Youeni (Castle Hill) – Summary
250-254 Old Northern Road, Castle Hill NSW 2154
(02) 9680 8885
I am finding that it is unfair for me to compare some cafes to others as one might do one thing in particular perfectly, while the others simply try do their best, which is all you should ever expect, even if they don’t match the same standard. And yet, compare them I must. Before I do however, let me stipulate a few details that likely impacted my experience.
Here on a Saturday morning it is less about a relaxed atmosphere, and more like the blur and noise of sitting on the corner of a busy street in a cafe packed full of people waiting for service. The staff, some more focused than others, seem a little haphazard in their approach, and yet, somehow when I walked up, I managed to grab a table straight away (I think more likely that I accidentally skipped the cue… my bad).
Looking up at the menu I understand why one of my friends on twitter suggested that these guys were awesome. With one single origin for espresso and two available for their V60 pour over, my expectations were high. So I threw in an order and let the wait begin…
As for my order, I went for their Colombian Dona Etelvina as a pour over, before seeing it on the menu for $6.50…!!?? O_o Rather than cancel the order I figured that I could pay for it once, having just been to Paramount Coffee Project and seen them school me on how pour over coffee should be done for $5/cup.
But then 25min past… and from my seat I could see that the V60 had not been touched, nor water boiled… but as they were busy, I decided to give them a buffer. I ordered an espresso of their Colombian Santuario for “while I was waiting for my pour over…”
Another 8min past and finally someone came to start creating the pour over. Rather than harp on about the differences in technique between here and Paramount, let me just say that it could have been better. When I saw them put two cups in front of the V60 I wasn’t overly worried as it is common place to serve the pour overs these days with a container and a cup, allowing the drinker to control and experience the temperature of the coffee, but.. it seems they were making two coffees at once.
This is fair enough, many cafes make jugs of coffee at the same time, but in this instance the 3/4 full mug of coffee arrived and did not impress. It was flavourless and watery. Having been in this position before I let it cool and tried again, but it didn’t open up, it didn’t get better. It tasted like either the beans were a bit stale or perhaps the grind was too course. Either way, it was not a coffee worth the $6.50 I paid for it or for the 30+ minutes I waited for it to be made.
BUT… all was not lost. Sure the espresso that I ordered while I was waiting didn’t show up until after my pour over had arrived, but when it did, I was happy I stayed. Where the pour over was flavourless and watery, the espresso was like spiced chocolate syrup with a slight tart brown sugar finish. It was so good that rather than spoil the aftertaste I decided to leave the remaining half of my pour over.
So why does this cafe deserve (at least) a 4/5? They were under the pump and sometimes shit happens. Sure the pour over was a huge and expensive disappointment, but with a fresh bag of coffee, a slight modification of the grind, and maybe a policy of only making one pour over per V60 at a time, these guys are certainly on the right track. Not only that, but offering so many single origin beans should be rewarded. Finally, the espresso when it arrived was awesome. You could see the care that went into it.