Does a slow brew make for better coffee? Eva Shao thinks so.
The owner of Light Coffee, a specialty cafe on the corner of East Brisbane’s Lytton Road and Heidelberg Street, Shao guides her customers through the intricacies of making quality coffee – particularly the filtered variety.
Her first rule? Good beans. “Consistency [is] key,” she says. “Just one bad bean could make a sour cup.”
Then it’s the look, the tasting temperature and even the cup itself. For Shao, the aesthetic of filter coffee is as important as the science behind it.
Light Coffee opened late last month, arriving at just the right time to capitalise on Brisbane’s rapidly diversifying coffee scene. “Five years ago in a cafe setting, you’d get maybe five orders of filtered coffee a week,” Shao says. “Now there are just too many to count.”
Light Coffee’s filter drinkers can choose from two beans – Kochere (Ethiopia) or Santa Isabel (Guatemala) – all roasted in-house. The cafe also sells Gitesi Project beans, a charitable initiative that places cows with coffee farmers in Rwanda. Espresso lovers aren’t ignored: a La Marzocco espresso machine pumps through Asobombo single origin beans from Colombia.
The menu is light to accompany the coffee, with croissants from Danny’s Bread and baked goods from Torta Bella. Non-coffee drinkers can choose from Arakai Estate’s Taiwanese-style teas (a nod to Shao’s heritage), Smooth Chocolator hot chocolate and Hepburn Organic Sodas. There’s even reverse-osmosis filtered water for your pooch (“Locals love it, it’s hilarious”).
The cafe’s interior is a clean, Scandi-style with a retro twist: a white-tiled counter with industrial hanging lights, unfinished plywood cupboards, a black-and-white chequered lino floor, and op shop finds (such as old-school tables with lift-up lids).
Light Coffee has been seven years in the making. Shao started in the coffee business with an eye to opening her own cafe, but first worked with Josh Russell of Cup Specialty Coffee fame. Eventually, Shao would like to sell her in-house blends online and introduce events to the space.
2a/89 Lytton Road, East Brisbane
Wed to Fri 7am-2pm