Melbourne, Australia is a city considered at the forefront of all things coffee. It is also widely regarded as the “Babycino Capital of the World”, although I understand the scene in Brooklyn is coming on strong. To see if Melbourne can live up to its title, I headed out for a cafe crawl on a busy Melbourne winter weekend alongside a World Certified Babycino Head Judge to sample the best BCs the city has to offer. The Judge also happens to be my 2 year old son, Archer. He was weaned off breast milk onto a demitasse at 10 months; this kid has been drinking babycinos since he was literally a baby. Below is his take on the top babycino offerings from four of Melbourne’s finest cafes.
If you’re unfamiliar with the babycino artform, first read my exploration on what the drink is, where it came from, and how to make it.
Axil Coffee is Eastern suburbs elite when it comes to coffee, and it’s babycino service lives up to that high standard. Toddlers arrive in throngs, packed 5 to a Range Rover, their tennis Mum’s in tow, all clamoring for something delicious from this sleek modern industrial coffee barn. Truly, this is a bourgeois Babycino, coated with enough chocolate to fulfill entire generations of the upper-tax bracket. An unbalanced 70/30 split on the milk is made up for by bang-on temperature. Served in a disposable paper cup, this BC is all about safety from spills, plus it’s convenient for those too young to think about environmental consequences. A greedy double shot-back equaled two thumbs up.
We head next to the hipster grotto of East Brunswick. If Melbourne ever decides to subjugate hipsters, this will become their slums. The neighborhood is already a breeding ground for inner urbanites and their young foals, who are brought to water at Padre Coffee Roaster’s East Brunswick Project. On a Saturday, these guys smash through Bubba C’s like Mario on bricks, putting out dozens, no hundreds of babycino’s in the course of a day. This one comes to us at peak service, delivered with organic, locally sourced but sparingly applied cocoa, hitting a 80/20 split on the serve but slightly below temp. The Judge downs it swiftly with a twin shot-back and is content. The bonus marshmallow is an old school nod and its gooey centre soaks up the good times.
Auction Rooms is highly regarded among Melbourne’s coffee lovers, but they take a highly controversial approach to babycinos, aiming for 90/10 split. Talking to the barista on shift, this comes from a focus on ‘milk integrity’. They seem to understand that, as a toddler less than two years off the boob, having milk with a moral compass is important. They serve it up nice’n’proper in a 4oz demitasse, which was shortly savoured and deeply enjoyed by our World Certified Baycino Judge. Only one shot-back, however, left the Judge wanting more. Always a sign of good things.
The Premises in Kensington is our local frother of moo juice, and home to a straight up classic babycino. These guys are bang on when it comes to quality coffee, from punchy espresso to crisp filter, yet they still love kids! The indie-film-extra waitresses seem to revel in engaging with even the most lilliputian of wee customers, and will expertly put down a delicately balanced 80/20 B.C. at peak temp with a duo of shot-back. The coverage comes from a pure dark cocoa that isn’t overzealous in its offering. This BC is guaranteed to keep the ankle biters feeling adult. The Judge is known by name here, and has a standing order as soon as he sits down.