Pawpaw Café

Customers who set foot inside Pawpaw could be forgiven for thinking they’d landed in an tropical paradise. Replete with palm tree wallpaper and raw wooden furnishings, Café Manager Giorgina Venzin says Pawpaw was designed to be “an exotic escape” in inner Brisbane. Read more

The Two Professors

In April 2014 café Co-Owners Rory Cremin and Lachlan McMurtrie brought their eclectic style and dedicated coffee passion to the residents of Rockhampton. The café had already been established for a few years under a different brand, but Rory and Lachlan were confident they could reignite the café into a popular coffee haunt.

“We wanted to add our own style. We saw a gap in the market in Rockhampton for specialty coffee, and we wanted to push the fact we knew a bit more then the average local about coffee,” says Rory. “The city didn’t have anyone pushing quality like Melbourne and Sydney does.”

Rory has spent the past eight years working in hospitality venues, while Lachlan is an engineer by trade and calls himself an “avid coffee drinker”. He still assists running a small business in town while juggling his newfound caffeine addiction.

The pair transformed the sterile white walls with splashes of colour and added ornaments to create style. “We wanted something that intrigued people, so we’ve gone with a style that’s a bit eclectic in terms of furnishings, with the theme of an new school library,” says Lachlan.

While the style is important to the boys, so too is their coffee focus. All their baristas are put through training, and even the locals are invited to attend a barista course once a month. “Coffee isn’t an afterthought here, it’s our menu focus,” says Rory. “We stand by our motto: Your Coffee. Our Science.”

The coffee is roasted from Duckinwilla Coffee Roasters in Maryborough. The house blend is Formula One, which Rory describes as “a bold coffee that stands out in milk with caramel and nut flavours, and acidity when served as an espresso”.

Six single origins are on display at any one time with favourites including lots from Costa Rica. A range of alternate brew methods are also available. “There’s always a lot of intrigued eyes once we light up the syphon,” says Rory.

Two Professors serves the only fresh-baked bagels in Rockhampton with their American-influenced menu. A must-try is the Reuben bagel with corned beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut. “It’s an exciting time in Rockhampton. More people have an appreciate for quality coffee and are prepared to wait in line for a coffee,” says Lachlan.

Billy Kart Kitchen

Celebrity Chef Ben O’Donoghue has worked in dozens of top Australian restaurants. But after years of cooking in fine dining establishments, he and his wife Dee wanted a seachange. “The idea of operating a café together with three kids at school seemed like a great idea. We thought it would provide a perfect work balance,” says Dee. “It’s been challenging but it’s very rewarding.”

Dee and Ben bought an old corner store in Annerley, Queensland and opened their café in October 2014. “We wanted to create a traditional local cornerstore feel with a relaxed atmosphere, but quality in both our food and coffee,” says Dee.

She says the venue’s design creates a nostalgic ambiance with cool dark colours and modern colour pops, which are sympathetic to the corner store’s origins. The name of the venue is inspired from a conversation Dee had with a local resident. “She told me that post-war local kids would ride billy carts through the streets. We thought it was an appropriate name that tied into our community-driven café,” she says.

Billy Kart Kitchen serves Campos Coffee’s Superior blend on a turquoise La Marzocco machine. “It’s a complex, rich, and sweet blend with up-front stone fruit notes and a brulée caramel finish,” says Dee. “At first people started coming in for the food because they knew Ben and we were swamped with customers. Now we’re getting just as much interest for our coffee.”

Ben has used Campos Coffee at his restaurants before, and had no hesitation in partnering with them again. “Campos Coffee is so supportive of new businesses. They supplied us with our beautiful machine and providing training so we’d have consistency across the board,” says Dee. “We love the story behind Campos too, and their business ethos really fits with our core business values.” 

Billy Kart Kitchen serves Ben’s casual yet sophisticated menu for breakfast, lunch, and Friday night dinners. Over the weekends the kitchen staff churn out more than 300 meals a day, with breakfast being their most popular meal. Favourite brekkie items include crispy corn fitters, the Aussie Asian breakfast with duck egg, and the pulled Berkshire pork shoulder sandwich for lunch. “We want to highlight simplistic food done really well,” says Dee.

Skull and Bones Espresso Boutique

Located just 100 metres from beautiful Mermaid Beach in the heart of the Gold Coast is Skull and Bones Espresso Boutique. Owner Jesse Garlick has worked in the coffee industry since he was 18, and he still has a passion for making quality coffee.

After many years of embracing Melbourne’s café scene, Jesse was keen for a seachange. He moved to the sunny Gold Coast, but there was one thing lacking. “I felt there was a gap in the local market for good specialty coffee. I knew the residents enjoyed coffee as much as I did, they just needed someone to step up, so I did, and opened Skull and Bones Espresso Boutique in 2012,” he says.

The café is located next to a precinct of art galleries, bars and restaurants, which Jesse says attracts a great mix of tourists and local residents. “The thing that stands out about our venue is our focus – we love what we do and we do it well,” he says.

Jesse has taken the interior design into his own hands and built the café’s furniture, using plywood and steel piping materials, in a style he describes as “simple yet comfortable”. The café serves Toby’s Estate’s Woolloomooloo blend for its house offering on a Kees van der Westen Mirage Triplette. “Our house blend is a different coffee profile to what the Gold Coast is used to, but that’s why we love it. It consists of seven different origins, which creates a great flavour profile with acidity, nuttiness and fruit flavours. It’s a good all rounder blend from lattes to piccolos,” says Jesse.

The Woolloomooloo blend is used for Skull and Bones Espresso Boutique’s bottled cold press coffee. The café also serves Toby’s Estate’s selection of single origin coffees that change weekly. “They have an amazing selection of coffees with favourites including the Brazil Carnival, La Trinadad, and a range of Geishas which have been great on chemex and V60 pour over,” says Jesse.

The café hosts coffee cuppings and chemex tastings each month. “With serving specialty coffee comes the responsibility of education. People want to know about the origins of beans and how they’re produced. Toby’s Estate gives us that education with training,” says Jesse.
A full menu is also on offer with a range of New York-inspired foods including bagels, berry waffles and traditional eggs. “We invite everyone to come take a seat, enjoy our coffee and food, then go for a surf,” says Jesse.

Lady Marmalade Café

Mal Gill and Bec Saul have had a dream run since being participants on reality cooking show My Kitchen Rules in 2011. Mal won the Great Australian Sandwichship in 2013 and a culinary trip to New York to discover its food culture as part of his winning prize. But, at the heart of their success is Lady Marmalade Café. Read more

Red Baron Coffee


Red Baron Owner Matthew Keegan compares working in a shipping container to that of a submarine. “It’s a tight space and we do trip over each other at times, but I enjoy the challenges that small spaces creates, such as storage and seating issues,” he says. “Small spaces create atmosphere, there’s a nice buzz about it.”

Taking inspiration from Melbourne’s obsession with pop-up venues and whole-in-the-wall cafés, Matthew has established Brisbane’s first espresso bar operating from a used shipping container. “It took a while to source and transport the 20-foot container, but we’ve converted it into a great space that was formerly just a car park space,” says Matthew.

The container was green to begin with, before Matthew painted it red, added doors, installation and some hand-made benches. “We wanted to keep the space as bare as possible to keep the feel of working out of a container,” he says.

Located in an office precinct, Matthew says the locals have embraced the new attraction. “Everyone loves it. We’re the reason they creep out of their office so often,” says Matthew.

Red Baron Coffee contract roasts through Veneziano Coffee. Matthew uses a Syncro multi-boiler machine to produce their blend, which he says is “strong and chocolately” that’s ideal for espresso and milk-based coffee. Different single origins are available at the container each week, with regular favourites from South America and Africa.

Red Baron Coffee makes their own ice coffee, a perfect drink to enjoy in the Brisbane sunshine. Take-away food is available and aimed at time-poor office workers, including caramel tarts, gourmet sandwiches, wraps, salads, and fruit salads.

Prior to exploring his passion for coffee Matthew tried his hand at many things. But along with his brother, their niggling obsession with coffee got the better of them. As such, Matthew successfully opened Red Baron Coffee in Bardon in 2009 before opening his second Red Baron venue in Brisbane in February 2013. “I’m loving it. Coffee has given me so many great opportunities. Getting to craft something that’s gone beyond people’s needs, but is moreso a necessity for many, is really rewarding,” says Matthew. “People appreciate what we do and the product we serve.”

Nessun Dorma Coffee Roasters

Listen closely to the background sounds at Nessun Dorma Coffee Roasters, and chances are the same-named aria by Luciano Pavarotti will be playing.

Nessun Dorma is the latest venture for Roslyn Gibbons-Munch and Matthew Aplin, who after more than 11 years in the coffee industry have decided to roast their own blends.

“We thought, lets take our passion and experience and apply it to a roasting facility,” says Co-Owner Roslyn. “We decided to develop a well balanced coffee that would appeal to many but is unlike anything currently available.”

The pair has created a sensory experience where customers can view Matthew roasting during café hours on their 10-kilogram Turkish Has Garanti roaster. “We wanted people to see the whole process of coffee production, from the roaster to the cup. It’s also a great way to open dialogue between roasters and customers and interact with them about the coffee we serve,” says Matthew.

Matthew and Roslyn spent months perfecting the Eduardo blend, which won a bronze medal the inaugural Australian International Coffee Awards in May. This blend consists of three different beans from Brazil, Colombia, and Rwanda.

“This smooth blend has a beautiful chocolate body, blueberry and vanilla flavours from the Rwandan beans, and fantastic medium acidity,” says Matthew.

An Organic blend is also available. This is a more complex coffee with cherry flavours, citrus, and spice notes. Single origins rotate frequently, with popular favourites including beans from Colombia, Kenya, and Papua New Guinea. These are great options for pour over and cold drip coffees.

Nessun Dorma sports a custom-made power green Ruggero Expobar machine and a calming interior with warm lighting and colours. The café serves breakfast and lunch, including their popular Belgian waffles with bacon and ice cream. “The people of Yeronga are loving the fact that they have a boutique roaster in town. People’s expectations are that they’re going to get a really good coffee from a roaster, so that’s the standard we have to achieve, and our strong customer base consolidates that,” says Roslyn.

Dramanti Artisan Roasters

Some of coffee’s best-kept secrets are those of the beaten track. Take Dramanti Artisan Roasters in the Brisbane suburb of Wynnum for instance – nestled deep in the corner of Queensland’s industrial backstreets, surrounded by factories, barb wire fences and train lines. However, as Owner and Head Roaster Dragan Sestic attests, location is no barrier.

“This is a really geeky and strange place but I love it,” says Dragan. “If I roast quality coffee then people will come, simple as that. Hundreds of people told me this was the wrong place to set up, but since the day we opened we’ve seen lots of people walk through the doors.”

After roasting for 12 years, Dragan recently decided to share his talents with the public when he opened Dramanti Artisan Roasters. “I thought if it’s what I loved to do, then why not,” he says.

Dragan migrated from Serbia to Australia in 1998. He pursed a career as a profession athlete, in which he competed in the 2000 Olympics in European handball, before trying his hand at coffee. Eventually Dragan joined his brother Sasa Sestic at Ona Coffee and has been struck with a love for roasting ever since.

“I’m self taught so in the beginning my roasting was all about trial and error, until I kept developing something that I was happy with,” Dragan says.

Dramanti Artisan Roasters embraces a community feel with recycled furnishings in its décor. Customers are often treated to the music delights of local bands as they sip a latte. Local artists also display their talent on the café walls.

The warehouse features a 6-kilogram Giesen roaster from the Netherlands and a La Marzocco Strada in the espresso bar. Customers can participate in regular cupping appreciation sessions and learn about Dragan’s passion for direct trade.

The house blend is 19/20/20, which Dragan says continuously “evolves” depending on the season. Named after Indy band, The Greats, Dragan says much like the rockers, this blend is “short, sweet, lovely and makes you jump”.

A range of single origin coffees are available, as well as a other brewing methods including areopress, cold press and the occasional V60.

“It’s all about the experience we can create together,” says Dragan. “When customers walk out of here they feel happier and a bit more excited about coffee.”

Race Café – The Studio

Image: Paul Gordon

What do you get when you integrate a café and recording studio? Ambient café bliss, that’s what.

Race Café – The Studio is unlike anything Queensland, maybe even the Australian café scene, has witnessed.  Read more

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