There is something in the process of watching an attentive and careful barista manually brew a pour over that instills in you a little mystique, reverence and even a little awe for the finished product. When performed properly, and with a suitably delicious coffee as your starting point, the brew can be a transformative experience showcasing the best of the coffee, as well as the skill of the barista. Of course, like any preparation method, there is ample room for the experience, despite its hallowed aura and attendant theatrics, to be a disappointing one. This is certainly not the case when it comes to Carlton’s newest, and dare I say, most exciting tenant, INI Studio.
This beautiful, light and communal space is the brain child of Kiyong Jung, a long time member of the Melbourne barista community, as well as brewers cup competitor and all round coffee champion. It is a space unashamedly dedicated to showcasing coffee, and in particular, manual brewing methods.
The space itself draws heavily on the gallery aesthetic. White surfaces, minimal fitout and beautiful finishes focus your attention to the activity in the space; all centered around the brew bar. Here you can find Ki brewing coffees from some of Australia’s finest roasters, as well as an exciting array of coffee that he is sourcing from abroad. To watch Ki brew is to watch someone who is undoubtedly in his element; his studied movements and attention to detail whilst he goes about the task are inspiring to watch. This focus and attention, however, gives way to a warm welcome and generous hospitality when you enter the space. Though coffee is a central focus, it is apparent that Ki’s attention to detail extends to the entire coffee experience; from the moment you enter to the moment you leave.
Pour over coffee is not all that Ki is serving up! A glance across the brew bar will see a stunning Specht Designs Synesso MVP Hydra from which a constant stream of takeaway and dine in coffees flow, all using Five Senses’ Crompton Road blend and a rotating single origin. The crew here are making use of all that the Hydra has to offer, with various pressure profiles and temperatures. Lowering their standard brewing pressure to 7 bars, they are able to coax out some unique flavour profiles. A flat white in some of the custom ceramics (another beautiful detail, though it may need some translation) is an intensely satisfying hit of dark chocolate, brown sugar and roasted almonds. Whilst a double espresso of the Kipenzi, from our Tanzanian friends at Communal Shamba, has piles of bright stone fruit, elegant acids and a beautifully clean finish. To help soak up some of that caffeine you will find a selection of moreish pastries from fellow Five Senses stalwarts Via Porta and, if you’re a sweet tooth, you can inquire into their amazing house made waffle.
At a glance, INI studio is a beautiful space dedicated to showcasing the best of brew methods and the best of coffee. Ki and his team deliver in spades on every count, but it is their commitment to this being a comfortable, hospitable and educational experience as well which really makes this space special. Whether it’s flying solo, or with a friend or two, make sure you put some time aside to take a trundle down Queensberry Street and check out this cracking new addition to Melbourne’s coffee scene.
225 Queensberry St
Carlton VIC 3053
Monday – Friday: 7am – 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9am – 4pm
© Photos provided with permission by Wei from Make Room. All rights reserved by photographer.