After the first visit that ended up below my expectation, and a couple of more attempts with no success, I finally came back for the third time to OKO Cafe Melbourne. This time around, I could very happily say that the place did live up to its owner’s reputation.
I heard about Oko Cafe’s opening a couple of months ago and I came to visit during their trial period. At the time, the menu wasn’t up yet, so I couldn’t tell which beans were being roasted. And, maybe it was just me, but there was something snobby about the whole setup. To top it off, the coffee was weak.
Despite this, I felt like I should come back again and see if things have changed, mostly because my fellow barista friends are saying great things about it. So I came earlier this month with my friend Meg, and we met the owner himself, Danny Nguyễn Đăng Anh whom she had befriended on her previous visit.
When it comes to roasting coffee, you can say that Danny is a household name. I got the chance to chat with the man, and although there’s nothing about this place that you can find online, Danny’s presence made up for it. I remember we had a flowing conversation over our short stay in the shop, it was surely great getting to know him through his stories.
When I asked Danny what prompted him to open his own cafe, he gave an unexpected take on today’s coffee industry.
“This cafe for me is a messenger, a tool to make this world a better place. I don’t just do coffee, I want to express and share my ideas about coffee and life. There are lot of things in coffee industry that I don’t necessarily agree with, so through Oko Cafe, I would love to share my ideas and practices, and provide a free space for people to share their opinions,” he said.Danny Nguyễn Đăng Anh
OKO Cafe Melbourne is situated in Melbourne CBD. The best way to reach it is to take a tram on Elizabeth St, stop at Melbourne Central, and walk to A’Beckett St. From there, Oko Cafe will be on your left. The signage is pretty small, but their wall is see-through glass so it’s not hard to find.
The space looks like it’s meant to make visitors immerse in the art of making coffee, from roasting, and brewing, all the way to talking about the coffee you’re about to taste. The fit is like a tiny cube, with a limited space that can only fit 7-8 people. There are a couple of wood benches outside too for people to wait or to enjoy the coffee outside.
Their menu is small. It’s either white or black coffee, batch brews, tea options of matcha or hojicha, non-coffee in your standard hot choco cup, and an exclusive filter coffee beans of Danny’s pick at the roastery. I didn’t hesitate that morning and picked the Filter coffee of the day, I knew it was going to be expensive but at that point, I just had to have it.
My pick was this amazing Sidra coffee roasted by Terroir Laboratory. The process is Hybrid washed, and the tasting notes are: Pink lemonade, red apple, red currant, white grapes, sweet mint, and honey. After grinding the beans, Izzy, the barista, gave the coffee ground for me to smell, and it was very fruity and florally, just how I liked it.
Instead of doing a manual pour-over filter, they chose to use a machine called iDrip to make this cup of filter coffee. The machine is connected to the iPad, where you can control every aspect of the pour to get the best out of the coffee.
I found that this is something that Oko Cafe also boasted on their page. The way they made the experience of having a perfect cuppa to be front and center can only happen if they can automate the pour-over process.
“The machine has a fully configurable parameter such as flow rates, pouring patterns, volumetric and pulses. We can have an individual recipe made specifically for each filter coffee and tell you a story while your pour-over coffee is being made.”OKO CAFE INSTAGRAM POST
I could strongly taste the red apple in the cup, and the sweet honey mouthfeel finish. For a $15 price tag, it was a reasonably enjoyable cup of coffee. He did come a few more times to where we were sitting and served us another Geisha filter to taste, a single origin latte, and another cup of batch brew to share between me & Meg. I was really amazed at how passionate he is with his craft and his willingness to share, which was honestly very admirable.
All in all, the experience this time was completely different from my first. Danny has one of the warmest personalities, his coffee knowledge is exceptional and he didn’t shy away from sharing the best coffees he could find. I personally enjoyed listening to his stories behind every cup. Izzy was also one of a kind, he has such a bubbly personality and will entertain you with his friendly banter.
I would recommend OKO Cafe if you enjoy a premium filter coffee and if you’re up for a great coffee chat. Thank you so much for reading today’s blog post, let me know what you think about Oko Cafe in the comment below, and if you have any suggestions on where I should visit next!
- OKO Cafe
- Operation Hours :
- Monday – Friday : 07:30 AM – 05:00 PM
- Saturday – Sunday : 08:00 AM – 05:00 PM
- Type : Coffee Shop
- Price : $$
- Coffee : Yes
- Alcohol : No
- Dessert : Yes (Pastry)
- Indoor Capacity : +-8
- Outdoor Capacity : +-4
- RSVP : Walk-in Only
- Waiting Time : 5-10 minutes
- Toilet : No
- Wifi : Not sure