Category Archives: Mount Barker

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….
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Bamboo Talk Café – Mount Barker, SA

Shop 10/69 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

This great little asian inspired “tea cafe corner” is just what Mount Barker needed – being a town with a surplus of pub/bistro/pizza/modern Australia type food but little else.  With great service from Becky and Sharon, the Bamboo Talk Cafe is popular at lunch time with its Vegetarian/Vegan sushi, yum cha and other asian influenced delights – I can recommend the mix sushi platter and the chilli squid with stir fry veg.  They also have a coffee machine for afters…

Latte Quality – Good – the foam was full of bubbles, which indicated the milk wasn’t properly stretched – but the flavour was ok.

Cost – $3.20 – which is below average for the standard sized latte glass.

Coffee Supplier – Griffiths Coffee

Fair Trade – No.

Special Notes – Open until 3pm – so make sure you are their prompt for lunch, or early for their all day breakfast….

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Yes – for all of these.  There is limited seating indoor, but plenty of seating under the verandah.

Laratinga Café – Mount Barker, SA

Adelaide Hills Homemaker Centre, Shop K 6 Dutton Rd. Mt Barker SA 5251

This is a review which I could almost call ‘Sign’ – as in artist formerly known as Prince – because Laratinga, is the café formerly known as The Bean Bar (which after a cursory Internet search seems to have gone out of business everywhere….did anyone notice?  does anyone know why?).  Taking over the old Bean Bar premises – lock, stock and no smoking barrels – Laratinga just put their information over the old and kept on trading – so, like a couple of other cafes in the town – the Laratinga is bright orange (see also Our Little Café and Corso Café) but has the advantage of also being an internode internet hotspot – it has plenty of seating, and is blessed with like a 1000 car parks – just avoid trying to get in or out during the 3:15-3:45pm period – because the car park resembles the one at ‘The Dome’ (the venue formerly known as the Clipsal Powerhouse, and after that The Distinctive Home Dome….The Dome is the Home of the Brett Maher Court…if that helps) after the Sixers have lost another game.

Latte Quality – Excellent – great flavour, good foam percentage – pretty much as I remember the best of The Bean Bar.

Cost – average  – a regular Café Latte will set you back $3.50

Coffee Supplier – Aroma Fresh Coffee – just like the old Bean Bar

Fair Trade – no mention in store or on their website, so it would be safe to assume – No.

Customer Service –  – average – pretty much what you would expect – you go away neither blown away by the experience, nor complaining about it;

Special Notes – I also ordered a Raspberry Muffin – when when served was slightly heated and very nice!

Venue Suitable for:  Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study and Reflection – It used to be ok for all of these purposes, but if yesterdays traffic was anything to go on – perhaps not – I was in there in the late afternoon and the place was full (only one spare table) and while I was there enjoying my yummy Raspberry Muffin, there was a steady stream of customers coming and going.  Ye Olde Bean Bar used to do tables out the back near the bike path/creek – so if these return for warmer weather, that would make it more usable for pastoral matters.

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.

Over the next few weeks

Over the next few weeks

Over the last few weeks, this blog and its potential have really captured my ‘spare-time’ imagination – and I am really getting more and more passionate about good coffee and where to find it.  But having said that, you my loyal readers (there must be at least two of you now) need to know that over the next few weeks, reviews will be few and fare between because we are hopefully adding an extra person to our family of three. My wife of five years is now overdue, in preparation for the birth of our second child – he/she was due on July 31st – so any day now (or so we have been saying).  I have a few reviews up my sleeve which are scheduled to go out every two days – just to keep things flowing – but there will be very little new review action probably until September – when we as a family begin to re-emerge as an awesome foursome.

Scheduled reviews include:

  • The Loca·vore – Stirling;
  • rubys organic cafe – Stirling;
  • Corso Cafe – Mt Barker;
  • Organic Market & Cafe – Stirling.
please note that the image above does not represent the opinion of the blogger – pets are for life, not for espresso….;)

Our Little Café – Mount Barker, SA

37 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

I suspect that Our Little Café is the mysterious ‘My Café’ that I was told to review in Mt Barker, but could never find.  Who ever said that Google couldn’t answer any question?  Well Our Little Café is nestled next to my old favourite salon – back when I had hair that needed the salon treatment – Spoilt Hair & Beauty – and from memory, the last time I had hair, and therefore was a client of Spoilt, this little cafe under a previous guise had bright purple walls. Now they are a bright shade of orange. They make good use of space for a small area, with plenty of tables and a good array of food on offer, including some gluten free options – my wife quite liking their Jaffa Slice!  After I had ordered my coffee, I looked down at the counter and saw a mate’s CDs for sale, and then turned to my left and saw his bearded face (beards of the world unite!) starring back at me!!  So this place must be good!

Latte Quality – Good heading towards Excellent – the coffee was served to me far to hot, and my tongue is still a bit funny, some 6 hours later.  But the coffee flavour was really nice, ending with hints of mocha.

Cost – $4.00 – which is above average for a regular size.

Coffee Supplier – La Crema

Fair Trade – Didn’t seem to be any indication that what I was about to drink was Fairtrade, however La Crema does do a very nice Fairtrade coffee.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – most likely, but it would depend on number of customers and the time of day.  I was in – after having to work out how to use the door – they have recently installed a new door closer that is a bit stiff – at around 2:30pm, and the place was quiet, but when I had driven past earlier in the day I think it would have been full.

Sazo’n Espresso – Mount Barker, SA

Shop 1/24 Gawler Street, Mount Barker, SA, 5251

If this place had been open when I lived in the Mount, I would….well, at least my wife would have known where I was when I was not home.  This is the sort of place that every town needs – and I hope upon hope that they open a second one in Goolwa quick smart.  But before the review, let’s back up a bit.

A while back I asked my reader (you know who you are) if they knew of some places that I really needed to check out – and among the many suggestions (well, four of them) was a place called ‘My Cafe’ in Mount Barker, and after many searches, I had – much like my search for Nessie and the Abominable Snowman – given up.  However today was nice – it was one of the days, despite the nip in the air, the sun was shining and the green of the Adelaide Hills was glorious, and seeing as though I had to be in Mount Barker so my wife could be checked up on (she is nearly 38 weeks pregnant) I thought I would search one last time for the mysterious ‘My Cafe.’  Well, to cut a long story short – as I was trawling down Gawler Street, I saw those two little words that send a shiver of excitement through the cafinatious gland of any coffee snob – “Espresso Bar”  – and there it was, like an appearance of an oasis [not the band – heaven forbid – not the band] – Sazo’n.

Words cannot do this place justice – you MUST go there and check it out – from the funky design of the interior, to the cool(ish) music that sets the vibe,  the many comfortable outdoor seating opportunities, to the friendly, courteous and knowledgeable  staff (my wife commented on their customer service – which is a HUGE thing people – it is one of our biggest peeves) this place has it all – and I haven’t even mentioned the Coffee yet.  Yes – they do, do coffee!!

Latte Quality – Lattastic! – Now I know that I have said before that I wouldn’t rush in to making such a bold assessment – but in fairness to me (and this is my blog after all) after my first Sazo’n experience, I did give them a couple of hours grace and then returned to try again – and it was just as good, if not better!!

Cost – $4.00 – which is above average for a regular size – but between you and me, I think it is worth it!!

Coffee Supplier – Veneziano Caffe – which is a new one to me, but is brilliant.  You can buy the beans at Sazo’n or order them online.

Fair Trade – Probably not – at least there was no mention in store, but Veneziano do do a “Pure™ ‘Fairtrade Organic” – I’ll let you know what it is like!

Special Notes – They do a full breakfast and lunch menu is the Mexican style – and they are also conscious of people’s food intolerances and allergies – so KC was glad when the waitress took the time to come around the counter and explain to her which of the yummy looking sweet food was gluten free!  The Portuguese Tart that I had was great!

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – there is the potential for all three uses – however when KC went in there she said the music was a bit ‘doof, doof’ in persuasion which kind of makes studying difficult, and would knock any sort of D&M on the head – but when I went back, the music was more acoustic guitar based, which I could study too – and when the weather allows, you can always sit outside.
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