One of the great things about Tupelo Coffee Co, which recently opened on Alinga Street, is its simplicity. It’s not pretentious or intimidatingly trendy, as can be the case with coffee shops that take their craft seriously.
The interior is sparsely decorated with indoor plants and wooden furniture that owner Nic Walker (pictured above) built himself, and the menu offers just three options: coffee/milk-based drinks, jaffles and muffins.
I order a soy flat white and a bolognese jaffle (a bolognese sauce, paprika, cheese and sour cream toasted sandwich on white bread) and scrape in just under the $15 cheap eats budget. Tupelo doesn’t charge for extras like soy milk, which is a very pleasant surprise.
The bolognese jaffle might not be the most nutritious item you could eat for lunch, but it is simple comfort food at its best. It’s filling, flavoursome and the bolognese sauce tastes fresh and homemade – the perfect mid-week lunch for a cold and drizzly Canberra day. And of course, as you’d expect from a coffee shop like Tupelo, the coffee is great too.
Nic also offers a sample of a new jaffle flavour that he plans to add to the menu next week. It’s a Rueben jaffle with beef brisket instead of corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut – and a pickle on the side. I’m no jaffle aficionado, but it’s hands down the best I’ve ever tasted. My homemade ham and tomato toasted sandwiches are forever going to taste bland and disappointing in comparison. If you go for lunch, this is the jaffle to order.
Another thing that I like about Tupelo is that Nic doesn’t care if you don’t know the difference between an espresso coffee and a filtered coffee. He explains that he really enjoys helping people who aren’t coffee experts (like me) to develop an appreciation for the subtleties between blends and styles.
He convinces me to try the filter coffee, and I’m reluctant because black coffee is generally too bitter for my liking, but now I think I’ve just been drinking the wrong type of black coffee. This filtered coffee is lighter and more fruity than regular black coffee, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to broaden my coffee-drinking horizons.
It’s still early days for Tupelo Coffee Co, but it certainly seems to be hitting all of the right notes so far.
What: Tupelo Coffee Co
Where: 92-100 Alinga Street, Canberra City
Opening hours: 7am to 4pm, Monday to Friday; 10am to 2pm Saturday