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Bench Espresso

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Rejoice East side CBD workers, good coffee has arrived to your humble lunch bar existences. No longer do you need to “make your own” or frequent an awful chain for your morning coffee fix. Bench Espresso is the newest addition to the cafe scene on the East side of Hay St, and they’re doing a fantastic job.

Vanessa Moore is the owner and chief evangelist at Bench, who takes it name from the law courts across the road, and a desire to be the benchmark for coffee in Perth. Vanessa comes from excellent coffee pedigree, she started out her coffee journey at the infamous Core Espresso in the city (arguably the starting point for specialty coffee in Perth), and then moved to Epic Espresso in West Perth, where she helped manage the store and ran the barista school. After Epic changed hands Vanessa headed off to Melbourne and did stints at Market Lane and Three Bags Full before coming back to Perth to start the task of opening a place of her very own.

The style of the cafe is very simple. Slotted into a narrow glass box at the front of an apartment block, with large glass walls and a high ceiling. The layout is minimal with a kind of modern Nordic feel. It’s surprisingly warm for a place where the predominant colour comes from the brush stone benches, but that’s because light just pours into the cafe from all around.

The coffee is great as you would expect from someone of Vanessa’s skill and determination. She’s running 3 different Mazzer Robur grinders each with different blends in them, one for milk, one for espresso, and a single origin. I’m assuming the blends will change regularly as they refine the flavours, and as new and interesting beans arrive at 5 Senses (the roaster). The shots are pulled as short doubles for the most part, rich in flavour and texture. Coffee is such a variable and subjective thing that I’m loath to give tasting notes for specific drinks, but suffice to say the blends are designed to give the customer the best possible experience in each cup. I’d strongly suggest trying the milk blend with a cappucino and the espresso blend as an espresso or long black. There is quite a bit of difference to the body and acidity of different coffees that will lend themselves to certain drinks better than others.

They also have filter coffee on offer via the Clever Coffee Dripper, basically a device with a paper filter inside it that your use for pour over coffee, a method of preparation that retains much more origin characteristics of the beans than espresso does.

One of the other things that has survived the passage of time from previous incarnations in other cafes is the hot chocolate made using Belgian couverture chocolate incorporated in molten form from a bain marie. It’s a decadent way for chocoholics to get their fix.

Whilst it’s still early days for Bench, they are already having a great impact in the area, and along with the guys at Cafe 54, they’re finally giving workers on the east some good alternatives for CDB coffee without compromises. I’m looking forward to seeing where Vanessa’s coffee journey goes from here.

Bench Espresso
471 hay street, Perth
08 9221 1131
Mon – Fri (7am – 3pm)

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14 Responses to “Bench Espresso” (1,132 views)

  1. Matt,

    Beautiful photo – cinematic in fact.

    September 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm Reply
  2. Lovely, there are three aestetic things in there that I would like to take to my own café badly, and that is the logo, the green cups and that Handsome Barista ;)

    Good luck with everything Vanessa, looking spectacular! And nice job, Matt!

    September 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm Reply
  3. Grendel


    Have to echo Edwards comments on the photos – stunning, really amazing. Also I haven’t been to Bench yet so that kind of made me ache with want to try the coffee.

    September 13, 2011 at 8:38 am Reply
  4. Cheers Grendel, I figure a few nice pictures are a good way to get back on the blogging horse :)

    I’d say you need to schedule a few meetings down that way soon…

    September 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm Reply
  5. Excellent pics. I enjoy seeing espresso specialty bars and simple honest young people that are enthusiastic about the brew. Cheers!

    September 16, 2011 at 3:36 am Reply
    • Thanks Alex, great photos on your site too. These kind of places run by people who care are definitely the kinds of cafes I prefer to frequent.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm Reply
  6. Haha, I can’t help but notice that nowadays all cafes have wither a brown or red feature wall. Is there a reason why?! Seriously though, great pictures :)

    September 27, 2011 at 11:53 pm Reply
  7. Matt, your images are fantastic. They really capture the moment. It’s the little things :) c.a.

    September 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm Reply
  8. Jennifer Tiangco

    The place look really fab! My friends told me to visit the place and I think after reading this would probably visit there during the weekend.

    October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm Reply
  9. Lo

    WOW.. Your photos are excellent. They really do Bench more than justice.

    I should read your blog more often.

    November 10, 2011 at 11:48 am Reply
  10. Amy

    I love that photo of the cappuchino, reminds me of the cappuchinos that were made for me when i was in italy. Beautiful Cafe.

    November 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm Reply

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