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Xpress-O on Flinders – Adelaide, SA

281 Flinders Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000

I haven’t been getting out much recently – and with Advent/Christmas rapidly approaching the opportunities to get out and get caffeinated are going to be few and far between.  However, earlier this week after making a hospital visit at the Wakefield, I decided it was time to grab a coffee and read a book.  I considered, for all of half a second, just grabbing a coffee at Hudsons which is in the hospital building – but then decided to venture further a field – but for some reason went to Flinder’s Street and not to Hutt. Xpress-O on Flinders – with signs showing where it is from Hutt Street, is a comfortable looking little cafe, snack and take away bar which I am sure services a few of the local businesses – and indeed at around 2pm was around half full.  However, after my experience – I will not be going back – in fact, if I find myself in the area again – I’ll go to Hudsons! Read the rest of this entry

Aldgate Café – Aldgate, SA

6 Strathalbyn Road, Aldgate, SA, 5154

Not wanting to pass up a lovely day out and about, I also ventured down the road to grab another coffee – from what, at first glance on our drive up to Aldgate – was the busiest of the local cafes.  When I got there, I was the only other patron bar one – but had to wait 10 minutes for service.  If I had been smart I would have paid more attention before walking in, as despite its name being the “Aldgate Cafe” it is more a Pizzeria who has a coffee machine, than a café that also serves pizza.

The walls are lined with an eclectic mix of local art – there are plenty of tables and chairs, and I believe there is also an alfresco bit out the back.  But I came for the coffee, and so to the review.

Latte Quality – Passable – lots of foam, with an interesting first flavour – I think of melons….???  but a really unpleasant after taste, which left me needing another milk back beverage.

Cost – $3.50 for a regular size latte.

Coffee SupplierLavazza

Fair Trade – Nope

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

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat,  Deep and Meaningful, and/or Study and Reflection – No, not really.

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….

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.

Mt Evelyn Bakery & Café – Mt Evelyn, VIC

16 York Road, Mount Evelyn, VIC, 3146

A coffee stop on our whirlwind tour of three distinct expressions of church.  Let’s be honest – as the sign would indicate, this is a bakery that serves coffee – not a coffee shop – so that is an excuse.  The Vanilla slice was great for the first three bites, and then became sickly sweet and the staff were…less than pleased that they had customers.  But other than that….

Latte Quality – Passable.

Cost – $3.00 which is good value for money

Coffee Supplier – not indicated anywhere – which is never a good sign

Fair Trade – see above.

Venue Suitable for:

  • Quiet Chat/Deep and Meaningful/Study and Reflection – probably not – not sure if any of the staff from Careforce frequent this place – they may have a different perspective.

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.
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