The League of Honest Coffee

AFTER the Brunswick East Project and South Melbourne Market’s Padre cafes, there’s much to like about Marinus Jansen’s new city outpost, The League of Honest Coffee. Marcella Purnama finds out on a cold blustery winter day.

New kid on the city block. The League of Honest Coffee at Exploration Lane, Melbourne. Photo: Shaun Lee

New kid on the city block. The League of Honest Coffee at Exploration Lane, Melbourne. Photo: Shaun Lee

This coffee better be good, I thought to myself as I set out on my assignment in search of The League of Honest Coffee.

The weatherman was lying when he said it was nine degrees in the city. It felt more like a frosty zero as the rain poured down hard and I wrestled against the gusty wind to keep my umbrella in one piece.

Drenched by the time I stepped through the front door, I was already cheered by what I saw: plenty of space, a polished concrete floor, timber benchtops, multi-coloured chairs, a coffee cherry tree painting that wound its way up the ceiling, lamps the shape of an espresso portafilter, and that striking bright green espresso machine and grinder.

Centrepiece. Can you spot the portafilter shaped lamp? Photo: Shaun Lee

Centrepiece. Can you spot the portafilter shaped lamp? Photo: Shaun Lee

A quarter of the cafe is reserved for retail. You can browse and buy coffee beans, coffee cups, coffee grinders, and colourful tampers – but back to my original mission, I found myself a seat and ordered my share of the devil’s brew.

My latte arrived adorned with a beautiful rosetta drawn with smooth, silky milk. I took a first sip and put down my pen. With the latte cupped between my two hands, I took another sip, and another sip, and another sip. It was a cup full of bliss, perfectly balanced with big round flavours and the right amount of bitterness and acidity.

That said, be prepared to find your espresso coffees tasting slightly different the next time you visit. I’ve since found out the cafe’s three blends are rotated every few days to introduce folk to new coffees and flavours.

Good honest coffee. Photo: Shaun Lee

Good honest coffee. Photo: Shaun Lee

It wasn’t until I reached the bottom of my cup that I noticed an interesting aside – the colour of the saucer underneath. Mine was grey, and I realised other people’s saucers also came in shades of yellow and green.

Do you remember what colour saucers your coffee cups were served on?

I cast my mind back to all the other cafes I’ve visited in times past, and realised they all came in different colours: blue saucers at Proud Mary, brown saucers at Seven Seeds, black ones at Three Bags Full and red saucers at Auction Rooms.

And it was then I saw a good friend come through the door. Time for another honest latte.

Photo: Shaun Lee

For those with a sweet tooth. Photo: Shaun Lee


The League of Honest Coffee
8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne
Open Monday to Friday, 7am to 4pm, Saturday 8am to 2pm
Phone: 03 9654 0169

There are 2 comments

  1. Julian

    Love the interior of this place. It seems to be a growing trend for newer cafes to have wide open spaces. Not that I’m complaining.

    Compared to Campos, LoHC’s affogato was rather sloppy, ratio and presentation wise. By the time I was done with the ice-cream, I was left with 1/4 cup of espresso. I’ll definitely head back there to try their coffee but probably not their affogato.

  2. Joyce

    OOH so that was what it was. I thought the portafilter lamp was a satellite model! i go to the League fairly often since it’s near my place. I still prefer to get my beans from Seven Seeds though but as far as ambience goes, this place is amazing and the baristas there were really nice though.

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