This is my fourth year writing this little review and I still love discovering the connections between the roaster and the cafe where I choose to drink their coffee. Owners often make a decision on what to serve based on personal preference and because it suits the demographic in the area. This time, with Equilibrio Espresso, I discovered an even stronger relationship: one built on shared values, passion and understanding.
Our Little Secret (OLS) in Camberwell was started by David Winiata, Jarrard Botting and Katrina Moreland, all from a hospitality background, working at venues like Il Bacaro, Sarti and Philippa’s Bakery. Their combined experience in food and beverage service led them to open this beautiful space together at the end of 2013. When it came to the coffee, David, who comes from a cocktail bartending background believed that an understanding of the classics creates a solid foundation to innovate in the present. He chose Equilibrio because it is a progressive specialty coffee business born out of Coffee MIO, a driving force behind Melbourne’s now institutional coffee culture, providing our city with classic Italian espresso since 1965.
He also went with Equilibrio because roaster and grandson of the co-founder, Steve Berra, is his brother-in-law. Together with Sabrina Maier and her father Edmund, who has been with Coffee MIO since the mid 1990s, they are drawing on years of experience and proving that tradition doesn’t prevent you from evolving and crafting a superior product.
The fact that there is a family connection is obviously important and it’s wonderful that David in particular has chosen to support his wife’s family business. However, the reason why the OLS team uses Equilibrio’s The Honest Few blend is because their patrons love its syrupy, bold, complex and full-bodied nature, with a crisp citrus mouthfeel upfront to challenge the tastebuds just a touch. This has become the new norm in a lot of espresso house blends because many roasters have realised that Melburnians still love the profile of a classic medium roast Italian espresso, but want that little twist that makes you stand up and pay attention. The Honest Few uses Colombia Supremo, Indonesia Gayo Mountain, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural and India Kaapi Royale and is mainly Arabica, but uses a small amount of speciality Robusta for its creamy rich malt chocolate finish and a bit of punch.
According to Steve, Equilibrio doesn’t just source coffee classified as ‘specialty’, basing their choice not solely on its score, rather procuring beans that encapsulate certain flavours and characteristics found when cupping at origin or back in their cupping room. Taste is always the deciding factor in order to produce a good honest cup of coffee and that’s where the name of this four bean blend comes from.