28 October 2013

How many cafes can Canberra handle?

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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?

One Two Cofthree

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If its run by ONA then this place will be great. I know one of the baristas in Fyshwick was moving to here and he does know his stuff. Cupping is a term used in coffee sampling and testing.

ONA do also direct source their beans and have deals in place with the farmers, to make sure they get paid a decent amount of money while also saving themselves money of course and cutting out the middlemen who usually rake in most of the money for doing very little.
I don’t know what the other roasters do…

While I’m at it, as summer is coming up if you haven’t tried cold drip coffee, you really should! Even if you are used to milk in your coffee.

Thanks but I don’t care much for coffee – Mingle and Bean in the City are by far the best places for coffee but I care more about putting food in my stomach 🙂

mmillercfp said :

Genie said :

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 !

Try Mingle Espresso, they’re on the ground floor of 221 London Circuit which is just near the Waldorf.

If you’re going to be walking from the pool to 221 London Circuit, walk another block to Bean In The City on Ainslie Ave (Canberra Theatre end). Fabulous coffee & service, and they call out your name rather than your order (NB. not a paid endorsement, just a long-time satisfied customer).

Mess said :

Rollersk8r said :

Five or ten years ago I’d have completely agreed there are too many cafes. Although the innovation in the last few years has been great. Heaps of places worth the effort to go to nowdays.

And I still reckon the casino end of Civic is crying out for a boutique cafe.

There used to be a couple down near the casino Babars and and another place I forget the name of.

Babars has been closed for several years. It’s replacement Sour Cherry (exact same menu) closed about 6-8 months ago. Something else opened up there about a month ago but they only open after business hours.

Down near the casino is slim pickings for a decent feed. Food is over priced and horrible. Plenty of coffee shops though.

Luckily the lower food court at the Canberra Centre is meant to be opening back up in 2 days.

Tooks said :

Deref said :

It also begs the question…

You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

I never knew that (not that I’ve ever used that expression)! Who says RA isn’t educational?

😀 My work here is done.

c_c™ said :

Last time I went in was about 10 months ago, so good to hear they’ve changed that. Might even be enough to bother going in and seeing if the milk brews have improved.

If you put milk in your coffee you deserve something weak and milky. I mean, thats the point.

Harvest is great, nice strong coffee and love the ‘uni student trying to run a cafe’ look as well (no idea if they are/were). And they bring the coffee to your table.

Deref said :

It also begs the question…

You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

I never knew that (not that I’ve ever used that expression)! Who says RA isn’t educational?

I’m usually making the coffee and honestly, it’s at least even odds that the order comes with something that doesn’t even vaguely resemble any name I’ve ever seen before. Even allowing for international students and diplomats, I’m pretty sure a core segment of customers are just making up funny names for lulz. The lady whose name closely resembled a naughty word for her ethnicity was a particularly harrowing example for the poor sweetypie waitress who had to take her order and confirm the spelling but couldn’t bring herself to actually say the word!

It also begs the question…

You keep using that phrase. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Tooks said :

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.

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

That was quick. And you’re here all week, right?

thatsnotme said :

c_c™ said :

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.

How long ago was this? I visit 2b10 daily, and for at least the past 6 months, possibly closer to a year, writing names on the cup has been standard.

Last time I went in was about 10 months ago, so good to hear they’ve changed that. Might even be enough to bother going in and seeing if the milk brews have improved.

thatsnotme said :

c_c™ said :

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.

How long ago was this? I visit 2b10 daily, and for at least the past 6 months, possibly closer to a year, writing names on the cup has been standard.

In the interest of balance, I will second this comment of “2b10” always taking a name. Always. I’ll also disagree with the others that Harvest is better. Too inconsistent for me and that’s why I started going to 2b10. And I hope they’re not ordering lattes and then complaining about too much milk.

Madam Cholet8:43 pm 28 Oct 13

Felix the Cat said :

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.

There’s a website associated with this problem – names spelled incorrectly on coffee cups. It’s quite amusing. http://thestarbucksnamegame.tumblr.com/

c_c™ said :

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.

How long ago was this? I visit 2b10 daily, and for at least the past 6 months, possibly closer to a year, writing names on the cup has been standard.

Rollersk8r said :

Five or ten years ago I’d have completely agreed there are too many cafes. Although the innovation in the last few years has been great. Heaps of places worth the effort to go to nowdays.

And I still reckon the casino end of Civic is crying out for a boutique cafe.

There used to be a couple down near the casino Babars and and another place I forget the name of.

mmillercfp said :

Genie said :

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 !

Try Mingle Espresso, they’re on the ground floor of 221 London Circuit which is just near the Waldorf.

This is the only place that gets my money down this end of the city. Amazing coffee and exceptional customer service.

But they’re normally sold out of sangas pretty early and it’s more food places I want 🙂

Genie said :

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 !

Try Mingle Espresso, they’re on the ground floor of 221 London Circuit which is just near the Waldorf.

Five or ten years ago I’d have completely agreed there are too many cafes. Although the innovation in the last few years has been great. Heaps of places worth the effort to go to nowdays.

And I still reckon the casino end of Civic is crying out for a boutique cafe.

Usually one goes to a cafe with a friend to have a coffee and chat, but you can’t chat because of the noise (oops sorry – music). They are all so noisy and maybe they don’t play the music (sorry – noise) that I like. I am sure you wouldn’t like my music and I don’t like your music.

HiddenDragon4:24 pm 28 Oct 13

c_c™ said :

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 🙂

If they live up to expectations, they might be awarded a memorial rock, for services to keeping the champions of justice awake!

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 Cat3:52 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 Caulfield3:49 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.”

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 !

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

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 Cholet3:28 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.

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.

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

Not coffee.

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.

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 🙂

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 Cholet2:43 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.

HiddenDragon2:31 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 Caulfield2:28 pm 28 Oct 13

“cafe’s”

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

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