Blink and you might miss it unless like me you are hungry while walking to work, and a bit late, and your eyes catch a colourful and tempting display of treats designed to appeal to the morning coffee lover. Or perhaps you will smell the coffee.
Linger and you will discover that 3 Degrees Coffee is a hole-in-wall coffee shop and eatery perched right at the ACTION bus interchange in Civic. Missed your bus or early to wait for your number to arrive? Then you can enjoy that opportune moment by perching on one of the outdoor tables and enjoying a smooth coffee made with Gabriel Coffee coffee beans (one of only two places in Canberra to stock it), and perhaps munching on a double egg, double bacon, hash brown roll ($10).
The coffee shop is owned by former RiotACT contributor Sophia Carlini. Carlini shared her enthusiasm at being a business owner in several posts last year, chronicling the excitement and frustration of getting set up as a small business owner (including detailing how Sophia’s Dad travelled to Canberra to come to her rescue).
I returned to 3 Degrees Coffee a few days later in the week to chat (over coffee) with friend Marg Wade about how her new coffee walking tours are shaping up. As it happened, her tour starts at Bailey’s Corner, so it was a good venue from which to talk coffee and Canberra.
Sophia was not at the coffee shop when I visited, but husband Mike (owner of The Treehouse nightclub and Maple Bar) was busy holding fort serving customers and making coffees. But Sophia’s presence was clearly visible; she gets up at 5.00am each morning and bakes supplies for the coffee shop before heading on time to her public servant job. “When does this power couple sleep,” I wondered to myself. “Do they ever stop?” I am yet to meet a young couple so hardworking and committed to their goals, and to each other. And despite the hard slog, they are both still impeccably dressed and glamorous.
I asked Mike which of Sophia’s baking creations he prefers. “They are all very good,” he answered tactfully. “But I especially like the almond berry friand triangles she makes,” he admits. “Our bestseller, which really gets smashed, is the salted caramel slice that she makes. Sometimes a bit gets stuck to the side of the baking tin as I pull it out so I can taste a bit”.
3 Degrees Coffee offers a large range of sweets, served at room temperature and made fresh daily. For those who want just a small sweet taste with their coffee, you can purchase a small serve for only $2. Since January this year they have also begun offering lunch options. Since all the debate about millennials and their love for smashed avo at the expense of buying a house, I take great pleasure in enjoying my avo knowing I am still achieving financial security. The $10 toasted sourdough topped with fresh avocado, tomato medley, lemon ricotta and hazelnut dukkha meets my frugal approval, and while I personally like more dukkha, it was very nice.
The winner for me was the (also $10) bagel topped with lemon cream cheese, Tasmanian smoked salmon, capers and fresh dill. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but Mike tells me that this is their best selling lunch menu choice.
What: 3 Degrees Coffee
Where: Shop 10a, Bailey’s Arcade, 143 London Circuit, Canberra City
Open: Monday to Friday 6.30am – 3pm