ST. ALi // Specialty Coffee

Bean there done that! A review by food critic Matt Preston

Posted in ST ALi. // Latest news by mattjohn on March 4, 2009

We recently received a review in a local rag by food critic Matt Preston that we weren’t too impressed with. To be blatantly honest we had to re-read it a few times to get the gist of it. Hey if you don’t like our coffee then that’s cool and if you think it could be more of this or less of that, send in a comment on this blog. We’re all pretty open & would love feedback but we feel that if you’re going to review our coffee we would like to know that it was being critiqued by someone who has a reasonable knowledge of coffee.

Here is an extract from the review…

“My perfect coffee has thick dense crema on the top thats robust enough to support a spill of sugar, a velvty texture to the hot (but not too hot) milk and a smooth rich complex flavour of coffee that lingers with the barest hint of tang rather than bitterness…

The coffee comes quickly. Its far better than anything we’ve had in the preceding weeks, yet its not quite the stuff of dreams. My strong latte lacks the required caffeine oomph, and both this coffee and a regular latte are a little texturally lacking – they are more silky than satiny. They are also served cooler than we both prefer”

You want your latte hot, cool! You want to put a sugar in, sweet as! But how can you truly review a coffee if all your tasting is the sweet sweet taste of sugar baby. An analogy to compare the sugar on crema(what Matt calls froth) would be that of seasoning a juicy Wagyu Rib Eye with Kecthup.

Okay so we all take pride in what we’re doing here. We would like to think that each month that passes we’ve all gained a little more knowledge on how better to roast and make coffee.

In a nutshell we are all commitment to moving in the right direction – which is to keep the quality high and consistent.

So thanks for article Matt, if you would like to post a reply please feel free to do so, we would love to hear from you.

Below is commentary from Steve Agi(Melbourne Coffee Review) in relation to the article which echoed our own words….

“In your first paragraph where you describe the ‘thick dense crema on the top that’s robust enough to support a spill of sugar.’ I blushed when I realised you are referring to a cafe latte.

Crema is the dense caramelly coating on an espresso(short black), it is there where we can conduct the ‘sugar test’.

You are referring to froth or foam, which is milk that has been textured. This is not crema Matt, sorry to be a party pooper but if you’re going to criticise what is in my opinion one of the best coffees anywhere in the country, you had better get your terminology right, at least………to talk about the milk being robust enough to support a spill of sugar is not really relevant to anything”


10 Responses

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  1. Tim Varney said, on March 4, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Thank you Steve for correcting the poor old Mr Preston, on his terrible floating sugar latte review.

    I’m so tired of hearing about people doing the stupid ‘sugar on crema’ test!! What the hell has it got to do with taste?!? Nothing, it’s so idiotic.

    Melbournians seem to pride themselves on knowing exactly how their latte should be, and having no regard for the espresso itself. Where are the beans from? Is it a blend or a single estate? Was the extraction any good? Is the coffee fresh? And not weather the milk is ‘silky or satiny’. Geez…

    Justin/Toshi/Salvatore… coffee is on it’s way from Norway…

  2. Owen Hodda said, on March 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Would normally describe critics as “like a eunuch in a harem; know what to do but can’t do it”. Seems this guy doesn’t even know what to do, let alone how.
    Love your coffee guys, keep up the good work.

  3. Loz said, on March 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Who really cares what critics think?? The pure and simple fact is you make the BEST coffee in Melbourne! You can tell you all love what you do and that always shows in the coffee, the food & the vibe of the place.
    Love it and I’lll keep on coming back again & again. Yummo

  4. Robbo said, on March 6, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Like the saying goes.
    If you can’t do, teach.
    If you can’t teach, critique.

  5. Massimo said, on March 7, 2009 at 3:23 am

    Mr Preston,
    I couldnt even understand your article, thought you were talking about an espresso.
    Sugar test?!?!?!? What the?!?!?
    A reviewer, adding sugar?!?!?
    That hurt my brain

  6. Tony said, on March 7, 2009 at 9:11 am

    You can’t always expect rave reviews.

    It annoys me when people like this review coffee, but as a cafe you have to consider people like this – whether you will do whatever you can to make them happy (e.g. make the coffee scalding hot) or go on doing the right thing and serving quality coffee.

  7. Steve Agi said, on March 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Just to clarify, I have no affiliation with the crew at St Ali, and also have alot of respect for Matt, but just felt it was an overly critical review and not quite right, given I go there 4-5 times a week, with many clients and HAVE NEVER experienced anything like Matt’s experience.
    I invite Matt to contact me so we can go down together and sample, review and learn all about what it is that sets St Ali apart and why these guys have got it ALL right!!
    I can be reached @:
    Keep on Caffeining on……………………………The CaFFiend!!!!!!!!!

  8. luca said, on March 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

    So where was this review published?

    … and who made him the coffee? ;P

  9. kyliestali said, on March 9, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    It was in the Emerald Hill Weekly and Toshi & Kris made him the coffee

  10. Kendall said, on March 15, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Here here Steve! We love St Ali coffee so much we have three bags shipped up to us in Brisbane every month!

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