In recent years the Braddon neighbourhood has undergone massive regeneration and is now full of new life and a sense of community.
At the epicentre of it all is Lonsdale Street, elegantly combining doses of street art with inner-city chic and urban edge. It is now a fascinating place to spend a day shopping, eating, drinking and soaking up the atmosphere.
Wind back the clock 10 years, though, and it was a very different story. It was far from the coveted hip suburb it is now. It was an industrial outpost of car yards, mechanics and petrol stations with a few ‘creepy’ parks surrounding it.
Lonsdale Street Roasters were not only the pioneers of coffee culture in Canberra but were also responsible for helping put the street they use in their name on the map for something other than getting new tyres.
What started out in 2009 as a simple idea – to source quality coffee, roast it and pour it, all under the same roof, right in the heart of Canberra – is now one of the city’s most iconic brands. It was a vision of co-owner and founder Alistair Evans that launched it all.
Alistair had travelled and lived both overseas and interstate and was keen for Canberra to catch up to the coffee scene happening in other cities.
At the heart of his vision was a plan to source, blend and roast their own coffee to the highest standards possible.
Co-owner and director of Lonsdale Street Roasters Paul Hutt told Region Media that when Lonsdale Street Roasters opened their doors it was a unique concept for Canberra.
“At the time there was nothing like this in Canberra and really nothing like it in Braddon,” Paul said.
In turn, Canberra embraced the concept and showed up in droves to enjoy the coffee and the culture they were building in their original café on Lonsdale Street and subsequent outposts.
As with all businesses, there has been evolution, growth, expansion, and contraction. Lonsdale Street Roasters now is a separate entity to the cafes they made famous. Their sole focus is back to the beans as a roaster, wholesaler and supplier.
The magic all still happens on the street where it started in Braddon with the same original owners roasting the coffee. Using a specialised infrared roasting technique, delivering precise even heat and airflow which in turn allows superior manipulation to extract the true flavour and character of each origin.
You will find Lonsdale Street Roasters all over the region being poured and sold in 50 locations, but it is looking a little different these days with a reinvention of the brand and all packaging. They are still as bold and vibrant as ever with a cheeky tone of voice we have come to expect and love from them.
What has not changed is their resolve to keeping Canberra well-caffeinated and in good supply. Bolstering their direct retail capacity has been at the forefront of their recent plans shared Paul.
“Pre COVID-19 we offered free shipping for orders 2 kg or over nationwide. To look after our Canberra peeps during the social distancing/work from home conditions, we now offer free delivery for local orders 1 kg or over.
“We were fortunate that we had already spent a decent amount of time (pre-COVID-19) having upgraded our website experience so luckily for us it wasn’t too much of a stress to deal with the extra online orders. We had also spent a lot of time on the boxing and packaging to ensure freshness.”
For a taste of Lonsdale Street Roasters at home, Paul recommends starting with either the original Smith & Evans blend which celebrates the tenacity and vision of the brand’s founding fathers. Or for something deep, dark, and brooding there is the Johnny Cash. If you are in the vicinity of Ainslie IGA, there is a seasonal blend available there that we can all relate to – Cabin Fever.