For a sample of what a complete commitment to the coffee bean tastes like, plus an easy-going atmosphere and plenty of room to spread out with the papers, head to Dose Espresso in Willoughby and hang around for a second cup. Aside from the taste, consistency is the other huge drawcard for us when we’re talking about coffee. If you pick the right place, half the pleasure of your morning brew will come from the knowledge that when you turn up every day, even if you’re about to walk into an office-shaped day of hell, at least your coffee is going to be great. At Dose you’ll find it’s spot-on, in both taste and reliability.
It’s an open, breezy place off High Street with stools and umbrellas out front, opposite newcomer Gochiso Japanese and next door to The Italian. Coffee nerds should head inside and take a look at the range of aluminium Italian-style moka espresso pots, imported exotic beans from various worldwide regions and Atomic stovetop machines that are available to buy. A tall, spiralling cold-drip brewing apparatus sits on a front table, dripping slowly like something you’d find in an ER, and if you like your coffee untarnished by milk or sugar, ask for a glass of it over ice. It’s faintly sweet without the acidity of regular espresso.
A smaller cold-drip model is propped up against a counter full of organic pastries (our pick are the cinnamon scrolls), brownies and buckwheat muffins from boutique bakers at Hippie Lane, and there’s a menu full of wholesome options, too. Smashed avocado on grain toast with a slice of grilled salty haloumi and a spoon of basil pesto is a vegetarian combo of legends, and we don’t know a kid in the world that would pass up whole-wheat toasted crumpets with a swipe of Nutella. The bacon-and-egg roll is more sandwich than roll, but the zingy tomato relish can come back anytime it pleases.
The man behind Dose is Sam Gabrielan, a celebrated barista, coffee judge and former chairperson of the Australian Barista Guild, who also owns the boutique roasting company Di Gabriel. The Di Gabriel house blend at Dose is roasted mostly in the company’s HQ in Frenchs Forrest, and also in the beautiful shiny roaster smack-bang in the middle of the café. How’s that for hands-on?