Foster & Black Roastery

Detail taken from the A-board | Foster & Black Specialty Coffee | Pause. Sip. RepeatMoving on from 3 Little Birds Espresso, Airlie Beach and the Queensland Coast, Amanda and I headed south to Brisbane for a few days. This was mostly spent catching up with friends, but we did find time for one Coffee Spot. Foster & Black was a new name to me, a chance discovery when I spotted its kiosk in The Myer Centre in Brisbane’s Central Business District. Although we only had time for a quick flat white, the barista told us about the coffee shop/roastery in Fortitude Valley, so we made time to pay it a visit on Saturday morning.

A relatively new addition to Brisbane’s speciality coffee scene, the minimalist coffee bar only opened in 2021, fronting a large, open warehouse-like space. This is home to Foster & Black’s Loring coffee roaster, its green bean storage and its production area, all separated from the coffee bar by a wall of windows running the full width of the building. There’s a range of seating options, but the real draw is the coffee, with a house-blend on espresso, plus three single-origins available on espresso, batch brew and pour-over. Meanwhile, if you’re hungry, there’s a small selection of cakes and pastries.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Walking away from central Brisbane along Wickham Street, you come to Foster & Black.
  • This is the view coming the other way, heading along Fortitude Valley towards the centre.
  • The view head-on. While it's fitting that it's a coffee van, they should know not to park...
  • ... in front of a coffee shop, spoiling my view! The central door is flanked by windows...
  • ... although I could only get a decent shot of the one on the left (thanks van!).
  • I appreciate the simplicity of the A-board. And approve of the slogan.
  • The view from just inside the door, looking at the counter at the back. Foster & Black...
  • ... is split in two by this half wall to the right of the door, which creates two seating areas.
  • A padded bench with built-in coffee tables runs along either side of the wall...
  • ... continuing on the other side to form a U-shaped seating area.
  • A second look at the seating on the right-hand side.
  • I appreciated both the built-in coffee tables and the padded back pieces.
  • There's more seating on the left, where you come in. A long, thin table with...
  • ... eight fixed seats (see here through the hole in the dividing wall) dominates the space.
  • There's a three-seat padded bench on the left-hand wall at the front...
  • ... while beyond that is the retail section, feaaturing beans and coffee equipment.
  • The counter, with its unusual angles, is at the back of the coffee shop. Talking of unusual...
  • ... check out the light fitting above the counter. There's more to Foster & Black than...
  • ... just the coffee shop: there's a whole roastery at the back (sadly off limits to the public)!
  • The counter, viewed head on, with the roastery behind it. You order and pay here...
  • ... with all the shots pulled on this La Marzocco KB90 at the right-hand end.
  • Pour-over, meanwhile, is at the left-hand end, where you'll find this fancy stand.
  • The cakes and pastries (what's left of them) are in the middle of the counter.
  • Finally, there's a menu on the wall at the far end of the counter.
  • Although minimalistic, it's one of the more extensive menus that I saw on my travels!
  • I started with an oat milk flat white, which I paired...
  • ... with a rather lovely almond croissant.
  • My coffee was made with the house blend, a mix of beans from Brazil and Colombia.
  • Meanwhile, here are two of the single-origins on offer. Amanda had the Costa Rica as a...
  • ... batch brew filter, while I had the Ecuador as an espresso (seen here). Finally, I gave...
  • ... the barista the pick of the coffee that I'd brought with me from Singapore.
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Foster & Black is at the northeastern end of Wickham Street as you head along Fortitude Valley, away from Brisbane’s Central Business District. On the left-hand side of the street, it occupies an initially nondescript two-storey building at the end of a terrace, the front partially obscured by a large, mature tree. The central door is flanked by a pair of tall, wide, floor-to-ceiling windows, while a pair of plain, white benches stand either side of the door, filling the space between door and window.

Stepping inside, you’re greeted by an interesting space. The bulk of the building is occupied by the roastery, which is at the back, while at the front is Foster & Black’s coffee bar. A short wall immediately to the right of the door splits the space in two, the two sides linked by the counter which runs along the back of the coffee bar, separated from the roastery by a wall of windows. Order at the counter before finding yourself a seat.

If you want to sit on the left, there’s a central table, long and thin, with eight fixed stools. Alternatively, a short, three-person padded bench runs along the left-hand wall under a neat hidden-word puzzle, followed by a small retail section, featuring bags of beans and coffee equipment. Another three-person padded bench runs along the full length of the dividing wall, continuing on the other side, where it forms a U-shaped seating area along with the front and right-hand walls. Each of the benches features cylindrical, padded back rests and small, in-built round coffee tables.

The decor, meanwhile, is just as interesting, the whitewashed brick walls offering a contrast to the black of the counter, furniture, floor and ceiling. The last of these, the ceiling, is perhaps the most interesting of all since it appears to undulate in a wave-like pattern. It is perhaps best seen than described.

However, as neat and quirky as the space is, the real draw is the coffee. I started with an oat milk flat white, made with the house blend, a mix of beans from Brazil and Colombia. This went really well with the oat milk, Plant Projects’ No Ordinary Oat Milk (which is made in Sweden) to produce a rich, smooth and creamy flat white as good as any I’ve had made with dairy milk.

I paired this with an almond croissant, the rich, flaky pastry contrasting to sweet patisserie cream, an excellent accompaniment to my coffee. Amanda, meanwhile, tried one of the single-origins, the Finca Llano Bonito, a naturally-processed coffee from Costa Rica which was available on batch brew. Served at the perfect drinking temperature, this was very fruity with lots of berry flavours.

Before I left, I offered the barista the pick of the coffee I’d brought with me from Singapore, and while I remember that he selected one of the four single-origins from PPP Coffee, my note taking failed me and I can’t remember which one it was! In return, I was offered an espresso made, with the La Perla, a washed coffee from Ecuador, which turned out to be a rounded, well-balanced shot. With that, we were on our way, off to meet another friend for lunch.

Monday 07:00 – 15:00 Roaster Foster & Black (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 15:00 Seating Table, Benches; Benches (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 15:00 Food Cakes
Thursday 07:00 – 15:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 15:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 07:00 – 15:00 Wifi No
Sunday 08:00 – 14:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 29th April 2023

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