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Theres a connection for everything at Foxy Brown. Named after the 70s soft-porn action movie featuring Pam Grier, this suburban café features décor from the era, a passionate coffee focus and bears the image of its namesake on its bags of roasted beans.
Owner Patrick Sloane, ex-Castros Kiosk at Melbourne Uni, and a former sommelier and restaurant manager, took over the former milk bar and general store largely because it was away from Northcotes commercial area. It had always been a neighborhood space and he wanted to retain its identity.
Sloanes concern for the environment shows in the recycled materials used to spruce up and furnish the space and the sustainable and organic produce used in the kitchen. Dietary concerns are well-catered for, and even the handwash in the bathrooms is environmentally friendly.
Sloane went on a three-month waiting list and sat a two-hour interview to be allowed to use his chosen brand of organic milk. Naturally, theres a strong bias towards Fairtrade and ethical coffee, too.
Foxy Brown runs two seasonal espresso blends and up to eight single-origin beans through its retro-look, locally designed Synchro espresso machine daily.
Patrick Sloane is one of those coffee obsessives who can talk espresso extraction and temperature or coffee-bean origin and quality for hours. Hes a fascinating character and will effortlessly mesmerise any like-minded coffee geek. Or not. Hes just as happy if his customers appreciate his well-extracted, painstakingly prepared espressos.
The trio of sample coffees served at Foxy Brown is an idea from his days as a sommelier and aims to educate consumers.
The oversized heat exchangers and flow-restricters on Sloanes custom-made espresso machine allow him to pour temperature-controlled slow-extracted shots of espresso. Hell happily explain why thats better, if you care to ask.
Foxy Brown, 31a South Crescent, Northcote
Phone 9481 4454
Barista Patrick Sloane
Coffee Provost Coffee Works
Baristas choice Espresso
Open Daily 8am-5pm
Between Westgarth and Dennis stations, Foxy Brown is designed for people watching. And socialising. And dining. And coffee appreciation. Casual table settings and deep armchairs are tucked under the wide verandah, while inside, the retro 70s fitout features orange walls and mission-brown trimmings offset by laminated tables and vinyl kitchen chairs. The coffee, roasted by Joshua Bailey, of Provost Coffee Works, is offered as a flight of three an espresso, a piccolo latte and a ristretto made from either single-origin or house-blended beans. The piccolo, made with the all-day breakfast blend of a PNG Purosa and a bean from the Cafe Lavardo estate in Honduras, through organic milk, was the standout. Presented in a tiny patterned cup, it was a smooth, choc-orange hit with a clean, creamy finish.