Brisbane Coffee

One of the joys of living in Wellington must be it’s coffee. Not that coffee is grown anywhere nearby but as a result of a thriving local coffee roasting scene, not to mention an active coffee shop scene. Cafes live or die based on their ability to provide a well-made coffee based on sound technique but above all, freshly roasted & ground beans.

According to my intensive research on the matter, there are about 8 roasteries in the Wellington area, most of which will provide freshly roasted coffee beans to its customers (that is, to its cafes which usually promote the roasting company for the benefit of the discerning drinker).

One quickly becomes accustomed to drinking coffee that is certainly ground on the same day and often roasted within the last 48 hours. My own personal favourite just happened to be People’s Coffee in Newtown, which was not only within walking distance from home but roasted beans on the premises. About once a week, I would walk to Newtown to purchase 100 grams of freshly ground coffee which was almost guaranteed to be roasted within the previous 24 hours. I would stop for a chat with Dave & consume one of his expertly delivered coffees.

One gets spoilt. Its just one of those things that the coffee scene in most of Australia is way behind Wellington. I have struggled to find access to any roastery within spitting distance of St.Lucia (where I am staying) but eventually things have worked themselves out to my satisfaction.

However, it has involved going through the discovery process. Firstly, the quality of coffee delivered at most Brisbane coffee shops is on average, vastly inferior to the typical Wellington offering. Much of the coffee used in the local cafes is based on beans roasted & ground outside Australia, which have been shipped in vacuum packs just as one finds in supermarkets everywhere. Not that this coffee is necessarily bad, but there is little chance the coffee was roasted less than a month before it is consumed.

And probably due to the much greater influence of Mediterranean culture in Australia (ie Italians, Greeks etc.), there is clearly a bias towards coffee directly imported in vacuum packs from Italy – or so it seems.

But lets get to the point, what do you do if you are in St.Lucia and want fresh coffee ? Well, Zarraffa’s Coffee is available at Toowong Village shopping centre. My understanding is that they get deliveries of freshly roasted beans once a week on Wednesday morning. These roasted coffee beans are stored in vacuum packs in a freezer. The tip is that the freshest is at the back of the freezer.

I have now consumed coffee from many outlets at the University of Queensland. Most are fairly ordinary. However, the cafe (Bar Merlo) just outside the front door of the main library in the Duhig Building seems to produce the best. The brand is Merlo and they deliver (as I am told) freshly roasted beans to this cafe every morning. They also sell the beans & can grind them on the spot. I was promised that the roasted beans were never more than 48 hours old. It is also significantly cheaper than Zarraffa’s and if you purchase beans, a gratis coffee is provided.

It has taken a bit more work but a good coffee is possible.