Category Archives: Stirling

The Organic Market and Café – Stirling, SA

5 Druids Avenue, Stirling, SA, 5251

This is a follow up review to one of the very first I completed back in June 2009, as I had the opportunity and the desire to visit The Organic Market and Cafe on August 5th, because they were one of only four cafes in South Australia to signup to the CaféSmart promotion.

The Organic Market and Café is still a very comfortable, very trendy little Cafe – attached to an Organic Market nestled in a side street, off the main tree lined street of the picturesque and pricey, Stirling.  Parking is still a problem, but that is typical of Stirling at most times of the year. A good thing to do is park up near the steam engine playground, and enjoy the short walk to the Café.

As you do the rounds of the food/coffee review websites, this place seems to get many comments which align with my experience – in that, customer service is not a priority.  After ordering my coffee, I was ignored – do I stand and wait? do I sit down and wait ? – they didn’t ask for a name, so I assumed to should hang around close to the front – because we are all crammed in tight, I was required to move to my left by an assertively sighing waitress whose flow towards the counter was interrupted by annoying customers just wanting to be served. Seriously folks – if you want to see how good customer service is done – visit The Two Bees in Victor Harbor, The Coffee Barun in Sefton Park, or La Terre in Willunga….

Latte Quality – Good – good temperature, good flavour and $1 of my cost went to a good cause.

Cost – $3.50 for a regular (pretty small) take away coffee – in one of the BIO Cups (fully compostable)

Coffee Supplier – Even after two years they still do not promote whose coffee they sell – so, while waiting I ask the barista who then dived under the table and came up with a bag of Vittoria Nero Blend – which is their standard coffee (not organic in any way, shape or form – it is standard ‘food service blend’ by Vittoria – however, they also have an organic bean which you must ask for – however this doesn’t happen very often I was told, and she didn’t know where the beans came from – although the bag and the hand writing on it look suspiciously like it came from ‘The Coffee Barun….

Fair Trade – No – Vittoria do not do a Fairtrade blend, although you can purchase a Rainforest Alliance Ground Coffee from supermarkets (although why, know one knows….)

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

Special Notes – Their standard coffee is NOT organic – which seems to fly in the face of their name, and beliefs from their website – when you order a coffee, make sure you explicitly ask for their organic blend coffee – however, it may cost you a few cents more (not sure, but I do wonder….)

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – No – a very busy place, with people coming and going regularly.
  • Deep and Meaningful – probably a good place for it – enough background noise to allow for safety in conversation topic, but quiet enough so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself.
  • Study and Reflection – being a really busy place, and with there sometimes being a wait on tables – it is probably not the best place for that.

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.

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….;)

The Essence – Stirling, SA

Shop 7, 49 Mt Barker Road, Stirling, SA, 5152

Unless you are a regular or occasional parker of cars in the carpark behind the Stirling shops, then the chances are you have never seen The Essence.  Nestled quietly behind a dry cleaners, with unrivalled views of the car park, The Essence is a café and gourmet deli, all in one.

Nicely decorated, with plenty of inside seating – The Essence also has a series of tables that line a fairly narrow verandah on two sides, and a few tables under a glory vine lined pergola – which would be very nice in the warmer months.  However, be warned  – if you sit on the verandah – be prepared to have to constantly move your legs so as not to trip up the general public, and possibly be accosted by the carbon monoxide of delivery vehicles.

According to the ‘Yourrestaurant Guide’ – Hidden in the main shopping centre is a deli and a cafe in one, so you can buy a tasty lunch and special ingredients for dinner at the same time. While the deli favours Italian food, there are also some Asian items that any home gourmand cannot do without.  

Latte Quality – Good – a touch hot as my tongue still attests – but generally ok.

Cost – $3.50 – which is the average price, but the glass was on the small side of things.

Coffee Supplier – Griffiths Coffee

Fair Trade – Yes and No.  Their information board indicated that they served ‘Fairtrade Organic Coffee’ – but upon investigation via the Griffiths Coffee website, it appears as though Griffiths do not do a Fair Trade or an Organic Blend – they do however have a Rainforest Alliance from Panama. So….

Special Notes – Kid friendly venue – as long as you stay inside – where they provide story books and crayons.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat, Deep and Meaningful, Study – Absolutely – as long as you take into consideration the thing I said about the legs and the CO above – or you could go inside…..

The Organic Market and Café – Stirling, SA

5 Druids Avenue, Stirling, SA, 5251

A very comfortable, very trendy little Cafe – attached to an Organic Market (hence the name) nestled in a side street, off the main tree lined street of the picturesque Stirling.  Parking is a problem, but that is typical of Stirling at all times of the year. A good thing to do is park up near the steam engine playground, and enjoy the short walk to the Café.

Latte Quality – Excellent – only a thin foam but with a 25 second descent rate. Really nice flavour.

Cost – High – at least to begin with – $4.00 – but when the cup (read – bucket) comes to your table, the four bucks seems to be a bargain.

Coffee Supplier – According to the small label on the Coffee machine, the beans used were Vittoria.

Fair Trade – No – however, RIO Fair Trade Beans (and other brands of Fair Trade Tea and Coffee) can be purchased in the Market area.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat – No – a very busy place, with people coming and going regularly.
  • Deep and Meaningful – probably a good place for it – enough background noise to allow for safety in conversation topic, but quiet enough so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself.
  • Study and Reflection – being a really busy place, and with there sometimes being a wait on tables – it is probably not the best place for that.
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