Obscura [Melbourne]

obscura_webreadyThere’s a new gun in town and the word going around is that only the Laotian will do! If you haven’t been to Kensington recently then you should probably do so, as a plethora of cafes beckon and none more so than the aptly named, Obscura, located somewhat obscurely at 1 Bellair Street, Kensington, just outside the train station. However, as I write, plans are afoot to relocate the café across the tracks sometime in April, so get in quick if you want to experience the best of what’s on offer at the current location.

The café itself is only seven months old and already they’re looking to relocate to larger premises, which will also hopefully be a bit more resilient to Melbourne’s notorious weather. After cycling furiously around Kensington for 40 minutes trying to find the cafe on my mobile gps, I eventually found Obscura nestled in the comfortable confines of the train station.

Still, the wait was worthwhile because what I discovered was a speciality coffee shop that imports its own coffee from Laos, roasted to order, and flown direct to Melbourne via Thai Airways. Now I’m not sure how many readers have been to Laos, but I have and I can tell you that the coffee there is fantastic, and is poured dark and strong over ice, but be sure to tell the locals to leave the condensed milk out of the mix!

I enjoyed a piccolo latte at Obscura made from the Bruno blend, which Tom describes as medium to full-bodied and as his ‘Melbourne-Italian style espresso blend.’ My piccolo was well made and flavoursome with caramel and biscuit notes predominating, combined with a hint of exotic Asian spice.

It’s all about the coffee at Obscura, with 7 blends to choose from, most of which are rotated on the coffee machine. According to the JCFC website the coffee is, ‘cultivated from antique Arabica rootstock planted by French colonists in the 1920′s,’ and the coffee is shade grown in jungle forests of the Bolven Plateau in Southern Lao. You can also purchase whole beans for home use, and all of the coffees are certified FairTrade, from the Jhai Coffee Farmers Coop of Lao.

For the record, the Laotians refer to their homeland as Lao (and not Laos), apparently it was those pesky French colonists who decided to call the country Laos, as is their habit of putting a redundant ‘s’ on the end of everything. In the words of the local Lao people; ‘Khob chai lai lai! (which means thank you very much)’. [PS]

1 Bellair Street,
Kensington VIC 3031

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