Velvet Espresso

Velvet Espresso

The latest in the line of sexy new cafes run by people who know their stuff has hit the CBD. Velvet Espresso on King St is now open for business and pouring a fine brew indeed. I dropped by for lunch with Ben (W.A Barista Academy honcho and pin up boy for the Perth coffee scene) this week to check out the place and see how it all stacked up.

Justin Kenny, owner and barista of Velvet has a good track record in the Perth cafe scene. He owned Fix Espresso back in the days when it was actually making good coffee, and gained a reputation as a man who knows his stuff, quiety going about his work and impressing with the results.

Velvet Espresso is an excellent addition to the King St set. It’s relaxed but stylish, with lush dark wood tones on the tables and a Florence Broadhurst print on the walls. It looks the part, but what is more important… it tastes the part.
The King St area is currently dominated by cafes that earnt their reputations a long time ago (King St Cafe), and who now have fallen away into what I term espresso mediocrity (Cino to Go, Etro). They might look fancy, but the quality in the cup is a long way from ideal. Velvet changes all that.

Coffee from Velvet Espresso

Justin is using a great locally roasted ‘5 Senses’ blend. It’s full bodied and robust, with a bit of edge to it, and a slightly spicey aftertaste. It’s what I’d call a great drinking coffee, and it works well in a short cup as well as in milk. The shots are pulled quite short to get the best elements of the flavour, without the lingering bitterness that so often destroys a shot of espresso. What’s more important though, is that it’s all a work in progress for Justin. He’s still refining his blend to get the exact flavour and style of espresso that he wants. A concept that I’m sure is completely alien to the majority of cafe owners in this city, who are happy with whatever Vittoria or Segafredo or “Insert Generic Italian Sounding Crap Coffee Brand Here” gives them.

They’re also serving some very tasty sandwiches and rolls, and Justin’s mum’s friands (that she bakes fresh each morning) are bordering on levels of tastiness to rival some of *my* mum’s baking (well, close anyway :) ).

If you work in the CBD, go and check out Velvet Espresso. It won’t disappoint.

Velvet Espresso
5/172 St George’s Tce (Enter on King St)


22 thoughts on “Velvet Espresso”

  1. “Ben (W.A Barista Academy honcho and pin up boy for the Perth coffee scene)”

    You will pay Matt….

    Homicidal threats aside, it was a good lunch despite the damned Hay street road works. It’s good to see Justin up and going again – I think he’s a valuable addition to the WA specialty coffee scene.

    It’s actually a pretty exciting time for good coffee in WA at the moment with both Epic and Velvet opening within the past couple of months and a couple of other passionate owner/operators ramping up on the horizon.

    As you said Matt, the Velvet blend is still being refined but I think it’s got some really interesting characteristics in it with certainly a bit of punch – in fact it might be the coffee that co-lurker Steve from West Perth is looking for.

    Once again Matt – love the photography (you deserve that new camera) and the entry: keep it up.


  2. I had the pleasure of having lunch at Velvet Espresso on Friday and was very impressed with every aspect of this operation. My piccolo latte was lush and full-bodied and I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a second.

    The food and the setup look great, can’t wait to get back there.


  3. Go Justin, well done mate. Great to see passionate people in the industry. Best wishes for the next few months.


  4. This is exactly what Perth needs exceptional coffee, funky spunky decor and a brilliant operator! FULLY SICK!
    Best wishes JK!

  5. I am “Sir Steve the co-lurker from West Perth and the end of my Holy Grail journey is in sight. I must simply make my way to the street of Kings and seek out the Velvet Master. There he will hand me the most holiest of vessels, containing the secret of life.

    Steve shakes his head… wow I think 5 espressos in one day is too much :)

  6. Oooh great! I’ve been a fan of Coffee Philosophy which is in The Strand Arcade… i will definately give Velvet Espresso a go sometime during the week :-)

  7. This is great! I’ve got Epic up in West Perth with me and a new location for meetings in the CBD! Also it is on the red cat route – hmmmm I can see another multi-coffee morning coming up.

    Thanks for the heads-up Matt I can start educating some palates down in town now as well as at West Perth.

  8. Hey Steve – only 5?! Sir Steve, if you want to find the Holy Grail of the espresso, you must be ready to face more overwhelming odds! We must pump you full of espresso until your eyes are doing a funny twitching thing….or something.

    Does this mean you’ve been down to see the Velvet master? He’s just finished tweaking his blend and the double flat white I had this morning was probably one of the best I’ve had this year.

    Hey Jen, I’ll have to check out Coffee Philosphy – thanks for the tip.


  9. Thanks for the replies peoples.

    Although i should note that Jen is in Sydney… and unfortunately since there is a King St in every city in the world, she got slightly confused… So you might be looking for Coffee Philosophy for a while Benny.

    Theatrics aside Steve, you should check out Velvet… it might be what you’re looking for. Or it might not be… I’m actually thinking Fiori’s blend might be more your style…

    Now all I need is for a decent cafe to actually open up ‘near’ me… and i’ll be happy, and won’t have to mooch off Ben all the time :)

  10. Matt

    Don’t worry, I WILL be venturing down into inner city Perth to try it just as soon as my workload allows it. I was a great fan of Fix way back and am looking forward to reacquainting myself with them.

    By the way where is Fiori? Excuse my ignorance.

  11. Fiori are a roaster in West Perth – they supply to Pranzo on Colin street and a growing number of cafes in the city. It is a pretty good espresso blend, but the 5-senses blends being done lately are nothing short of outstanding in my opinion.

  12. Fiori also roast for Tiger Tiger on Murray Mews (little alley way off Murray St) in the city, and for Boucla in Subiaco. Fiori is unlike ‘5 Senses’ though in so much as there is just one blend of ‘Fiori’ coffee, whereas ‘5 Senses’ make different blends for many different cafes. So it really does depend on which ‘5 Senses’ blend you’re talking about… they are excellent roasters however, and most of the blends I’ve tried (Core, Epic, Lemon, Rocketfuel, AM, 24/7) are done very well.

  13. We agree – went there today and loved it. Along with Epic, there’s great stuff happening here too. Had fun chatting with Justin and was great being shown the Synesso.

    We had a ristretto each and shared a flat white (I’m pregnant, so the caffeine intake has to be lower!), while our almost two-year-old had a babycino (and loved it – the least mess she’s left in a while too). Loved it all! Loved the ‘bass’ in the ristretto and the flat white had a nice punch too. The sweet potato and spinach tart and the zucchini muffin went down well.

  14. Yeh Justin is a top bloke and great to chat to as well… loving the work he’s doing at Velvet and I’m sure the coffee loving crowd he’s attracted at all of his previous cafes will find him in numbers soon.

  15. Rheannan,

    I’m not sure what kind of gift vouchers you’re after exactly… but if it’s for Velvet Espresso, you’d best go and ask in the store.

    If of course, you’d like to pay me to keep writing these witty and inciteful blog posts… I’d more than happily accept it :)

  16. Thanks for the entry! I was trying to find some info about the velvet cafe and your entry helped heaps (now I know it’s good and that it’s actually called velvet espresso)

  17. OH MY GOD! the best coffee in perth without a doubt, other coffee shops need to go and take a note out of Justins book, the review is right, other coffee shops dont care what they produce, they hae nopride in what they are selling!!the staff at velvet are what adds that extra bit to the coffee. I refuse to get coffee anywhere else, i just wont pay for something that tastes like shit. A big credit to Justin and his team!!!!!thanks for the best coffee every morning before work!

  18. Absolutely LOVED your coffee when we were over for the Ironman event in Busselton . It was good luck for our son so we make sure we came back and had another just before the plane took off to Adelaide .. it was a close go but worth every bit of the rush !!!
    Could I be cheeky and ask for the recipe of that lovely slice we had ? It was sort of brown looking and I think had apricots and nuts in it , was on the counter ! Yum!!

Leave a Reply