PURE Boutique Coffee-Bar – Glenelg, SA

Cnr Jetty Road & Durham Street, Glenelg, SA, 5045

This place has the potential to one day be printing money for its owner.  It is the ultimate expression of the burgeoning speciality coffee industry in South Australia, located in what is arguably the city’s premiere tourist strip, one street back from Moseley Square and the beach, in partnership with three of the best coffee roasters in the land – yet, on my first visit I was left with a nasty taste in my mouth (literally).

I ventured in on my wife’s birthday (with her blessing) and I said to her , “I would be – no longer than 30 minutes MAX” – and then would catch up with her.  I went in, and there was one couple ahead of me waiting for service.  We waited (there was four people behind the counter – one of whom was the barista – although it was not 100% clear who that was either) – and looked around at the dark decor, and read all the wonderful coffee ideals on the wall – and we waited – I checked in to Foursquare.  Eventually the couple in front of me were served – while a couple who were already seated approached the counter, and embarrassingly asked whether their order had been forgotten…I had a sinking feeling.  Finally it was my turn for service and I ordered my standard – a Latte and a Ristretto (always interesting to see what order they come in) – and waited to be asked what beans I would like (assuming that this would happen as they promote their various suppliers on their wall) – but nothing. Hmmmm.

Took a seat – and waited.  According to my check in, it was 20 mins until my Ristretto and Latte arrived – together.  I proceeded to ask what the beans were and where they from – and I was told they were 5 Senses from Perth.  I clarified my question, and was told that he thought they were from Costa Rica.  My sinking feeling continued…but now to the review.

Latte Quality – Good – similar to what Bobby encountered in his Cappuccino in that the micro-foam was not so much full of micro bubbles as it was surrounded by macro ones (hard to see in picture – but just around the edge of the glass), but the latte art was appreciated.  On first taste it seemed really, really weak, but then it began to exhibit quite nice caramel flavours  but was very, very sweet.  Hate to think what it would have been like with sugar.

Ristretto Quality – Good – was very short and watery (as opposed to being more like syrup) . Quite sweet with a definite blood orange on the palate with a sour dough after taste.

Cost – $3.50 for a regular size latte.  $3.00 for ristretto

Coffee Supplier – 5 Senses – yet they also promote Barossa Coffee Roasters and Veneziano as partners.

Fair Trade – No mention specifically of Fair Trade – however, Pure are dedicated to sustainability in their business – as per the clip boards which are just lying around the place. 

Customer Service –   – acknowledged my presence and value as a carbon based entity – but not much more; Interaction at point of sale was what you would expect from a franchise establishment – not a boutique coffee bar – when you are serious about coffee you want to take every opportunity for people to explore and experience that ultimate ‘god shot’ – so it would have been nice to have had the three coffee suppliers explained (unusual to have three suppliers) and whether you can choose the beans in your espresso, or whether the beans were attached to an extraction method (i.e. 5 Senses – espresso; Barossa Coffee – pour-over etc).  As above, when I finally got my beverages the guy who served them was not really that certain what I was drinking – and he kind of insinuated that I could have asked for a different bean in the Ristretto – but that option was not given.  I think if you are going to place yourself into the marketplace like PURE have – then all staff members – from bus boy to barista – need to be able to talk at length – with passion – about the beans and the processes, which will encourage the dedicated fans to do the same…am I expecting too much in Adelaide?

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – Perhaps suitable for a chat – but seating was limited, and the music was loud.

Post Script – while this may seem like a completely negative review – it is based only upon one experience, and while not great – it will not deter me from coming back the next time I am in Glenelg.  Pure is only new – it is (I think) less that one month old, and so there are bound to be teething problems – however, I think the future is bright for these guys, as the location is perfect – the associations they have made with bean suppliers is spot on – and it is now only a matter of getting the kinks out. It may one day rival The Barun, Red Berry Espresso and Paddy’s Lantern.


Posted on January 7, 2012, in 5 Senses, Barossa Coffee Roasters, Coffee-Bar, Espresso Bar, Glenelg, Veneziano Caffe and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Hi, thankyou for your review. We take all comments very seriously, and appreciate your criticism. We opened on the 19th of December and have had a baptism of fire, 70kg in our first week. Being only new we have had some teething problems and having only 2 very experienced Baristas does make it hard.
    Hope we can make your next experience more enjoyable.
    Regards, Warwick. Pure Espresso.

  2. Hi Warwick – thanks for your reply – I appreciate your candour – I know that you guys will be a great success, and I look forward to a return visit. – Simon C – MakeCoffeeNotWar.com

  3. I had the pleasure of going to Pure yesterday. Service was great, coffee was excellent! Being a Melbournian I was ecstatic to find a boutique coffee place to remind me of home. The house blend was excellent and the Costa Rican blend was extremely smooth and subtle. I was offered the Brazilian blend on the house, which was a nice touch.
    This place is going to clean up. From what I have experienced in Adelaide so far it is by far better than anything else on offer here.
    To my fellow cyclists, if you want the perfect coffee hit after a long ride, Pure is the place to get it. Colin G

    • Thanks for your comments Colin – glad to read about your positive experience at PURE. As Warwick said above – it is only early days and they are wanting to improve all the time – glad to read that was your experience.

      Don’t forget some of Adelaide other great coffee places, such as ‘The Coffee Barun, Paddy’s Lantern, Bar 9, Red Berry Espresso and the Coffee Branch – all Melbourne quality (some would say better) coffee houses.

    • Thanks Colin, our inspiration is straight from the streets of Melbourne. Glad to hear your comments and coming from someone from the now coffee capital of the world if means alot!
      Regards, Warwick.

  4. How long do I have to wait to get a cup of coffee? I visited this place and being not busy at the time expected my coffee in at least 1 or 2 minutes. Not realising that it would be 5 to 7 minutes. I dont mind waiting, but to be served by a arrogant grumpy barista isnt what I pay my money for (expensive for what you get). I wont be going back for this kind of service. I would not recommend this place to anyone who wants good service, value for money and strong good coffee.

    • Thanks for your comment Michelle – sorry your experience was similar to mine.

      If you have any other suggestions around Glenelg (or Adelaide for that matter) for good coffee – please let me know your experiences.

    • Thanks for your comments Michelle. Being a specialty coffee house we do offer other brew methods like pourover, syphon, cold-drip aswell as espresso based beverages. These other brew methods are quite time consuming and therefore speed of service in a place such as ours does suffer. It is hard adjusting to a world that is so used to franchise style quality and speed service. I do get a lot of question regarding strength. “Is the Costa Rican stronger than the house blend or the Brazallian” etc, etc. We, as professionals don’t really note strength in our tasting notes. It’s purely up to personal taste, we prefer to concentrate on flavour and offer an extra shot if the consumer requires more strength.
      I hope we can have the opportunity to see you again.
      Regards, Warwick.

  5. @Michelle..WOW..a coffee in 1-2 mins??… are you sure you’re not confusing it with instant!??

    i haven’t been to Pure..but will soon..regardless of the negative comments. the only thing that will make my taste buds turn sour is if they charge for DECAF. only adelaide! when in melbourne NO-ONE charged for decaf. i was happy to find a place on king william road the other day that doesn’t charge for decaf or soy. haven’t tried their coffee yet. but even on an extremely busy night (tour down under party) the service was friendly.

    but five GOLD STARS to uncaffe for not being greedy!!

    that’s what i call service. looking after EVERY customer. not just the majority.

    • Thanks for your comments Daniela – make sure you DO get in and check out PURE Espresso – I am actually looking forward to my return visit – it is so great to have people like Warwick in the industry who only want good things and good experiences for all. PURE will do well – and with Barossa Coffee Roasters there – how can they not?

      Thanks also for your comments on your experience on King William Road – I have yet to visit an ‘un caffè bar’ – but I should make the effort (haven’t been into a franchisee place for ages!!) – Thanks Again! Sae.

  6. thank you Rev..you’re welcome..but i’m passionate about my coffee too..although unfortunately, it has to be decaf. BUT..having said that..decaf has come a long way..and when i SWOON over a decaf, i know i am in the hands of ‘God’ (ahem). Paddy’s Lantern NEVER fails. Amazing coffee.

    Like you..am not into franchise coffee as it generally tastes like the equivalent of soggy cardboard but was impressed that uncaffe didn’t charge for decaf or soy. something i wish other coffee houses would do. as i said..it leaves a ‘bitter’ taste in my mouth when i have to ‘coff’ up an extra 70 or more cents for the ‘privilege’! when it’s not necessary. if any coffee houses are reading this..i would love their (honest) spin on why they do??

    happy sipping 🙂

    • Hi Daniela,

      As owner of “coffee by the beans” at Lockleys, I look at the additional costs associated with Decaf coffee such as,

      – The cost involved with the Decaf process (either chemical or swiss water) ours is swiss water process.
      – The added cost of using premium beans (in our case Colombian)
      – Our investment in using a designated commercial grinder (we only grind on demand) so it doesn’t get contaminated by the standard bean.

      As for Soy, we use BonSoy which comes at a premium price compared to normal milk.

      In either case there is only a 50 cents extra cost to the overall price of coffee.

      I trust this helps.



      • Thanks for your comments Vincent – always good to have cafe owners on here answering questions and engaging with the coffee drinking public.

        The next time I am up your way, I’ll drop in for a ristretto, latte and some beans!

  7. p.s. by the way vincent. my comments weren’t directed at ‘coffee by the beans’. NEVER for ‘coffee by the beans” lol!! as your coffee is exceptional. i love it and don’t mind paying extra. (grovel grovel grovel). my comments were just a generalised statement about coffee house charges. one place i refuse to buy decaf from charges 70 cents. 😦

    • Hi Daniela,

      Thats fine, I didn’t take it that way just trying to be transparent with people about our industry.
      I believe the more knowledge people have about coffee the more aware they are about which coffee shops are committed to making consistent, great tasting enjoyable coffee.

      Thanks again for the kind feedback about our coffee, hope to see you when you pop in next time.

      Regards Vincent.

  8. absolutely Vincent. you hit the right ‘notes’ there. Consistent Great Tasting coffee. plus nice people to make it for you 😉 all makes for a pleasurable, sensory experience.

    it’s when you pay extra and it’s the antithesis to the above. 😦

  9. I was so looking forward to a great coffee at the Bay. In fact after finishing a breakfast we left Zest to go to PURE Boutique Coffee-Bar. I was sadly very disappointed. My long black was awful. Normally I would not say anything, leave and never go back. But this time I thought “No, I want this place to be good. It must just be a bad coffee”. After drinking only a small amount I approached the counter. The response astonded me. I was told that it was a good coffee and I obviously knew nothing about coffee. All they offered was that they could make another but it would be exactly the same. As the coffee was not drinkable (I think I found Blend 44). I declined.
    The staff made no other effort. They may think that they are the only ones who know a good coffee, but I don’t think they know about customer service or business. I give them 6 months.
    Sad, I really wanted them to be good. Wish I stayed at Zest

    • Sad to hear Pete. I am one of the owners and head Baristas at Pure. I had my one of my Baristas tell me your story today. I hear your latte was great? I find it harsh that you’ve judged us purely on the result of your long black. The Crema or gassy layer on the top of the drink, is often mistaken for a symbol of quality. But old, stale coffee leaves a pale yellow film that is quite resilient and bitter and can be mistaken for Crema. A freshly roasted coffee with high levels of volatile gas will have a Crema that dissipates very quickly- maybe even before it reaches the table. I do appreciate your feedback and hope we can have the chance to impress you again.

  10. Hi Rev,

    I found your blog via your facebook page.
    I visited Pure and found it a Pure waste of money and time. I was greeted (if you could call it that) by a girl with a sour face and gave me the feeling that I was wasting her time being there. The coffee i thought would be the saviour, the bad customer service will be forgotten. Sadly no. I am not one to return coffee and I am glad I didnt from what I read above. Just because Pure has called themselves a boutique coffee bar doesnt make Them an instant expert in the trade and to treat customers with no respect and arrogance.
    I am another person who will not return and after the experience received I am sure I wont be the last.

    • Thanks for the links Rev!
      Darren. I am sad to hear that. I guess I should add a few years to my 15years within the industry, plus working side by side with current SA champ Jonny P and currently looking at becoming head Barista Trainer for one of Australias largest coffee companies. I do appreciate the feedback and I’m sorry Rev for the rant but I thought I needed to clarify some of my qualifications. I can’t be at the shop all the time and I do appoligise for my staff member who must have been having a bad day. Im glad to say that this is 10% of 90% positive feedback we’ve had.
      Regards, Warwick.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: