How does Noma do Australian coffee?

Noma's barista Sophia Burger.
Noma's barista Sophia Burger. Photo: Tim Varney

We've read about Noma Australia's abalone schnitzel and edible ants, but how has the world-renowned restaurant - currently popping up in Sydney - interpreted the local coffee scene?

I travelled to Melbourne's Cremorne, not Sydney's Barangaroo (where Noma is located until April 2), as a guest of the team roasting Noma's beans - Tim Varney and Tim Williams. They run Bureaux Collective, a new space where people from the likes of Everyday Coffee, Patricia Coffee Brewers and Assembly will be able to rent time to roast their own coffee on cutting-edge equipment without going to the expense of setting up a roastery themselves.

Noma Australia's head barista Sophia Burger talks beans with Tim Williams of Melbourne's Bureaux Collective.
Noma Australia's head barista Sophia Burger talks beans with Tim Williams of Melbourne's Bureaux Collective. Photo: Tim Varney

Tim Varney worked at Oslo's Tim Wendelboe - an espresso bar and micro-roastery - for six years (where he was known as "the other Tim"). 

The heart of Bureaux, set to open in May, is a Probatone12 roaster. There's also an extensive filter brewing setup, and an espresso test area kitted out with a two-group La Marzocco Linea PB espresso machine and a Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinder. He was there when Noma's sommellier, Mads Kleppe, approached Wendelboe about supplying Noma.

Tim Williams, meanwhile (the other other Tim) worked in London for a decade with specialty luminaries including Workshop Coffee and Square Mile.

Noma's barista Sophia Burger.
Noma's barista Sophia Burger. Photo: Tim Varney

The Noma coffee is an Ethiopia Debello for espresso and an Ethiopia Biftu Gudina for filter, both sourced from Nordic Approach via Silo in Melbourne.

A pourover of the Biftu Gudina has lovely floral aromatics and a sparkling, cola-like acidity. Varney says he and Kleppe chose it to fit in with Noma Sydney's focus on native Australian ingredients: "It's all native Ethiopian heirloom varietals. Mads loves the floral Ethiopian profiles."

Noma serves its chilled filter brew of the Biftu with fermented honey for sweetness and mango for a lush mouthfeel.

La Marzocco kicked in a Linea PB espresso machine for the 10-week pop-up (though the steam wands have been disabled, so there'll be no cappuccinos with the dessert of mango studded with peppery tree ants). 

But I'm sad to say that getting an espresso going outside the controlled environment of Noma's Linea PB was more than I could expect the Tims to manage in the middle of their Bureaux Collective build.

It was, I guess, the best double espresso I'll never have.