Sunday, 23 June 2013

D'Good Cafe, Holland Village

With natural daylight spilling through the windows, and the hum of conversation in the air, the traffic and bustle of Holland Village seemed a long way away. Located along a cluster of cafe's and restaurants on Holland Avenue, D'Good cafe is the only coffee roastery / third wave cafe in the area at present.

As always, I order drinks that tell me a lot about a cafe, and the quality of coffee served. The espresso shot contained a small volume of potent coffee, partially covered with a medium brown crema. There were some citrus notes, but they were secondary to the intense bitterness which followed in the aftertaste, and which lingered long after the shot had been finished. The bitterness is dominant in this shot, with some harsh elements present also. This may not be an issue for pour over coffees, or americanos, where the end product is diluted with hot water, however an espresso shot is more concentrated, which can exacerbate harsh notes. There are a number of different types of coffee beans available however, and D'Good offers customers the option of choosing their own preferred type. It may be advisable to highlight this more prominently at the ordering counter though - it is certainly a selling point that not all cafe's in the area offer. 

Cappuccino - there are some large bubbles present in the foam, but not in sufficient quantities to affect the texture. The latte art is nicely executed also. The mouthfeel is dominated by the texture and taste of warm milk, rather than the hybrid of milk and microfoam that can work in conjunction to form a smooth hybrid of taste and texture. The flavour of the underlying espresso shot is somewhat diluted by the milk, but the bitter aftertaste is still discernible. This may be entirely subjective, but the intense citrusy bitterness described above may work better with pour over coffee, rather than with milk based drinks. However, as there are a number of bean varieties available, and the ability to customise drinks, this can quite easily be fixed, and may not even be an issue from week to week.

Staff are friendly and accomodating to requests, noticing when customers are looking for sugar or water, and stepping in to help. Also, thought and effort has clearly gone into the decor and layout, with an intelligent use of space allowing for lots of seating space, as well as a very pleasant al fresco area on the upper level. Busy periods can cause delays however (just as they would in any cafe), with a delay in used cups and plates being cleared, and tables being cleaned. Staff seem clustered in the kitchen and ordering counter area instead, but it should be noted that they did collect plates from the upper level before the end of my visit. Increasing the frequency of staff checks on the upper level may help.

The ordering counter can become crowded, and as a result customers collect drinks after they have been prepared. This may be to keep the ordering counter clear, but one minor issue is that drinks can be slightly less warm when the are collected. This is a minor issue though, keeping the ordering counter and roasting space clear is a good reason for doing so. 

At $14.50 for a single espresso and 2 cappuccinos, the prices are about right. There is also a selection of cakes and baked items available, as well as syphon and pour over coffee.

Overall, this is not a bad cafe by any means, with some admirable traits - a good selection of beans and brewing methods, and a micro roastery - everything I look for in a quality cafe, and I genuinely want D'Good to succeed. With some minor changes to the beans used for different drinks, and to the frequency of checks on the upper levels, this could be a very good cafe in a great location. 

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