Manta Ray Coffee Roasters

A lovely espresso in a classic white cup, with a gold manta ray on the front.Today’s Coffee Spot sees us move from Brisbane to Melbourne, although technically we’re in the suburbs, in Nunawading, home to Manta Ray Coffee Roasters. I first became aware of Manta Ray when I visited Pinhole Coffee Bar in Singapore, where Manta Ray was the guest roaster. Then, when I reached Melbourne, I found that Manta Ray topped many people’s must-visit lists. Since I had a hire car for my drive along the Great Ocean Road, I decided to make a two-hour round trip to the east of Melbourne to visit Manta Ray before I set off.

Manta Ray Coffee Roasters, as the name suggests, is both roastery and coffee bar. Although Manta Ray has been roasting for a while, the coffee bar has only been open since October 2022. Despite this, it’s already become a place of pilgrimage for Melbourne’s speciality coffee community. There are two blends on espresso, along with five single-origins on pour-over and some interesting cold coffee options. Naturally, all the coffee is available to buy in retail bags, and while this is rightly the main draw, if you’re hungry, there’s a wide range of cakes and pastries, along with a smaller selection of savoury pastries.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Amongst the car repair workshops on Beech Street is not, at first glance, somewhere that...
  • ... you'd expect to find some top-notch speciality coffee. Not on a second glance either.
  • However, look again, this time from head on. Can you see the A-board?
  • This is what we've come for: Manta Ray Coffee Roasters and its promise of coffee!
  • The doors are at the back of the deeply-recessed porch on the right.
  • The manta rays on the handles are a nice touch.
  • Stepping inside, you're struck by an immense sense of space, the counter to your left...
  • ... and a row of five two-person tables along a bench to the right.
  • However, there's more! At the back, beyond the wall of windows, you'll find the roastery.
  • Between the roastery and the back of the counter is a long, wide table...
  • ... while behind that, up against the wall of windows, is another row of five tables.
  • These tables have chairs on either side, facing the counter (right) or roastery (left).
  • Talking of the counter, there's a final row of five (chairs this time) at the back of the counter.
  • A view of Manta Ray from the far corner, looking across the counter towards the door.
  • While we're in the far corner, here's another view of the row of tables at the back...
  • ... and here's the table in the middle (it's actually two tables, but it looks like one).
  • At one end is a display area for coffee equipment (left) and cups (front)...
  • ... while there are reusable cups at the back.
  • Finally, on the front corne, you'll find more reusable cups and coffee equipment.
  • There's another, more traditional, retail area by the door.
  • This one has merchandising (left), coffee equipment (centre) and...
  • ... retail bags of coffee (right).
  • Tour over, let's get down to business. You order at the front of the counter...
  • ... where you first go past the Kees van der Westen Slim Jim espresso machine...
  • ... before you get to the till.
  • A view of the Slim Jim from the till. This is the first one I've seen in a coffee shop.
  • After the till comes a large selection of cakes.
  • These looked pretty fabulous if I'm honest...
  • ... as did these on the other side of the case.
  • As if that wasn't enough, there's a range of sweet and savoury pastries in the next case.
  • Moving on, we come to the domain of the filter coffee, starting with this EG-1 grinder.
  • A second look at the EG-1 from Weber, with another Weber grinder, the Key, behind it.
  • They grind pre-weighed doses for the OTFES O-41 Kassifa machines, which we'll return to.
  • Before we do that, let's take a look at the menu. You'll find these on each of the tables...
  • ... and if you turn one over, you'll find the menu and current coffee choices.
  • After some discussion with the barista, I selected a pour-over, made with the Rafael Vinhal.
  • This was made on the OTFES O-41 Kassifa, an automated pour-over machine.
  • The barista places the ground coffee in the filter paper/V60, puts it on the stand and...
  • ... presses go. That's the last manual intervention as the machine automatically...
  • ... carries out a series of pre-programmed pours. Click on the picture for a short video.
  • The finished article, served on a neat wooden tray.
  • I was also given a carafe of water, which was a nice touch.
  • Along with my coffee, I had a very fine spinach and cheese Danish for lunch, along with...
  • ... an equally fine individual cheesecake for dessert.
  • However, the coffee was the main attaction. Served in the carafe with a cup on the side...
  • ... each coffee comes with a neat information card.
  • The coffee in the cup, with the card turned over...
  • ... to reveal a plethora of information about the coffee and the farm it comes from.
  • I finished things off with a shot of the light roast seasonal blend...
  • ... served in a classic white cup. Before I left, I kept the coffee-go-round turning by...
  • ... swapping samples of each of my remaining Singapore coffees for ones from Manta Ray.
  • I also bought this bag of the Rafael Vinhal which ended up in Potter & Reid in London!
Webpage Slideshow by v4.6

Manta Ray Coffee Roasters is on Beech Street, a quiet side street off the (slightly) busier Rooks Road, both of which offer plenty of on-street parking. With car workshops on either side, you would be forgiven for thinking that you’d come to the wrong place, but persevere and you will be rewarded.

The first clue is the A-board, which promises “Coffee, coffee, coffee” under a drawing of a manta ray. This leads you to a deep porch at the right of a single-storey industrial building with tall glass double doors at the back, flanked by matching windows, which run the full width of the porch. These deposit you in the front, right-hand corner of a large, industrial-like space. open to the A-frame roof. It goes a long way back, with the coffee bar at the front, the roastery behind it, the two separated by a wall of windows that runs the full width of Manta Ray. There’s plenty of natural light, mostly from a row of large skylights along both sides of the roof, supplemented by an impressive light panel suspended above the counter, which is to your left as you enter.

The first thing that struck me was this sense of space and light. Perhaps twice as long as it is wide, everything is spread out and uncluttered. The counter, effectively an L-shape, faces to the right, occupying the middle of the coffee bar, the seating arranged down the right-hand side and along the back. Retail shelves occupy the right-hand wall immediately after the door, followed by a row of five two-person tables running along a bench against the wall. There a further five tables in a row along the windows at the back, this time with chairs which either face the counter or the roastery.

A pair of broad tables run the width of Manta Ray between the tables and the back of the counter. They may possibly be pressed into service as additional seating, but for now they act as a display for various pieces of coffee equipment, including some very lovely cups. Finally, a row of five chairs run along the back of counter, ideal for watching your coffee being made.

The counter starts with a Kees van der Westen Slim Jim espresso machine, followed by the till, where you order and pay. Next come the cakes and pastries in various glass display cases, while the back of the counter is the preserve of the pour-over machines.

Returning to the cakes and pastries, I had a very fine spinach and cheese Danish for lunch, followed (at the barista’s recommendation) by an individual cheesecake for dessert was just as good: rich, smooth and creamy. However, I’d really come for the coffee.

I started with a pour-over, made with using the V60 on one of a pair of OTFES O-41 Kassifa automated machines. These devices are new to me, and consist of an intriguing shower head which rotates and moves above the V60, dispensing water in a series of pre-programmed pours. Rather than describe it further, I’ve included a short video of it in action if you’re interested.

The coffee itself (again recommended by my barista) was the Rafael Vinhal, an anaerobic washed Topazio varietal from Brazil. Served in the carafe, with the cup on the side and a very detailed information card, it was fruity with plenty of body. I followed this with a shot of the light roast seasonal blend, a 50/50 mix of two Ethiopian Gujis, one washed and one naturally-processed. This was very different, with a pleasing acidity, but still smooth.

Before I left, I presented the staff with a choice of the remaining four coffees I’d brought with me from Singapore. However, rather than picking one, they suggested taking samples of all four in exchange for four samples of Manta Ray Coffee, which I gladly accepted. I also bought a bag of the Rafael Vinhal which I took back to the UK with me, where it ended up at Potter & Reid in London.

Monday 07:00 – 15:00 Roaster Manta Ray Coffee Roasters (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 15:00 Seating Tables, Counter
Wednesday 07:00 – 15:00 Food Cake, Savouries
Thursday 07:00 – 15:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 15:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 08:00 – 15:00 Wifi No
Sunday 08:00 – 15:00 Power No
Chain No Visits 4th May 2023

For an alternative (but equally enthusiastic) take on Manta Ray, check out this by local blogger, Laura Angelia.

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2 thoughts on “Manta Ray Coffee Roasters

  1. Pingback: Pinhole Coffee Bar | Brian's Coffee Spot

  2. Pingback: Potter & Reid | Brian's Coffee Spot

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