Whether you’re an espresso-sipping buzz-chaser or you love a chin wag over your cappuccino, just about everyone can think of a good excuse to squeeze a coffee into their daily routine.
Personally, we love combining two of our favourite things – gossiping, and delicious magic juice that reinvigorates our will to live – into a 30-minute, heart-warming, energy-boosting social session, and have resolved to make more time for ‘coffee catch-ups’ with our friends this year.
We know, we’re dreaming big.
But think about it: catching up for coffee takes way less prep than a group dinner, less time than a movie date and is definitely more fun than your regular business meeting. If you’re really that pressed for time – aka, you’re sacrificing your social life for a workout class – take your coffee catch-up on the road and go for a walk.
In the spirit of bringing back the coffee catch-up, we’re sharing the top spots around town to meet up with your besties and reconnect over a coffee, or even schedule your next meeting. Cute décor, quality brews and child-friendly facilities are all on the menu.
L’Americano by Coco Republic, Fortitude Valley
Coco Republic dominate the interior design scene, but their latest foray into hospitality is proving quite the competition for local cafes, too. L’Americano transports guests to the Italian Riviera without them ever having to leave Brisbane’s bustling Wickham street. It’s high end yet still relaxed and affordable, with menu that is casual but beautifully presented and interior design that is – surprise, surprise – bang on trend, drawing inspiration from The Talented Mr Ripley with the nautical charm and old-world appeal of 1950s summers spent on the Italian coast. Double the size of the original Sydney location, Brisbane’s L’Americano adjoins the Coco Republic showroom and serves up a variety of delicious crostini, salads and beautifully crafted organic egg dishes as well as a casual bite menu that compliments the quality Vittoria’s premium blend coffee. If you’re looking to sip and socialise in style, this is the place.
The Alley, Everton Park
This is one specialty coffee shop you’ll happily bring your kids to. Situated next to Nexus Church on Flockton Street, the Alley serves up delicious coffee from local roastery Wolff Coffee Roasters and a small yet satisfying food offering. The real appeal for parents – particularly if you’re looking to fill the time with your littlies during school hours – is the impressive kids play area. The large, fully-enclosed playground features artificial grass and a variety of equipment for kids of all ages to run amuck on. Plenty of fun for your kids, meaning plenty of time to catch-up with your friends. Win, win!
The Smug Fig, East Brisbane
Bright colours and an open, relaxed atmosphere are just a few of the reasons why customers keep coming back to The Smug Fig – excellent service, good value meals and delicious menu offerings are a few others. Make your coffee catch-up a breakfast to take advantage of dishes like their many variations on French toast – lamington, or berry bliss anyone? – or simply enjoy a quality cuppa and good conversation in a beautiful setting. The Smug Fig also organise live music nights every so often, if you’re keen to turn your coffee catch-up into a night out – we’re not judging!
Rafiki by the Sea, Mermaid Beach
Décor borrowed from the Greek islands and a beautiful seaside setting make Rafiki one of our favourite coffee spots on the Gold Coast. You’ll know it by its distinctive white concrete exterior and natural tan accents (and also by the massive ‘Rafiki’ sign on the front of the café) and, after just one visit, it will surely become a favourite. The team there are super friendly, and the café’s prime position right opposite Mermaid Beach and sandwiched between the kid-friendly Mermaid and Ken Mansbridge Parks make it perfect for your next mumma mingle.
The Milkman’s Daughter, Mermaid Beach
Another Mermaid Beach gem, the Milkman’s Daughter is the perfect place for a coffee catch-up with your vegan friend. Boasting a meat-free menu of delicious delicacies, this is the place to splash out on an outlandish latte if you’re not feeling a regular coffee – beetroot, turmeric and ‘mermaid’ lattes are all on the menu. Not to mention, the Milkman’s Daughter is brought to you by the same ladies who delivered the cute-as-can-be FuFu, Poke Poke and Bonita Bonita… so, as you can already imagine, the décor is next-level. We’re talking succulent tables, major rainforest vibes and ‘igloos’ for tables. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.
No Name Lane, Broadbeach
It’s tucked away down a little lane (hence the name – or, rather, lack thereof) but No Name Lane is probably already on your radar as a must visit for your next coffee catch-up. The buzz around their coffee is that it’s some of the best on the Gold Coast, and their food offerings delicious to match. Fresh, seasonal ingredients and brightly-coloured dishes will have you extending your ‘coffee’ catch-up into a full-blown brunch.
The Belongil, Byron Bay
You can always count on Byron Bay to deliver the coolest, laid-back coffee spots, and the Belongil is just one perfect example. While it’s a top-notch bistro and café by day, the Belongil is also one of Byron Bay’s most popular wedding venues – so you can imagine how photogenic this place is. But if it’s just a table and some quality coffee you’re after, the Belongil can certainly deliver. They keep the coffee machines running from 7am ‘til 2pm, Monday to Friday, and offer a jam-packed menu of #instagramworthy dishes to fill your tummy, too.
Folk, Byron Bay
Rustic décor and colourful foods are the order of the day at Folk, the local favourite-turned-internationally renowned kiosk and café. With publications like Vogue taking interest in their offerings, you know that this place is not going to disappoint when you head there for your next coffee catch-up. With indoor and outdoor seating in a quintessentially relaxed Byron setting, you’ll find that your quick rendezvous with a friend easily turns into hours of reminiscing from the comfort of Folk’s floor pillows or breezy bench seats.
Stay at home coffee catch-up
If the thought of leaving the house for coffee with a friend doesn’t appeal (we can think of a million reasons why it wouldn’t, and parking is a big one) then why not invite them ‘round for a coffee at your place? You don’t need a fancy espresso machine to make a killer cuppa – Suk-yi Lo from The Caffeine Trifecta shares her top four tips:
- Check your water
The first way to ruin a nice hot cuppa is by adding too much water to the brew. Water can dilute the strong coffee taste so be cautious about how much you add to your cuppa. You can find guidelines for your specific machine online, or in the instruciton manual.
- Always keep it fresh
Coffee beans can go stale, so always keep that in mind when storing your beans. Keep them in an airtight container or a vacuum sealed bag as this will help keep them fresh. Be careful not to buy your coffee beans in bulk – if they are exposed to too much light and oxygen they will lose their flavour. When it comes to grinding them, only grind what you will be using that day and do not store ground coffee.
- Quality over quantity
Don’t skimp on the expensive stuff – good coffee is definitely worth paying for, but a good quality roast doesn’t have to break the bank. Take note of coffees that have high caffeine but are surprisingly cheap, as this is a clear sign of poor quality coffee.
Always be sure to swap your grinder when you use different flavoured beans as they are covered in a sticky, oily flavouring which will get left behind. A build-up of this flavouring will change the flavour of your coffee overtime and the build-up of the sticky residue will eventually clog/block your grinder. Be mindful of this next time you’re swapping between flavours.
The Active Coffee Catch-Up
Why not grab a coffee on the go with a friend? You can squeeze in your caffeine hit, daily exercise and social session, all at once! These cute coffee cups make it all the more appealing…
- Frank Green Next Generation reusable cup (with Paywave), $39.95, www.frankgreen.com.au
- Mr & Mrs Jones 8oz coffee cup glass in Army (available in various colours and sizes), $27.95, www.mrandmrsjones.com.au
- Pottery for the Planet 8oz Love Potion cup (available in various colours and sizes), $33, www.potteryfortheplanet.com
- Keep Cup 16oz Nimbus clear plastic cup (available in various colours, sizes and materials), $20, www.au.keepcup.com
- rCup 8oz cup in black/pink (available in various colours and sizes), $22.95, www.floraandfauna.com.au