I heard about Rubyfruit, a vegan cafe in the Blue Mountains village of Leura, some time ago through a post on Facebook. Their philosophy is very sound and in keeping with my own ethics and values regarding animals. Though I am not a vegan (I'm a pescetarian), I do try to eat a reasonable proportion of vegal meals and I've been impressed with Rubyfruit's commitment to promoting various animal charities. Each month their tips are donated to a different charity.
We visited for afternoon tea. The venue is upstairs at the end of a small retail arcade off the main street. It's light, bright and modern with glass bricks, dark red walls and white furniture. It looks immaculately clean and there's a glass chiller cabinet where you can view the cakes and other food on offer. There's also a shelving unit displaying products you can purchase and take home.
We were greeted in a friendly manner and after perusing the chiller cabinet we sat down to order. I asked for a slice of the dark chocolate raspberry cake, and my partner ordered the banana cake. We were asked if we would like vegan ice cream or nut cream on the side. I ordered a decaf long black, my partner a normal long black.
The cakes were nicely presented and very tasty. Mine was ever so slightly on the dry side... perhaps the vegan ice cream/nut cream would have been a good addition but I'm not keen on dairy-style products (even if they're not actually dairy). My partner's cake had a yummy vegan frosting plus he had opted for the vegan ice cream.
The coffee was the disappointment, and that's a huge issue in a cafe!
My partner's long black was OK. It had only a small amount of crema which was the first worry. A lack of crema indicates one or more of a number of possible flaws - old/stale beans, water temperature set too high, water temperature set too low, or the coffee was made the wrong way around (ie. instead of hot water first, then pouring the shot into the water, the shot has been made in the cup and hot water added on top). With a professional espresso machine (and somebody who knows how to use it) you should get a perfect cup every time. Upon tasting the coffee, my partner said the flavour was OK but there was a bitterness at the end - this again indicates problems with the water temperature.
My decaf was even worse. Absolutely no crema at all - from appearances it could have been strong filter coffee. It was extremely hot and tasted a bit scorched. This was really disappointing.
I wish Rubyfruit all the best - the world needs more ethical businesses and they've got a lot of things right. However they will not last unless they improve the coffee, particularly as they have a lot of competition in Leura, and you have to go looking for Rubyfruit - it's not street frontage. We spread ourselves around while we were in Leura this week, and had uniformly excellent coffee everywhere else.
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