Just like in football, loyal caffeine drinkers know and follow their brand, or at least their type.
So when Jess and James Wren moved to the Gold Coast three years ago, they found little ‘Melbourne-style’ coffee, hence the idea of starting a laneway espresso bar on the coast serving the coffee they love.
Enter Caffeine Kings, the former laundromat transformed into one of the funkiest fit outs in town. From the street, you’ll have to look hard to find Caffeine Kings. What is otherwise a dark-walled subway-like tunnel dotted with 44 gallon drum tables and a walled servery is lifted by an amazing wall of graffiti by artist John Kaye, whose art can also be seen on The 4217.
The café is a work in progress for the young couple, who’ve kept the menu pretty simple with several ‘all day breakfast’ choices ($6 – $14) and filled breads, bagels and salads for lunch. They’re aided by their barista ‘Skinny’, an overflowing fount of attitude and knowledge about coffee:
“You want to try these Kenyan beans? They’re sweeter than the blend, with floral notes of fruity pineapple and blueberry,” he asks a regular, and I overhear the conversation continue. “You know, lots of people think you should buy Fair Trade coffee. Of course that’s good for the growers, but not for the user, because you don’t know the quality of coffee you’re getting. We’re much better to buy direct from the grower so we get top quality beans.”
I could have kept listening but the coffee knowledge input on a Sunday morning is about as slow as an overnight drip filter…
Open only a few weeks, already they’re changing coffee from a dark full-bodied Five Senses blend to Clements by Sensory Lab, full-bodied with notes of fruit and chocolate. Expect to see pour overs, and a 6 hour cold drip available soon, as well as a single origin which changes regularly.
We hang around for breakfast, watching the GC marathon runners as they pass, some filming themselves on their iPhone as they run, others waving at every car. Seriously? But we’re totally chilled. No one’s moving us on and the banter flows easily.
Our breakfasts are uncomplicated but well-made and great value: the Kings Feast with bacon, a perfectly poached egg, mushrooms, tomato, spinach and feta on sourdough ($14), and a Turkey and cranberry focaccia ($8.50) a scrumptious brunch item from the lunch menu.
Jess comments that bits of fluff keep emerging from somewhere, but this place is clean as a whistle; spotless in fact, with a lot of pride in what’s going out to customers. It’s refreshing, actually, and a really comfortable place to hang out for a chat or to read the papers.
OK, so these guys may have taken a goal for southern coffee, but Caffeine Kings is a valuable addition to the Miami dining scene. (If you can’t score a park out the front, park in a side street or under Miami One, just a short walk away.)
1920 Gold Coast Highway, Miami; Open: Mon – Fri 6am – 2pm; Sat – Sun 6am – 3pm; Nightcaps: Thurs – Sat 5pm – 10pm, Sunday Session 3pm – 10pm.