Laneway Specialty Coffee

Laneway Specialty Coffee

While Darwin isn’t as well known for its coffee as some major cities, Laneway Specialty Coffee Owner Lisa Heames says there is a growing coffee scene. However, it was not always that way. 

“When we opened Laneway there wasn’t a lot of cafés around Darwin, just a few franchises. People would travel interstate to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane, have great coffee, then think ‘why can’t we have this at home?’” Lisa says. 

“The community was hanging out for specialty coffee, so we were embraced from the start. The coffee culture has grown since then, but we’ve kept a solid group of regulars who we still see every day.”  Read more

Roma Bar

Roma Bar

For more than four decades, Roma Bar has been a fixture of the Darwin CBD, and since 1989, the café has been owned by Phoebe Breyer-Menke’s parents.

In 2012, Phoebe bought out half of Roma Bar and now operates the café with her mother. Read more

Black Russian Caravan Bar

Coming from a government background, Brogan Hanrahan did not have any prior experience in hospitality when she launched Black Russian Caravan Bar.

Instead, she had to teach herself about a market she had no knowledge of when she launched the mobile café.

“When I moved to Katherine from Darwin, I noticed there was such a gap in the café market,” Brogan says. “It was a challenge. I’m a first-time business owner as well but I kind of learnt along the way.” Read more

Mad About Coffee & Tea

In the past 12 years Faith McMurtrie has been a management consultant in Melbourne, set up a business in Queensland, and is now busily running Mad About Coffee & Tea, a multifaceted coffee shop in Darwin.

“When my partner and I came to Darwin four years ago there weren’t too many people doing specialty coffee,” Faith says. “Now there’s a group called the Baristas of Darwin who run smackdowns around the city, and there’s new cafés putting a lot of time and effort into training their baristas.”

Faith has played no small part in inspiring Darwin’s specialty coffee industry. As a certified trainer, Faith runs intimate barista training courses from her Mad About Coffee & Tea café in Parap. Participants are a mix of café and home baristas, as well as general enthusiasts.

“The majority of those who sign up are home enthusiasts who want to take their skills to another level,” Faith says. “I always love that moment when they realise just how much work goes into producing a great coffee – I tell them it’ll take about a thousand coffees before they achieve consistency.”

When Faith moved from Queensland she saw the potential for someone to be selling really good wholesale coffee in the Northern Territory. “We started working with Veneziano Coffee Roasters in 2006,” says Faith. “To say that they’ve been instrumental in helping us get things running would be understating the support they’ve offered.”

Veneziano flew their latte art champion Jean-Paul Sutton to Darwin when Mad About Coffee & Tea first opened its doors. Faith invited local baristas into the café to learn the tricks of the trade from him. Faith now serves a daily rotation of Veneziano, her own Five Elements blends and Toby’s Estate  coffee from the café.

“Veneziano assisted with the creation of Five Elements, which represents the five senses,” says Faith. “People are enticed into the store when they see our bright colours, then they step in and are wowed by the smell. They hear the coffee equipment and the music playing over the speakers. Then they taste our coffee and are really immersed in the experience.”

Xtreme Caffeine

Just as the café name suggests, everything about this Darwin-based café is done to the extreme. “We take our food and coffee to the extreme, our staff are extreme, and so is our service,” say Co-Owner Naveen Kumar.

Located in an apartment block in Darwin’s bustling business hub, Xtreme Caffeine serves Mocopan Coffee’s Profondo and Tre Campi Fairtrade blends.

“The Profondo blend is dark, rich, and full-bodied coffee to suit our customer’s preferences,” Naveen says.

The Tre Campi Fairtrade uses beans from Minas Gerais in Brazil, San Jorge of Costa Rica, and Chiapas of Mexico. This Fairtrade blend is a true all-rounder, packed with hazelnut fragrance and a spice-clove touch in aroma. It highlights chocolates and spice notes, and with milk it delivers a smooth caramel finish.

Xtreme Caffeine started four years ago and Naveen says Darwin’s coffee scene has been thriving ever since. “People are becoming more educated about good coffee and are drinking more and more,” says Naveen. “We have a strong following of regular customers who come down from nearby offices to enjoy our coffee.”

Those loyal customers got behind Xtreme Caffeine when the café was listed as a finalist in the Café of the Year competition. Competing cafés first had to register, then create a dish on their menu featuring ingredients from the Heinz and Don ranges. Twenty-one regional finalists were selected via public voting.

To match the caffeine options, a gluten-free breakfast and lunch menu is available. “We serve fresh, organic, healthy food that’s made on site,” says Naveen.

One of the cafés favourite menu items is the Extreme breakfast – for “extremely hungry customers”. It contains scrambled eggs, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes and baked beans. The breakfast granola is another stand-out with dried and house-roasted nuts. For lunch, try their famous chicken, meat or vegetarian burritos.

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