The coffees in my life fall into a number of fairly broad groups. There is cafe coffee; stuff that you get from places that more or less claim some expertise in making coffee, generally involving an espresso machine with some exceptions. Then hotel and conference coffee; some form of liquid of uncertain character from some kind of urn or coffee machine. And then there is whatever coffee you might make yourself, using any number of means.
Aeroplane coffee is probably best compared with conference or hotel coffee. While it has nothing on a decent espresso from a good coffee, it can still be compared to other similar beverages. It is kind of unfair to expect Virgin Australia to load a commercial espresso machine onto one of their planes flying between Brisbane and Sydney. After a few too many morning flights I can say that the coffee does seem to vary. The temperature it is served at seems to vary depending on where you sit on the plane (or possibly due to other factors) and the coffee seems to be brewed with milk coffee drinkers in mind. As a kind of conference or hotel coffee, it is not too bad. Its flavour is mostly unoffensive, and once you wait for it to cool when it is served too hot, it is drinkable.
Ultimately it is coffee served while sitting in a flying metal tube travelling at hundreds of kilometres an hour in a manner that has become so mundane that most people around you barely glance out of the window to take in a perspective of the landscape experienced by so few humans during the lifetime of our species. So I guess you can make a few concessions on quality.
Quality seems variable
It is coffee served while sitting in a fast moving metal tube flying in the air. It is hard to be too critical.
Beanhunter, a somewhat awesome website and an essential app featuring user submitted cafe ratings and reviews. Their app is incredibly useful when you are travelling and need to find a half way decent cafe somewhere new, and the quality of the reviews that come from the community is very high. Based on their community’s input, Beanhunter have recently released their top cafe lists for 2013. This lists cover cities from around the world and Australia including Brisbane.
Salt is a smallish resturant located in Rosalie Village, Brisbane with an interesting menu and reasonable coffee, including one of the most impressive mochas I’ve ever seen, and they alsoa have juice, made with the best juicers from the Juicing Daily site. Myself and a few friends ended up there one weekend for a light lunch.
The menu looked good, and we chose a pair of lamb burgers and two serves of lamb and haloumi skewers between the four of us, as well as a few coffees. Including the mocha. The food was good, as was the coffee. Salt does a respectable, if unremarkable, black coffee. The mocha, however, was exceptional.
Served in a largish bowl, with a shot of chocolate to one side, it dwarfed the plain, boring cup the other coffees came in. The mocha did not dominate the table only due to its size either. The difference in presentation was significant. While the other coffees had one or two sugar sachets tossed onto the saucer alongside a spoon, the mocha’s equipment and accompaniments were set with care and attention.
There are far worse places to go for a lazy late Sunday lunch than Salt. The food was good and the menu interesting. Their coffee was more than adequate, and that is even without taking the mocha into account. Even though Rosalie is not out of the way, it is quieter than Park Road and other cafe and food hotspots in Brisbane, and well worth exploring. Even if Salt’s mocha can’t tempt you, there are other interesting places in the area, including my personal favourite, Gelateria Cremona.
The mocha was impressive
The mocha made the other coffees look like they just weren’t trying
Fortitude Valley is not much of a destination for cafes currently. If there was one place that could claim that distinction, West End would be it, with honorable mentions going to Teneriffe and a few suburban outliers. The Brunswick Street Mall in Fortitude Valley is certainly a wasteland as far as good coffee goes. Recently though a few new places within easy walking distance of the centre of the Valley have opened up.
Only three weeks old, Reverends Fine Coffee is one of these. The cafe is practically a hole in the wall, with only a narrow street front. However Reverends Fine Coffee uses their space well with the counter at the front and a reasonably sized seating area tucked away in the back. Inside it feels roomier than their small street frontage would lead you to believe.
Like a growing number of cafes they do roast their own beans, and sometimes other cafes, such as Moray, even use them, at least according to their Facebook page. The coffee they do is good, and they offer single origins alongside their own blend. As a black coffee it is very drinkable, and makes it easy to consume multiple cups in quick succession.
Reverends Fine Coffee is not serving food just yet, but getting a license to do so is one of their plans. The cafe is close to the Brunswick Street Mall and is good for early weekday morning catch ups. The seating area out the back is far enough from the street to cut out most of the road noise, and there was even a roaster in one corner, though it didn’t appear to be in use.
40 kilometres outside of Kyogle is a long way to go for a coffee. It is also a very unlikely location for a decent cafe, let alone a restaurant. However there it was, just over the New South Wales and Queensland border by Lions Rd.
“Cafe 100m” painted onto the side of a building was not the most promising first impression. It got better once we got there however. The restaurant is a single storey building with a wrap around veranda set on a rise facing a hill across a few fields. We sat outside on the veranda, with a view of the occasional cow and the faint sound of bellbirds in the distance.
Ripples on the Creek’s menu is interesting, with most of the ingredients sourced locally and the coffee supplied by the Byron Bay Coffee Company. As attractive as the lunch menu was, I settled on a chocolate and mint cheesecake and a long black.
The coffee itself had a light flavour which seemed more fruit than chocolate. The cheesecake was exactly as described. Mint with chocolate base, and with a mint toffee garnish. Unfortunately I could not post any of this to Foursquare or Instagram, as it seems that just north of Kyogle has poor wireless coverage.
I was not expecting to find something like Ripples on the Creek in country New South Wales, or any other state. The quality of the food and coffee that I had was good, and the location picturesque. Just outside of Kyogle is certainly a long way to go for a coffee, but if you are in the area, at least it is there.
Was not expecting a good coffee in country NSW
Interesting menu, with nice cake
Checking in on Foursquare is problematic
Ripples on the Creek http://ripplesonthecreek.com.au/
Phone: 02 6636 6234
602 Grady’s Creek Road (also known as the Lions Road Tourist Drive)
Grady’s Creek via Kyogle
New South Wales