Monday, 9 July 2012

Sonoma – Bondi Beach

Scores:
Coffee: 13/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 24/40
Bean: Single Origin Roasters

Bondi is a funny spot, a true melting pot of Sydney’s people and culture. It should come as no surprise that with this blend you do get some of the truly best with some truly worst. Bondi to this nerd can be unbearably cool.

My morning started in a bit of a state of desperation, tired, cold and in need of a coffee. Here I was walking along Campbell Parade and I could just see (and smell) crap coffee emanating from the multitude of tourist cafes along the beach. I quickly gave up on the well known street and headed one street back and to my suprise came across an Inner West favourite, Sonoma. Sonoma the award-winning bakery has always been the Inner West’s answer to Burke Street or is it the other way around? Regardless, seeing it here just shows the melting pot that is this suburb is.

Found near the corner of Curlewis and Gould Street, behind the Bondi Hotel. Sonoma is a modern place, totally capturing that Inner West vibe. Chalk boards, steal and glass make up the look and feel, with bread heroing the whole shop. Noticing that most people where jumping on the flat white thing, I did the same, was given a number for my coffee and took a seat under a heater outside (unfortunate thing about Sonoma is the lack of morning sun).

My order was not happening at a speed so instead of putting my head into my iPad, I played the role of a tourist (or weirdo) and stated people watching. It’s such a different crowd here then you would find in suburbs I am use to. People are far more confident here, louder and seemingly more at peace with the world (many peeps were rocking no shoes). I found convos washing over me ranging from the surf (not at Bondi…), to what their husbands were up to, to what designer they were wearing, or how big last night was and so on.

As an old guy on skateboard with French bulldogs in tow sailed past me my coffee finally made an arrival on the scene and I should say it looked pretty good. There was a nice bit of latte art to it with an unstructured heart on top, even better than the art, which was not to bad at all, was the laying of the drink, which they totally nailed for a flat white.

Smell wise, the coffee had a rich, fruity and sweet roasted aroma, it worked well, particularly with the smell of bread occasionally wafting over me.

Tasting wise there was a very fruity and spicey flavour (cherry?) to the drink and it came across with a medium to heavy(ish) body to it. The fruitiness of the drink did a good job cutting through the acidity and the milk. You could also taste little hints of what could be a caramel or toffee flavour that did mix well with the milk.

Letting it cool it took on the full cherry-come-toffee sort of flavour. It tasted great, although sadly finished with a bit of a chalky sweet aftertaste, which was really enviable coming from strong the toffee flavours, some people love it, some don’t. I fit into the later. I reckon Single Origin was trying to do a little too much here.

Overall, if you can win the battle for a table under a heater and don’t mind mixing with some of the best dressed people close to a beach before 10am, it’s hard not to think of Sonoma as an easy beach adjacent coffee option. Whilst not my favourite roast by Single Origin I reckon some people would love these flavours. Oh did I mention they do amazing bread?

Scores:
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 6/10
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Coffee total: 13/20
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2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): Alexandria hangout by the beach
Cool?: 6/10
Service: 5/10
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Cafe: 11/20
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Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 24/40


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