we had made the journey to Subiaco.
Luckily, the team at Architects & Heroes are always up for a chat. The Steampunk, they explained, is manufactured by coffee company Alpha Dominche. It took out the Speciality Coffee Association of America’s best product award a couple of years back and is slowly filtering (no pun intended) into every-day coffee shops.
Basically, it’s an automatic immersion brewer. It allows the barista to control variables like temperature, agitation and brew time at the touch of a button. The Rwandan brew we sampled was sweet and clean with a crisp green apple acidity. We think they’re onto something!
But Architects & Heroes is by no means a one-trick pony. The brains behind the original Maven Espresso have designed a very cool coffee shop which destroys any competition in the immediate area. It’s a welcome addition to the (how do we phrase this…) cultural blackhole of Subiaco.
The set up is very well executed: a trustworthy La Marzocco Linea occupies a straight bar with a string of Mazzer Robur grinders, while the Steampunk and associated filter instruments chill out back. The coffee of choice is Melbourne’s Code Black Coffee, a very reputable roaster with a sound roasting ideology.
What we love about this place is the comprehensive and balanced experience. The atmosphere is fun and cool, but there’s a clear focus on serving high-quality coffee. You can drink the usual fare, but there’s also ‘tasting flights’ available for those who want to mix it up. We tried espresso, milk and filter for only ten bucks.
The coffee, in isolation, is excellent. The Colombia El Faldon was syrupy like tinned peaches. The Ecuador Maputo espresso was sweet and balanced, although we’d love to see what they can do with that EK43 grinder out back.
The espresso blend is half Ethiopia Gelena Abaya / half Costa Rica El Bananal. The El Bananal is a naturally-processed coffee which brings strong chocolate notes to milk-based drinks but doesn’t have the cleanliness of its wet-processed counterparts. There’s a touch of earthy funkiness which some will love and others not.
But make no mistake: Architects & Heroes is the real deal. It’s a trusty local with something a bit special for die-hard coffee fans, delivered in a cool and accessible way. They have a steady supply of quality roasted beans and the equipment to deliver smooth, delicious brews. A flicker of light for the suburb of Subiaco!
Architects & Heroes is open 6.30-6.30 Mon to Sat. It’s located at the top of Rokeby Rd.