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How many cafes can Canberra handle?

By Barcham - 28 October 2013 35

This from Rioter RFS:

Due to circumstances beyond my control I’ve been without my camera for several weeks. Now that unfortunate situation has been rectified I’d like to point out to you to that The Imperial Cupping Room on the corner of University Ave & London Circuit is soon to open. I’ve been told the rather unlikely name is an old-fashioned term used to denote the sampling of coffee. Given that this new venture is owned by Ona Coffee in Manuka, a cafe noted (by some) for the quality of its coffee, the name seems appropriate. The Imperial Cupping Room is the latest example of a shift in restaurant trade towards New Acton end of Civic. It also begs the question of how soon before the Canberra restaurant scene reaches saturation point? It seems to me that new restaurants have been opening in Canberra every few weeks for months now so surely there comes a point when there aren’t enough customers go round?

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35 Responses to
How many cafes can Canberra handle?
Mess 4:01 pm 28 Oct 13

poetix said :

When I hear the name ‘Imperial Cupping Room’, I think of traditional Chinese medicine, or perhaps tea.

Not coffee.

I tend to think of ‘turn your head and cough’.

Felix the Cat 3:52 pm 28 Oct 13

c_c™ said :

[ Other annoyance is they don’t ask for names, they just shout out “Latte” and expect the five people in one instance who order one to sort out whose it is.

That’s pretty standard coffee shop procedure in my experience. Then you get the rare ones that do take a name when ordering but then don’t call it out when serving the coffee.

Holden Caulfield 3:49 pm 28 Oct 13

poetix said :

When I hear the name ‘Imperial Cupping Room’, I think of traditional Chinese medicine, or perhaps tea.

Not coffee.

Not coffee, so much as “Could you please cough for me, sir.”

Genie 3:49 pm 28 Oct 13

Can we have some better cafes down my end of the city.

I work near the pool and all the cafes nearby are shyte or overpriced !

dph 3:38 pm 28 Oct 13

Still waiting for someone to open a cafe in Canberra that stays open past 3-4pm on a Sunday.

c_c™ 3:33 pm 28 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

I stopped at Two before 10 the other morning and was prepared to be impressed: Ikea outdoor stools, their own roasting machine, very friendly service… but a weak, milkshaky coffee.

Yeah, I had the same experience. Tried them three times, each time you could taste a wonderful shot struggling to overcome being drowned in too much milk. Other annoyance is they don’t ask for names, they just shout out “Latte” and expect the five people in one instance who order one to sort out whose it is.

Madam Cholet 3:28 pm 28 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

Madam Cholet said :

The Polis station is just across the street – will be full to bursting especially if they sell cronuts.

Cue the resident cop apologist with a furious rant.

Madam Cholet said :

But I think City West still has a way to go for good cafes. Harvest, Two before 10, Loading Zone if you want to walk that far.

I stopped at Two before 10 the other morning and was prepared to be impressed: Ikea outdoor stools, their own roasting machine, very friendly service… but a weak, milkshaky coffee.

Harvest around the corner is better than 2 b4 10 – in my book because they don’t really muddy the waters with snacky food. 2 b4 10 lunch is pretty good. they doo a roaring trade at lunch time. They were responsible for the pop up cafe that opened a month or so ago. Didn’t manage to get their unfortunately but looked good with an emphasis on local and regional produce. Some good ideas springing up which is good to see.

Tooks 3:26 pm 28 Oct 13

EvanJames said :

Madam Cholet said :

The Polis station is just across the street – will be full to bursting especially if they sell cronuts.

Cue the resident cop apologist with a furious rant.

Madam Cholet said :

But I think City West still has a way to go for good cafes. Harvest, Two before 10, Loading Zone if you want to walk that far.

I stopped at Two before 10 the other morning and was prepared to be impressed: Ikea outdoor stools, their own roasting machine, very friendly service… but a weak, milkshaky coffee.

You are a sad little man, aren’t you? Everyone took that first comment as a joke…except for you it seems. Grow up.

poetix 3:24 pm 28 Oct 13

When I hear the name ‘Imperial Cupping Room’, I think of traditional Chinese medicine, or perhaps tea.

Not coffee.

EvanJames 3:13 pm 28 Oct 13

Madam Cholet said :

The Polis station is just across the street – will be full to bursting especially if they sell cronuts.

Cue the resident cop apologist with a furious rant.

Madam Cholet said :

But I think City West still has a way to go for good cafes. Harvest, Two before 10, Loading Zone if you want to walk that far.

I stopped at Two before 10 the other morning and was prepared to be impressed: Ikea outdoor stools, their own roasting machine, very friendly service… but a weak, milkshaky coffee.

c_c™ 2:57 pm 28 Oct 13

HiddenDragon said :

It’s admirably brave to sink serious dollars into a venture like this when discretionary spending is under increasing pressure

They’re opening up in the law precinct… nothing discretionary about coffee there 🙂

c_c™ 2:57 pm 28 Oct 13

In response to the OP,

1. The market is already at saturation point, has been for a while. Indeed there was a story in the Canberra Times about it a year or two ago which was linked to on RiotACT.

2. I’ll make the same point now as I did then, as with nature itself, the strongest will survive. There’s absolutely no harm to consumers in having a vibrant, and even crowded cafe culture, because it will keep businesses on their toes and foster innovation. Admittedly some businesses will go belly up along the way, and you already see the chain stores are a shadow of what they were (in fact it looks like Gloria Jeans has abandoned Civic altogether).

Think back to around 2000 when the chain coffee stores moved in, long lines, heaps of business, absolute gold mines. And since then a lot of local entrepreneurs, realising that opened up the market, have cashed in and improved on it, replacing the mass produced swill with boutique roasts. You’ve got Lonsdale, Harvest, Two Before Ten, Ona… list goes on. And some of these places are so successful they’ve made coffee a destination in itself, which can only be good for the precincts they’re in.

Madam Cholet 2:43 pm 28 Oct 13

The Polis station is just across the street – will be full to bursting especially if they sell cronuts.

I jest. But I think City West still has a way to go for good cafes. Harvest, Two before 10, Loading Zone if you want to walk that far. To be honest, that’s about it. Good to see a bit of quality popping up and hopefully pushing out the mediocre joints.

The cafe at the bottom of my building used to be bursting at lunch time a few years ago. Two owners later and a few better cafes on the scene and you could fire a cannon through it. Interestingly though, it does re-open after work hours as an asian (maybe Korean?) restaurant/takeaway for the local students. At least it did for a while. Good idea.

HiddenDragon 2:31 pm 28 Oct 13

It’s admirably brave to sink serious dollars into a venture like this when discretionary spending is under increasing pressure – particularly when some of the existing cafes around the town look they are struggling to get by.

Holden Caulfield 2:28 pm 28 Oct 13

“cafe’s”

I think that apostrophe should end up on the cupping room floor. 😛

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