Category Archives: Franchise

Coffee Scene – Kinetic Typography

I have heard this conversation standing in line before – in those days when I thought franchise coffee was the way to go.  This is Kinetic Typography of the “coffee scene” in the movie Role Models (starring Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott) by SteveReevesArtist – pinched from coffee funk.

McCoffee is the best? Really???

This from today’s Herald Sun via the Adelaide Advertiser….

A STORM is brewing in the nation’s coffee chains after McDonald’s top-scored in a battle of the baristas.

The fast food giant better known for fries and burgers beat specialty rivals to snatch best coffee house honours in a consumer survey.  McCafe trumped Gloria Jean’s, Hudsons, Muffin Break and The Coffee Club, according to the Canstar Blue poll.  The tick comes just three months after McDonald’s apologised for the sorry state of its coffee and promised to improve.  McCafe got top marks for overall satisfaction and price, tied with Michel’s on service, and came equal first with Perth-based Dome for taste.  The survey revealed 10 per cent of Australians find coffee withdrawal symptoms worse than going without cigarettes, and have tried unsuccessfully to give up their caffeine habit.  To read more, including some interesting comments click HERE

A couple of things on this article:

  1. I would hardly call any of those ‘speciality rivals’ a specialty coffee places – they are mass producing coffee franchises – who, as I am sure you have all experienced do not produce consistently great coffee – but perhaps we could call them passable. It is generic coffee.  Specialty coffee places are your smaller concerns who purchase their beans from origin – perhaps even attend the cup of excellence – roast locally and with consciousness and dedicated baristas serve you a coffee that they long for you to enjoy – see Coffee By The Beans or The Coffee Barun or the Coffee Branch.
  2. Really??  You expect us to believe that this was a genuine survey and not an attempt by the McDonalds Corporation to move past their national apology?

If there are no further posts on this blog, then perhaps I was right with point 2?  Have a great coffee and a great day!!


bb’s café – Mount Barker, SA

Shop S6 Mt Barker Central, McLaren Street, MOUNT BARKER, SA, 5251

While the serious lack of forward planning, and infrastructure development by the local council and state government has done untold damage to Mount Barker as a town (almost a city) – with the narrow streets with more cars then they ever thought they could carry, which make Springvale Road in Melbourne look like an 8 laned super highway, and the empty shops with their newspaper or black plastic window dressings which make it look like an apocalyptic  modern wasteland – the extra people have developed within it a strong coffee culture.  As you will have noticed, that over the last few weeks almost all the reviews have been on places in and around the Mount – this being largely due to my wife having to regularly visit, and then take up temporary residence in the maternity wing of the local hospital with welcoming our second son to the world – and it continues today.

bb’s café is located in the humorously titled ‘Mount Barker Central’ – in the old section, near the Telstra shop and soon to be near some brand new empty shop fronts which are almost finished in what used to the carpark.  I had never seen this place before, nor had I ever heard of the bb’s café franchise (an Australian Company – same one that owns Brumby’s, Donut King, Michel’s Patisserie). The place was clean and tidy, although quite empty – but the staff were very friendly, and my nearly three year old son was taken by the aquarium in the corner.  They also do a ‘shout a friend’ deal, which is basically a buy one get one free thing – on the day I was there it was muffins.

Latte Quality – Passable – the foam was very chunky (large bubbles) and it tasted slightly burnt – but it was just drinkable.

Cost – $4.10 for a regular drink in, which is pretty expensive.

Coffee Supplier – bb’s coffee – they do their own.

Fair Trade – No indication in store – No indication on their website.

Customer Service –  – memorable – you talk about this place – this is how everyone should be, but few are.

Special Notes – I had a blueberry muffin (and got another one free) and it was very nice.  Their promotional material indicates that everything is baked fresh on the premises daily.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – Absolutely – other than us, there was only one other customer in the store – and there was plenty of seating – chairs and couches – and we were there close to 4pm, so this was the after school rush time….

Gloria Jean’s @ Wavos – Mulgrave, VIC

Centro Waverley Garden’s – near Target – Police Road, Mulgrave, VIC, 3170

Now despite this store not even being recognised on the official Gloria Jean’s Coffees Australia website – this was my local store for many years – with friendly staff always making consistently good coffee – trained by barrista extraordinare Calvin – formerly of the GJs on The Kingsway, Glen Waverley – now a national trainer. This place had the advantage of being the only recognised coffee place within walking distance of the college – at least until Stadium opened.  It was great to return here on my recent trip and discover that nothing had changed [Hello, my name is Simon – and it has been three years since my last Wavos GJs coffee].

Latte Quality – Good – Excellent.  Pretty much what you would expect.

Cost – $4.45 – for a regular take away cup – which is on the expensive side compared to other cafés but is consistent with GJs (other than at airports…)

Coffee Supplier – Gloria Jeans Own Brand. 

Fair Trade – No – Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat/Deep and Meaningful/Study and Reflection – I had used it for all of these purposes, being in a large open space at the quieter end of Waverley Gardens.

Gloria Jean’s Coffee – Tullamarine, VIC

Arrivals Hall, Domestic Terminal – Jetstar, Airport Drive, Tullamarine, VIC, 3043

Back when I was a coffee novice – and as embarrassing as this is to admit – I used to love GJ’s Coffee – particularly my local one at Waverley Gardens – and then when I was called to SA, my local at Mount Barker – but I suspect that it was as much to do with the friendly staff [Anna @ Wavos and Greg @ MtB] who I got to know as it was with the coffee.  Well…after this experience…and they say that Melbourne has the best coffee culture in Australia….[yeah, right!]. The best I can say about it is “with a licence to print their own money through their ability to pass off anything that is hot and remotely smelling of coffee to their desperate customers, GJ’s @ Tulla have the market cornered on the baggage collection area of the Qantas and Jetstar airlines however next time I’ll bring a thermos, some powered milk and some freeze dried instant – perhaps some International Rust.”

Latte Quality – Passable – and only because it was my first coffee since 4am when I left home to drive to the airport.

Cost – exorbitant – a small Café Latte will set you back $4.55

Coffee Supplier – Gloria Jean’s have their own brand.

Fair Trade – No although some variants have the ‘Rainforest Alliance’ tag on them.

Venue Suitable for:

  • waiting to be collected and taken to a place that actually understands the art of making coffee….I couldn’t help but notice that Andrew, who was picking me up, brought his own previously purchased coffee.

The Coffee Club – Marion, SA

Kiosk 206 Westfield Shopping Town, 297 Diagonal Rd, OAKLAND PARK,  SA 5046

On my way to see the seventh and penultimate Harry Potter movie, I decided that I needed a caffeine fix – and this place was closest (other than the $3.50 automatic coffee machine ‘coffee’ [word used loosely] available within the new candy bar run at the Cinema) – so I lined up, ordered my latte and proceeded to watch the entertainment that the staff offered. Let me just say, that if my lip reading skills were of higher quality I would have been much more offended at the things that the manager/barista was calling her waiting staff as soon as their backs were turned.  But on to the coffee review…

Latte Quality – Passable – a really long wait, for scoldingly hot coffee – which could just as easily have been instant.

Cost – $4.20 regular latter – which is on the expensive side of things – $4.40 if I wanted it to go.

Coffee SupplierOwn Brand

Fair Trade – No – although they promote their involvement with UTZ Certification – which is “coffee supports the farmers and their families through labour rights, healthcare, water and housing. The program also protects the environment by ensuring water and energy conservation, and protection of the landscape and soil”

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat/Deep and Meaningful/Study and Reflection – Not really as it is located in the busiest part of the Marion shopping complex.  The Coffee Club at Knox City is perfect for all these activities as it was a favourite haunt of mine when I lived in that part of the world.

Gloria Jean’s Coffee – Glenelg, SA

63 Jetty Road, Glenelg, SA, 5045

Yes – I know – another Gloria Jean’s – but I tell you, the quality of the coffee in these franchise places is largely dependent on the skills of the barista. Anyway, I was in the area for a retreat day, and not knowing what else was around, I stuck with what I knew (or so I thought).

Latte Quality – Passable – very little foam to speak of, which meant no ‘hang time’ on the sugar.  The coffee was exceeding hot though, which overall made for a less than satisfactory experience.

Cost – average to high –  $3.75

Coffee Supplier – Gloria Jean’s have their own brand.

Fair Trade – No although some variants have the ‘Rainforest Alliance’ tag on them.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – not really – a very busy store on a major thoroughfare.
  • Deep and Meaningful – not really – I was there at lunch time, so it may be better during the quieter times – if such a store has them.
  • Study and Reflection – Probably – if you are able to get a table, and tune out the noise probably not a bad place.  I do not think it has internet access – there was a guy there with his laptop, and he was using his mobile phone as a modem, so that would indicate a No.
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