Kelvin Lu grew up in coffee, with his parents owning and operating cafés since the early 2000s. Setting out on his own with Café Ambassador in 2019, Kelvin saw it as a chance to present specialty coffee to the town of Southport on the Gold Coast.
“The word ‘ambassador’ is significant to us, and it’s what we try to do here – whether that’s of specialty grade coffee, our partners, or for coffee culture overall,” Kelvin says.
Café Ambassador partners with Veneziano Coffee Roasters for its coffee, serving the “robust and classic” Forza blend and Bella blend for “a more acidic and fruity offering”. A rotation of single origins is used for pour over coffee.
“We definitely have customers that come back on a regular basis to try the different single origins – the die-hard coffee enthusiasts that wants their filters and double espressos,” Kelvin says. “It takes time to build that kind of following, but we’ve now got a reputation with black coffee drinkers.”
The collaborative relationship between the café and its roaster has proven beneficial to both sides, helping present the coffee in the best way possible.
“We talk regularly in person and on the phone about how we can move coffee forward and raise the bar higher,” he says.
As well as the small specialty following Café Ambassador has gathered in the year since it opened, its location by the main entrance of Australia Fair Shopping Centre has been a big driver of traffic. The café’s minimalistic aesthetic, featuring plenty of white, timber, and copper, gives it a ‘clean’ feel that draws in customers without distracting from the coffee.
Like the rest of the Gold Coast, Café Ambassador is feeling the loss of international visitors due to COVID-19. However, with Queensland in a good position at time of writing, many of the town’s locals are returning to the swing of things.
“Southport is the CBD of the Gold Coast and we’re seeing office workers slowly come back to work,” Kelvin says. “Things in Queensland are definitely getting better, and there’s been a big leap forward with our COVID progress.”
The main lesson Kelvin has taken away from the COVID-19 pandemic is to make the best of what you can and remain loyal to those that are loyal to you.
“It was a tough time for us to get through, but we want to come back strong,” Kelvin says. “We don’t want to let our loyal customers down. They’re familiar with the venue, and we want them to be able to come back and enjoy our service here.”
Shop G171/42 Marine Parade, Southport, Queensland, 4215
Open weekdays 7am to 3pm, weekends 8am to 3pm
(07) 5532 8800