We’ve posted before about Melbourne’s claim as the coffee capital of Australia. In addition to the Melbourne Coffee Review Web site we noted back in 2007 (in operation since 2004), there is now a printed guide to Melbourne’s top 100 coffee shops with the title Melbourne Coffee Review: Crema of the crop – Epicure – Entertainment – theage.com.au.

The 2010 edition of the Melbourne Coffee ReviewSome 20 reviewers make up the short reviews on the Web site and, now, guide. And not unlike the Gambero Rosso Bar d’Italia, places with the top coffee scores earn three beans. Within this guide, beneath the sacrilegious paper cups brandished on its cover, these three-bean cafés include these three locations: 7 Seeds, Brother Baba Budan and St. ALi.

As some of you might know, this Web site started with the idea for a printed, local coffee guide in 2002. We’ve been published before, and our book proposal seemed to fit a real opportunity and need for a town brimming with coffee history and culture.

But after engaging with a number of local guide mongers — including Chronicle Books, Globe Pequot Press, Sasquatch Books, Sunbelt Publications, and TenSpeed Press — we were dismayed by how clueless these publishers were about the market for local information on quality coffee. It was as if we were proposing to write a book reviewing public toilets in SF. (Come to think of it, that’s not so terrible an idea either.) Thus in 2003, out of frustration, we took our research directly to the Web.

Of course, the world is awash in wannabe authors with bad ideas and grudges against “clueless” publishers. (Insert disgruntled, misunderstood scientist cackling, “They laughed at my ideas and called me mad! But I’ll show them… I’ll show them all!“) But the publication of yet another local coffee shop guide, with ratings based on coffee quality, adds just a little more fuel to our we-told-you-so fire.

Also overheard in Melbourne…

So what else is going on, coffee-wise, in Melbourne — the city that also gave us talents as diverse as Rupert Murdoch, Steve Irwin, Olivia Newton-John, and Flea?

Recently, the local press published a story promoting the coffee, prices, and siphon brewing equipment of a Melbourne café that curiously reminded us of an old Blue Bottle Cafe post: Coffee lovers forking out $12 a cup for trendy brews. And just before that, they published an article on their own new local roaster phenomenon, reminding us of our own from way back when: Ruling the roast.

So if Melbourne can publish a local coffee quality guide, what’s our excuse? Besides clueless publishers, that is…