Proud Mary. Great coffee and tea

Bad Mary

I‘m starting to judge cafes by their espresso machines. The more serious the machine, the better the coffee. So when you walk into a cafe and you see a six group Synesso longer than a coffin worth some $40,000 and you know something special is going on. It sorta trumps even St Ali’s $30,000 Slayer which is pretty awesome but only has three groups.

A Synesso in action.

And I can tell you it’s official: Today coffee – and tea for that matter – just got a lot better in not just Collingwood but Melbourne with the opening of Proud Mary on the corner of Oxford and Stanley Streets.

If you are a coffee geek you’ll have heard of Nolan Hirte, a champion barista who within three months of opening Liar Liar in Hawthorne had the place rocking. He sold that place with ownership eventually ending up with St Ali.

At Proud Mary there are also Syphon Filters, a Clover (with another on its way just for tea) plus I think I counted five grinders, the usual Mazzers. Plus there is (I think) the Anfim with the big grinding blades (Miss Jackson also has one now) that looks like it was styled by the man who invented the hobnail boot, or even his drunk Russian cousin.

It’s counter service and I ask for advice and start with the double espresso, a single origin Brazil Ipanema which was rich, clean and zesty with no bitter notes. I think it may be better even than the espresso at Padre, a few doors up from Hellenic Republic on Lygon St. All this is backed by tracks playing on vinyl.

It turns out the beans were roasted inhouse 12 days ago and stored in a special fridge hacked by Hirte to remain at high humidity and 15-16 C. Like I said itis all very serious. Next up was the latte and it was right up there, natch.

Proud Mary is also serving the latest Single origin tea imported from Sri Lanka by Somage Fine Foods, with the infusion time is measured with an electronic timer.


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  2. Coffee was great. I really liked it, but one thing which is very important for me was missing.
    well, it was SMELLy from the kitchen and sandwich toaster which was located near coffee machine.
    I could not enjoy coffee at all and had to be out.
    If you dont care about smell, you should go there for coffee.
    If you care about smell, better not to go.

  3. Am totally loving being back amongst Melbourne’s coffee culture! It just keeps getting better. This place is on my hit list, having knocked back some soul soothing flat whites at Mart and St Ali yesterday (first time for the latter; loved it). I’m a Melbourne coffee geek living in the land of tea bags (London) and they just don’t get it – so nice to be back here where people write posts about coffee machines and roasting beans. Aaaahhhh….

  4. WOW, that coffee machine is a beast!! Puts my Rancilio Silvia to shame (but I still love her!)

  5. Nice post Ed! I found some more photos of the cafe here

    Including the 6 group head synesso you mentioned – it is awesome!

  6. I think you’ll find Nolan will be rotating through a collection of fairly impressive single origin beans if 5 Senses in Melbourne have anything to do with it (and they do). 5 Senses roast Nolan’s house blend, and then he has a small batch roaster on site for doing his own single origins or whatever he fancies.

  7. Hi Ed
    It looks like a neat little joint that’s for sure and the machine’s a mother.
    There are better beans about then single origin Ipanema though and I wonder why you would go to all that trouble and then choose to brand yourself, however superficially in the same perceived plane as Starbucks.

  8. I expect great things from Nolan every time he goes into a new cafe. He’s one of those people who always brings things together with an elegant poise and unpretentious way of serving great coffee.

    Looking forward to hearing more about Proud Mary. And Bad Mary too if you run into her Ed 🙂

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  10. I went there this afternoon and had the same coffee as you and was very impressed. The massive 6 group is presumably to run the three single origins and two blends they were offering.

    I thought the name was Proud Mary’s, or did I mishear?