Category Archives: Fairtrade

Urban Social Cafe – North Balwyn, VIC

6/321 Balwyn Road, North Balwyn, VIC, 3104

John “Hannibal” Smith was noted as often saying in the A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together,” however it is often just as good when the plan goes totally and utterly pear shaped!” as I discovered in relation to Urban Social.  I had attended the Manningham Prayer Breakfast at the Manningham Club in Bulleen and being a complete nube when it comes to Melbourne – when leaving I did the Adelaidean thing and avoided the line up of traffic, that was obviously not going where I wanted to go and went around them, only to discover that they were lining up to get on the Eastern Freeway, which is where I needed to be.  Next thing I knew I was over the Eastern and into a leaving green hilly suburb that was completely unfamiliar. So I turned down the nearest street, grabbed my phone to find my bearings.  Once satisfied that I hadn’t fallen through the looking glass and could quite easily make it back to the office by another route, I grabbed Beanhunter to find the best coffee along my way – and that is how I found Urban Social in the back streets of leafy North Balwyn, but 10 minutes from my desk.

This is a very trendy place to hang out – perhaps skewed toward the upwardly mobile soccer Mums – with good parking and plenty of space between tables for pushers – its comfortable, clean, stylish – and I am sure, a mecca for the two wheeled lycra set on the weekends.  I liked this place!

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Espresso Royale – Magill, SA

357 Magill Road, St Morris, ‎ SA,  5068

I have been wanting to visit Espresso Royale (don’t you just love the way they spell Espresso…??) since my very first ristretto at The Pantry – I know! – Not what you thought I’d write – but [wait for it] Espresso Royale is the home of speciality coffee roaster Trevor De Groot – whose company, along with Bernadette Stack, supplies the beans to The Pantry on Egmont – hence the connection.  On Tuesday, with my hospital visit over and my horrible experience of another coffee still littering my pallette – I thought “before my wife calls to come collect her – I’ll just duck out to St Morris for a quality coffee” 10 mins later – I was kind of there.

The first problem I had was finding the place – as there is literally nothing from the road that says “Espresso Royale” – there is the greenish blue a-frame sign which you see in the picture, but it gives little away.  The second problem which I had to solve before the first was parking our ‘recently returned from the crash repairers’ car – NEVER LEAVE YOUR CAR ON MAGILL ROAD – unless you are pro amateur car remodelling at 50km/hr. Car parked in a side street, and using my iPhone’s GPS – I eventually discovered that the place with the red verandah and greenish-blue sign was in fact the legendary place itself.

The inside is tiny, yet comfortable – succeeding to be funky and eclectic, yet still 1960s kitchenish (I wonder how many words I have invented in the life of this blog?) – in a way that the original Bar 9 completely missed.  You can purchase recently roasted De Groot coffee on the shelf – if you like what you tasted – and have brought cash – no plastic here my friend – except for the table tops – see below!

Now to the coffee itself….

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the pantry on egmont – Hawthorn, SA

2 Egmont Terrace, Hawthorn, SA, 5062

The Pantry On Egmont confirms what many of us coffee addicts have long suspected – that Adelaide has finally arrived on not just the national, but on the international coffee stage – because there are Baristas out there who are not just interested in their or their employers bottom line – but are passionate about the coffee they make, and want – above all else – for the coffee to be a joyful experience for the consumer – and Stef – from the Pantry is one of those guys!  (see also Daniel at Coffee By The Beans, The Coffee Barun and so I am lead to believe but have not yet tried – Espresso Royale @ Magill, and Taylor’s Blend @ Stonyfell)

Nestled comfortably between upper class old suburbia and the Belair railway line in the ever so leafy and green Hawthorn – the Pantry On Egmont – is a place that in truth, I really do not want to  review  – because it may mean that the secret becomes too common knowledge and it ruins my future experiences.  I just loved the place!  Comfortable – like sitting in your Nanna’s kitchen – complete with the old school kitchen tables and mis-matched chairs – The Pantry pulls off, what the Tango Turtle over reaches – trendy – arty – yet comfortable, welcoming and with top notch customer service.  Their food is also excellent – during my brief stay, I enjoyed (on the house) a biscuit made by the mother of one of the owners, the just prepared filling of the Rabbit Pot Pie which was the Chef’s special for Lunch with some hot turkish bread – which was do delicious, that I couldn’t help having the actual pie for Lunch (which I paid for – along with my three lattes and a ristretto) – ahh the joys of Ministry, peer to peer mentoring and student preacher mentoring at BCSA!!  Now to the review:

Latte Quality – Lattastic!! – I know I said I would never make this declaration without a few visits – but just as I mentioned in my review of Coffee By The Beans [click above] and in fairness to me (a) this is my blog, so it is my opinion we are going with; (b) I live in Goolwa, they are in Hawthorn – how often am I going to get the chance; (c) I did have a Ristretto and three lattes and (d) again, this is my blog.  Today we were drinking a Single Origin Honduras – which as a ristretto was super sweet with hints of melon and cinnamon, and as a latte was just gorgeous!! Read the rest of this entry

Tango Turtle Retro Art Café – Willunga, SA

30 High Street, Willunga, SA, 5172

Willunga is quickly becoming the place to go for a ‘café crawl’ – with the Tango Turtle joining the ranks of my reviewed cafés in Willunga, with still as least three more to go.  Situated in a reborn Petrol Station, the Tango Turtle is decked out to reflect the third and fourth words in its over long full name, replete with an eclectic assortment of linoleum topped kitchen tables and chairs from the 50s, 60s and 70s of last century.  The walls of the Turtle are used to display the works of local artists, while the former drive through area features plenty of outdoor seating and umbrellas.

I ventured in mid-morning on a Willunga Farmer’s Market Saturday – when the town of Willunga is full to bursting with people – to find that other than a full table outside, and a woman sitting guard at the door – I was the only person in the place – and still, most of the waiting staff were too busy to offer me service – leaving it to the barista to eventually take my order.  Then while I was waiting (not really any space in which to do so) I was asked to move so that an old lounge chair could be moved back into a 45 degree angle relevant to the table by a staff member who appeared out of nowhere – this despite the blackboard at street level saying ‘great coffee and great service’ – this is actually my third time here (first intentional review) and this was my best customer service experience – but to the coffee review. Read the rest of this entry

Corso Café – Mount Barker, SA

46 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

If you have managed to survive taking your own life into your hands by either walking down, or carefully negotiating the congested traffic of the one-way Main Street of Mount Barker – otherwise known as Gawler street – and having bypassed Millies, Ground for Coffee, Sazo’n Espresso, Our Little Café, then the last chance you have for a coffee before you hit the organic cafés, the shopping centre cafés and the Home decorator centre coffee shop is The Corso Café – on the right hand side, just before the bank (Which Bank? – I hear you ask….not that one).

The first thing you notice about the Corso Café, is that it is orange – not sure what this implies – but the huge sign out the front is orange, and so are their business cards.  Beyond making coffee – which they do – hence the review – according to the business card, they are also into ‘Fine food – Wood oven – Catering’ – which is all very nice.  However, based on my brief – one off experience I wouldn’t be exploring the extent of their fine food (they have menus on the wall above the kitchen – but even with my glasses on I was unable to read them – and they had a selection of sweets and savories on display, which I assume you were allow to negotiate the purchase and consumption thereof) – as my presence was treated as an imposition.  Is customer service too much to ask for?  Do cafés want return patrons?  Anyway, before I get back onto my soapbox, here is the review:

Latte Quality – Excellent – a touch hot – I do not understand how this happens, as most baristas I see have the thermometer in the jug – yet it comes well above the ideal drinking temperature.

Cost – $3.80 – which is above the average price – but ok for a take-away – $3.00 for a regular if you drink in.

Coffee Supplier – La Crema – but I had to ask as there was no promotional material to indicate – however, this question seemed to be another imposition. La Crema coffee is also served across the road at Our Little Café – so this gives you the chance to see how a different barista can change the flavour of the coffee, and how customer service can influence your coffee experience.

Fair Trade – Big Fairtrade Logo up on the side of the fridge – but no information to say what it meant, or what how it related to the coffee – but La Crema do an award winning Fairtrade Blend so we assume this is what I consumed.

Customer Service –   – acknowledged my presence and value as a carbon based entity – but not much more.

Special Notes – Plenty of seating indoors, and a couple of tables on the footpath.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Not a problem for any of these activities – I was in at lunch time, and it was comfortably full – but not packed.

rubys organic cafe – Stirling, SA

29 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, SA, 5152

I have actually frequented Rubys on a number of occasions – when I first moved back to SA, I came here with friends – when I was having problems in a previous ministry, I came here with a mentor for sage advice – when a colleague of mine from Victoria was interviewing with a local Baptist church, this was the place that we came too for a coffee – so I have known about rubys for quite some time, and now finally have done a review.

According to the business card which you can grab as you walk past, ‘rubys organic cafe is a licensed and certified organic café specialising in gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and organic food’ and it also does coffee.  The café itself is pretty small – with about 6 tables inside, and the same number on the footpath – so you need to choose your time of day carefully.  After you have placed your order and sat down, you need to listen carefully – over the noise of the cars, buses, coffee grinder and espresso machine – as your name is brutalised, which indicates that your coffee is ready and you can come collect it from the window – kind of Cibos on Gouger Street.  If you choose to sit outside – the plastic café blinds make the experience kind of like having a coffee in a hothouse – but other than that….

Latte Quality – Excellent – easily the best coffee of my day spent reading and reflection upon the theological concept of the Wilderness and Exodus.

Cost – $3.80 – which is higher than average – and the glass was smaller that my previous coffees – but it easily tasted the best.

Coffee Supplier – Brasilia Coffee

Fair Trade – Again, Yes and No.  No mention of their coffee being Fair Trade – but their sugar was.

Special Notes – I also ordered a mini cheesecake (pictured) after a nasty sauce pie experience courtesy of the Lobethal Bakery franchise around the corner – and while it looked yummy, it was actually so dry it was hard to swallow. I needed the coffee to lubricate my throat in order to eat it – not sure if it was gluten, dairy or organic free – but it was certainly moisture free.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – It would really depend on your timing and your ability to do all this amidst distraction.  This was easily the busiest place in Stirling and for the middle of the afternoon, it was not unusual to have a line of 5 people waiting for take away coffee – let alone the numbers waiting for food inside.

The Loca·vore – Stirling, SA

49 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, SA, 5152

Not sure how long this place has been trading for, but to me it seems very much a Stirling kind of place (for those who live in Melbourne – think Olinda, or Sassafras – for those from Hobart, think Sandy Bay…).  In fact, when I ventured in at lunch time last week I was not even sure if I was allowed to be there – the door was wide open, the lights were on – but there didn’t seem to be anybody home – and then, wearing my jeans and a t-shirt, when I ordered just a latte…well I guess the best you can say, is that my patronage was tolerated.

The Loca·vore looks very trendy – and from a design perspective (a throw back to my life before ministry and coffee), I loved it – the blend of the bricks and timber and glass – it felt great.  There is plenty of comfortable looking seating inside, and a smattering of tables on the footpath (from where I took the above photo).  It was great place to sit and watch all the expensive cars go by.

One thing I like, and must give them credit for is their ethos – from their website:

Locavore (local-eater) lives by the principles of the 100-mile diet. That is wherever possible, all produce is sourced from within a 160 km radius. When in doubt we follow these principles:  If not local, family farmed; if not family farmed, organic; if not organic then fair-trade. A recent Choice Magazine survey found that the average basket of food in Australia has travelled 72 000 km. So we estimate we have saved 300 000 000 food kilometres, since we opened in October 2007.

Latte Quality – Good – there was an excess of foam on the glass (see picture) – but that just insulated a strong, deep and rich flavoured coffee with hints of caramel…

Cost – $3.80 – which is higher than average – but probably about right for Stirling.  In its defence, the glass was bigger than the previous latte in Stirling.

Coffee Supplier – Brasilia Coffee

Fair Trade – Again, Yes and No.  Their menu board said that all their coffee and tea was Fairtrade – but the Fairtrade logo was no where to be seen, and to the best of my knowledge (happy to be set straight) Brasilia don’t do a Fairtrade blend.

Special Notes – When not just serving coffee, The Loca·vore is a wine bar, a tappas bar and a live music friendly venue.  They also have  a website, which is just to be finished – just like the Brasilia Coffee one….

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – I would say yes – it was quiet enough for sure – but make sure you dress appropriately and perhaps order more than just a coffee.
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