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Morning Magpie Cafe

by Insiders Dunedin

Located on Lower Stuart Street just down from the ODT Building and next to Castle MacAdam Wine is Morning Magpie. The cafe only opened last week, and already tables are full. A constant stream of locals of all walks of life passes through the doors. Morning Magpie is a cool cafe that  serves both espresso and a range of ‘specialty coffee’ beans. Morning Magpie offers a new experience of drinking coffee in Dunedin. The experience of drinking coffee is the cafe’s primary focus. They provide their customers more information about what they’re drinking and serve it up in a style that is not about dark deep burnt coffee instead of this they offer fruity, delicate and floral flavours.

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After talking with owner Troy, it is clear that Morning Magpie aspires to offer something quite different to other Dunedin cafes. Troy has created a casual and welcoming feel in the space. Filter coffee is the new attraction at Morning Magpie this style of serving coffee is already widespread in Melbourne, Sydney, Europe, the United States and other main centres in New Zealand, however, is yet to take off in Dunedin (this might be about to change). Troy is keen to keep things as local as possible. The cafe offers a range of scones, rolls, savouries made in-house and offers a number of sweet treats from the Tart Tin, while the bread used is collected from Black Rabbit Bakery on George Street while Troy is on his morning walk to work. 

Troy began running his own cafe originally by subletting another space a few doors down which he quickly outgrew. When the opportunity arose to take the space Morning Magpie is now located in Troy quickly jumped at it. After countless hours of work by himself and his very supportive group of friends Troy has been able to realise his dreams and express in a fully designed space his passion for coffee. Troy has kept his regulars who have all been supportive of his move to this larger space. 

The cafe is providing a whole new way for customers to drink coffee. Allowing them to focus on and enjoy the complexities of the bean itself, rather than the Italian espresso style of serving that would typically be accompanied by milk and sugar. The pour-over style of brewing is a simple method of serving coffee that strives to do justice to the high quality beans. We’re encouraged to share this style of coffee with friends, Morning Magpie enables us to do this by serving their coffee in a Chemex that hold up to 6 cups of coffee. The same Chemex that is used in the cafe can be bought to recreate the experience at home or in the office.  

Troy explains to me how the Third Wave of Coffee is upon us, it is all over America, Melbourne, Sydney. It is about focusing attention to the growing of the coffee. The Second wave is what he describes as ‘commodity coffee,’ it is about grouping together coffee and selling it. The Third wave is about specific lots and sections of coffee with specific things done to it to give particular flavours. This result is a more expensive coffee, however it is much more delicate and intricate in comparison to espresso coffee.

The Third Wave of Coffee or Specialty Coffee treats coffee similarly to the process and experience of wine growing, bottling and tasting. Currently, a Columbian, Los Arboles and Honduras Black Honey are available, I’m told these coffees are worlds apart. The Los Arboles is 100% caturra variety arabica and 100% shade grown, that has been fermented for 18 hours before being washed. For example Sumatran coffee might include beans from hobbiest farmers to much larger operations. This means you end up with a much more general flavour, what Morning Magpie offers is a very specific flavour, from a very specific micro lot. The resulting flavour is quite different from anything else, this care, attention to detail and traceability is what sets Specialty Coffee apart from commodity coffee. Troy and his staff’s role is the final step in the process, however it is a very important one. There has been so much work and attention to detail paid to the coffee from growing, grading, processing, to roasting their job (as they put it!) “is just not to stuff it up and to deliver it as it is supposed to be delivered”.

To showcase the beans properly they are each roasted and brewed in a specific way to suit the coffee. Drinking coffee from Morning Magpie is very much an education exercise. In the near future certain coffees will be served with information about flavour notes, altitude and processing methods.

A great deal of knowledge is required by Troy and his staff to be able to pass this information onto his customers. In the last ten years the Third Wave of Coffee has become much more prevalent as countries so-called first world countries have had more direct contact with the source of their beans and the farmers themselves. Several other cafes are looking to pool their efforts together with Morning Magpie in order to make this kind of coffee more accessible for each other to enable them to offer this modern flavour to their customers. The team are providing tasting and training sessions for businesses and larger groups over lunchtime sessions, already with several successful sessions under their belts.  

Troy has achieved an international look to this cafe from hours of research and taking little bits of each of his favourite places to incorporate into the interior. The space is light and inviting to passers by, the large facade windows allow for great people watching. The interior is split in two, when entering through the main entrance you are welcomed by owner Troy from behind the coffee machine while most customers sit and drink their coffees in the next door room. A large colourful mural by Danny Brisbane is drawn on the wall behind the counter. A number of jar lights hang at different levels in the centre of the room above a long shared table, a range of eclectic items and furniture complete the interior.

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The process of making coffee in a Chemex is interesting to watch. First of all the coffee beans are weighed on a set of table top scales, a small amount of water wets the filter, the coffee is ground a little bit coarser than plunger coffee. Once ground the beans are placed in the filter and a small amount of water is poured over them to begin the initial reaction. This allows for a small amount of carbon dioxide to be released, this is known as the bloom and is an important chemical reaction that occurs. Finally the filter is  topped up with the remaining water. This all makes for a very  interactive and engaging experience, maybe more than we are used to with espresso coffee. They do admit that when the crowd is five deep it may present a challenge, however this is when the performance element of buying from Morning Magpie will be important.

Coffee innovation is what the team are trying achieve and present to their customers. The plan for the next six months is to bring a roaster into the space to enable them to constantly tweak all aspects of their coffee. Each month the coffee will be different depending on what is available and what will allow them to achieve the results they desire. 

It is exciting to see someone who is daring enough to take a risk and challenge the norm. We look forward to seeing the mark Troy cements in Dunedin’s coffee culture scene. 

Hours: 8am til 4pm Monday - Saturday
46 Stuart Street, Dunedin.

 

 Submitted by Jon Thom

 

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