Category Archives: Mahalia

Buying Coffee Beans Online…

[aka Whose Beans are your Beans]

I will lay my cards on the table – I am a ‘johnny come lately’ to the speciality coffee industry – only really becoming a coffee snob in the last 5 years – and it took until a call came from the coast, that I began to investigate purchasing coffee beans online.  I had purchased the occasional bag of beans from a café that served a really nice coffee – and I had purchased a few months supply of Rio Coffee whenever I was in the neighbourhood – but it was not until I discovered Coffeecraft on South Road (thanks to the major delays caused by the Tram overpass), sampled their wares instore, had an afternoons barista training on my own machine and then discovered their policy of free postage and next day delivery that I began to purchase beans online.

My first few purchases were great – and I ordered for safety, going with what I knew and liked – and then I purchased a coffee from The Greenroom on High Street – and asked the lady about the lovely coffee and in an almost evangelical fervour, she told me about the Coffeeworks in Queensland who supplied their Black Mountain blend – and then I began to get adventurous – bought that one, and many others from their range.  I have since ordered coffee a number of times from a number of places – with a few hits and misses – and have ordered beans from cafes with a known quality product – i.e. The Coffee Barun (loved the Ethiopian Sidamo Guji – not so much the Latte Blend – but struggled with the customer service).

Recently, one of my parishioners – in celebration of the birth of my second Son – gave him a onesey and me a bag of Mahalia Blend No.1 which has been divine to drink, but I have been reluctant to buy from them due to the high postage costs – and I have also noticed that Rio Coffee have opened their online shop.

In preparation for this quick reflection and post, I did a perfunctory Google Search on “buying coffee beans online” which returned 4.74 Million results in 0.23 seconds, with only one in the top ten I had heard of before.  The Australian results included:

  1. The Coffee Company
  2. Coffee Hit (I have heard of this one – they were rude to me when I asked about Fairtrade Coffee)
  3. Where Is My Coffee? – which is the self proclaimed “Australia’s Premier Coffee Portal.”
  4. Gigante Coffee
  5. The Coffee Bean Roasting House
  6. Coffee Beans Shop
  7. Coffee Lovers
  8. Bay Beans Caffeinated Aromatherapy (love the name)

My next purchase is going a sample pack from my home region – Barossa Coffee Roasters.

So…where and how do you get your beans?

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The Avondale Deli – Victor Harbor, SA

25 Ocean Street, Victor Harbor, SA, 5211

The Avondale Deli, according to their signage and website, have been serving the good people of Victor Harbor “since 1888 and has just got better and better.”  Touted (again, by their signage) as “Victor’s Best Coffee” the Avondale is an old-school Delicatessen, that serves meals and also functions as a Lotteries Commission Venue.  Honesty in advertising is such a wonderful thing. Between 8:30am and 9:00am, it is one of the only places in Victor Harbor that is open – not just for coffee – but actually open.   I had a coffee from this place not long after we moved down to the coast (over 2 years ago now), but giving them and their signage the benefit of the doubt I ventured back again their this morning, while waiting for my favourite place to open whilst my car was being serviced.

Latte Quality – Passable – the latte I ordered, while having a truly wonderful aroma, tasted watery.

Cost – $3.40 – which is slightly cheaper than the average price these days.

Coffee Supplier – Mahalia Coffee – which is one of my all time favourites – pity.

Fairtrade – Mahalia do do some Fair Trade Coffee but the one used here – and in most locations (see previous reviews) – is their Blend No.2 which is not Fair Trade.

Special Notes – It was open when I needed coffee.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Probably not – for some reason, this place did not give me a good vide – but then again, that is just my personal experience – yours will most likely be different.

Seagull Droppings – Normanville, SA

Seagull Droppings Gallery and Espresso Bar – Corner Main South & Hay Flat Roads, Normanville, SA, 5204

This is one of the funky little art gallery come cafés that seem to pop up all over the place in tourist areas – it is also one of those places where if you blinked at the wrong time you’d miss the sign – but having seen it, you’ll never forget it.  Only open Thursday – Sunday, it is well worth a drop in when you are passing by – not only for the exciting art, which is generally all made in house by artist Andrew Munn, but also for the aesthetics and coffee.  And judging by the number of locals who were there when I called past only minutes after opening, it is a popular place.

Latte Quality – Good – but again, too hot!  Not sure what it is about coffee places in this part of the world, but three out of four need to be checking their thermometres.

Cost – $3.00 – which is a good price, but cup was on the smaller side of things.

Coffee SupplierMahalia – which is one of my favourite South Australian bean sources.

Fair Trade – Mahalia do do some Fair Trade Coffee but the one used here – and in most locations – is their Blend No.2 which is not Fair Trade.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study and Reflection – Yes – seating inside and out (in a courtyard) and I would guess that mostly the artist in residence is not that noisy.  I guess it depends on  how many locals come in for their coffee plus D&M.

aquacaf – Goolwa, SA

Barrage Road, Goolwa, SA, 5214

Having made previous declarations about finding the ‘best coffee’ in ______ and then returning to find that with a different barrista that the coffee is somewhat ordinary, I decided at a ‘Let’s Catch Up for a Coffee’ team meeting, that the next time I find ‘the best coffee in _____’ that I will test my findings twice before posting.  So what follows is the result of two different visits and two different barristas.

I have finally found the best coffee in Goolwa – hands down, without a doubt – stop the presses (paper, garlic, flower, wine or otherwise) you can stop your searching.  Even before moving down here I had heard about the aquacaf, so I was keen to try it – but after several attempts to sample their wares and always finding the place closed, I moved on to other places.  However recently, needing a place for a coffee and a chat type meeting, I decided to give them another go and ‘hazar!’ they were open, and ‘hazar’ the coffee was fantastic.  On my first visit I always went halves with my co-meeter in a custard, caramel noodle thing which was just to die for!  Located on the Goolwa Channel, with views back towards the bridge, and over towards the barrages – it is another fine example of Goolwa’s unrivaled cafe views.  With both indoor and outdoor seating, it is a great place for lunch and a coffee – as long as you are hungry and/or thirty on Thursday through Monday.  Also, be aware that they have a $20 minimum spend if you want to use a card of any sort (kind of annoying when you only want 2 coffees).

Latte QualityLattastic! – sampled twice to make sure – and both times it was near perfect!

Cost – $4.00 – for a large latte in a mug.

Coffee SupplierMahalia Coffee

Fair Trade – No at the aquacaf – at least there were no signs to indicate such – but Mahalia do do a few Fair Trade coffee blends.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – definitely – plenty of seating indoors and out
  • Deep and Meaningful – Yes – as above – inside is noisy enough to cover any confidentialities, but not too noise that you need to shout.
  • Study and Reflection – Yes – I would be tempted to do so on a sermon preparation reading Monday…

Piccalo Espresso – Willunga, SA

Willunga Farmers Market, Willunga, SA, 5172

If you have a few hours spare on a Saturday morning, why not take a drive up or down the coast, depending on where home is for you, and head to the award winning* Willunga Farmers Market?  After parking your car and hiking back to the market, held every Saturday from 8:00am till 12:30pm in the Willunga Town Sqaure, make sure before you ‘Meet the grower and taste the region’ that you locate the Piccalo Espresso coffee cart (read: heavily modified trailer) and grab yourself a latte.  You can then enjoy wandering around the many and varied stalls of quality local produce, gourmet foods and wines, and organic plants.

Latte Quality – Exellent – I was told previously that it was the ‘best coffee on the peninsula’ – and they are probably right, but I always find it hard to judge when drinking out of cardboard. But it certainly was not a bad coffee!

Cost – $3.50 for a member of the Farmers Market – $3.85 for non-members [a membership to the Willunga Farmers Market is $35 annually]

Coffee SupplierMahalia Coffee from Robe, South Australia.

Fair Trade – not served by Piccalo at Willunga, but Mahalia do three varieties of Fair Trade Coffees.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Casual get together with friends who share a love of good food and good coffee.

* [Vogue Australia 2009 Entertaining and Travel – Outstanding  Farmers Market]

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